Every year on April 22, earth-conscious people around the world celebrate the planet we live on through special Earth Day events and actions. During these events, many others are made aware of their impact on the Earth and make vows to do better in the coming year.
Even if we are completely aware of our environmental impact and make conscious decisions to tread lightly on Mother Earth, we need to do our part by passing on our wisdom. One way we can do this is by teaching children about the environment and how they can do their part to protect it.
Since my daughters were tiny, I have made it a high priority to educate them about our planet and their duty to protect it. I have seen the fruits of my labor come to fruition as I see them educate their friends — and even other adults — about making eco-conscious decisions.
Children are like little sponges and soak up information. Now is the time to teach them. Today is the day to make a difference.
You need to know how to relate this information to them on a level they can understand though. There are many activities for celebrating Earth Day that kids will enjoy learning from. Kids learn through play, and crafting can be a wonderful type of experiential play they can learn quickly from.
Since it’s Earth Day we’re talking about, I’ve put together a list of five simple Earth crafts that you can do with your children. I suggest you join in and craft side by side with them. It’s a great bonding opportunity, and while you’re doing the crafts, you can talk about why you’re focusing on Earth crafts and why it’s important to be a good steward to the Earth.
Paper Plate Earth Craft
Here’s a great Earth Day craft for kids of any age. All you need is some paper plates and blue and green paints, crayons, or markers. If you’re like us, you always have materials like these on hand. If you don’t have paper plates, you can draw a plate-sized circle on a sheet of paper for your child to use.
Either print out a picture of Earth or look at one online together. Next, challenge your kids to recreate what they see in the picture, painting or drawing shapes that look like land and water. I always love to see the unique character of each child’s creation.
Tissue Paper “Stained Glass” Earth Day Craft
If you like the idea of the paper plate Earth craft but want something with a bit more depth to it, try this tissue paper “stained glass” Earth craft. You’ll need blue and green tissue paper and clear contact paper (or wax paper and glue). You’ll also need a picture of Earth to give your kids some artistic inspiration.
Start by tearing the tissue paper into small pieces. Cut out a circle shape from the contact paper (or cut the wax paper and coat it with glue). Then have your child arrange the tissue paper pieces to look like the water and land masses on the Earth image.
Once they’re done with the tissue paper, seal it with another piece of contact paper. (If you’re using wax paper, smooth on a second sheet of glue-coated wax paper. Ideally, let the glue dry while you press it flat — perhaps with some heavy books weighing it down.)
When you’re done, you can tape the “stained glass” Earth to a window to let the light come through, or punch a hole in the top and hang it with ribbon or tape.
Paper Mache Earth Day Craft
When I was a kid, one of my favorite crafts we did in school was paper mache. And this paper mache globe is a perfectly fun Earth Day craft for kids. If you have a real globe, set it out for the kids to look at before they start. Or find some pictures of Earth that will give them a full view of the planet to help them visualize what they want to create.
Start by blowing up the balloon and tying a knot in it so it stays inflated. (Note: If you don’t have balloon, don’t buy them. Try wadding up scrap paper to make a ball shape. Then stuff the ball into an old plastic bag and tie the bag in a knot to keep the shape.) Next, dip the newspaper strips in the paper mache paste and adhere them to the balloon (or your custom-made ball). You may need to do one side at a time. Allow the layer to dry completely (it may take up to 24 hours), then repeat with three to four more layers.
Once you have done as many layers as you’d like, get out the paint and paint brushes and let the kids customize their own planet Earth!
Coffee Filter Earth Day Craft
It is amazing how many fun crafts for kids can be made with coffee filters! Make sure you supervise your kids with this one or you may find your home newly colored blue and green! Set your kids up on a non-porous surface so they don’t leave stains.
All you’ll need for this simple craft is a picture of Earth, a coffee filter, and blue and green food coloring.
First, have your child take a look at a picture of Earth. To make their coffee filter Earth, they just need to squeeze a couple drops of food coloring onto the coffee filter at a time. As the color spreads across the filter, they’ll get to see their creation come to life. Have them continue to add drops of food coloring onto the coffee filter until they’re happy with the outcome.
Mosaic Earth Day Craft
This Earth craft is fun for kids of all ages. Start by cutting a circle out of an old cardboard box. Then cut out small squares of construction paper (blue, green, brown, and white give a good color variety). You can do the cutting for younger children, or you can allow older children to cut for them. Bigger squares will be easier for younger children and smaller squares will provide more detail for older children.
Once you have all of the squares you need, let your child try to recreate Earth on the cardboard circle using the construction paper squares and glue.
Any one of these five Earth Day crafts will make a fun Earth Day project for your kids. Which one is your favorite?
Feature image credit: witittorn onkhaw / Shutterstock. Originally published on April 11, 2016, this article was updated in April 2020.