April 19, 2019

Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Children

Contributed by Lauren Wierzbicki , Education Specialist

Happy Earth Day! The first Earth Day was in 1970 and was an effort to bring awareness to creating and maintaining a healthy, sustainable environment.

While young children can’t always understand the concepts behind Earth Day, there are still ways you can involve them in appreciating and celebrating the nature around them:

 

Read!

Take a trip to your library and find some books about nature that you can read together. Books provide children with an easy way to take in new information about nature, and fun stories that they can relate to! Some of my favorites include:

“The Tiny Seed”, by Eric Carle

“All The Water in the World”, by George Ella Lyon & Katherine Tillotson

“Tall Tall Tree”, by Anthony Fredericks

“Lola Plants a Garden”, by Anna McQuinn


Grow something.

Go out into your garden and show your children all of the areas around your house that you care for and help grow. Show them how to dig in the dirt to pull out weeds and plant new flowers. Bring out a watering can or hose and help them gently water your plants. Children will be excited to keep seeing these plants grow and care for them as the season goes on!

Repurpose something.

If you have lots of broken crayon pieces in your house, help your children turn them into something new! Take a muffin tin and fill the spaces with the broken crayon pieces. Cover it with aluminum foil and lay out in the sun for the day – the crayons will melt into one big crayon that they can use for coloring again!

If you’re like me, you have endless amounts of applesauce pouch caps in your house that typically end up in the garbage. These are a great item to upcycle and there are lots of different ways that you can invite children to use them.  Give older children the pouch caps (and other bottle caps) and invite them to glue them onto paper/cardboard to create a mosaic design! 

Invite children to craft or build with items that are likely to end up in the garbage, especially empty boxes, cardboard, and plastic containers (like those for yogurt or peanut butter)!

Go outside.

This is the easiest way to engage children in the nature around them! Let them look at the different plants they see growing, walking around in the grass in their bare feet, go on a hunt for bird eggs, lay on your back and look at the clouds – the possibilities are endless!

Bring a recycling bin and trash bag outside and clean up your yard and around your neighborhood. Talk with children about how it’s important to pick up things that don’t belong on the ground to keep animals and plants safe.

Go for a walk in your local park. Parks provide protected land for animals and plants, helps keep the air that we breathe clean, and gives families a space to go and connect with nature.

As parents and teachers, we’re all doing our best to instill a love of the Earth in our children. I hope these simple ideas inspire new and lasting Earth Day traditions in your homes and classrooms.