Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 of each year, which is right around the corner. The day is meant to show support for a variety of environmental concerns and ways that we can help keep earth clean and healthy. In its concept stages, Earth Day was set to be held on March 21, the first day of spring, but later it was declared for April 22, and celebrated first in the year 1970. The celebration went international in the year 1990, and today it’s celebrated worldwide with events held in various countries.
Earth Day, there’s only one
So why is it important to teach our children about Earth Day? Children are the future — if anyone is going to make a difference and start new ways of protecting the earth, it’s our children. We can teach them now how to care for earth and keep it healthy and clean for generations to come. We have completed many challenges in keeping the earth healthy for all, and there are so many more to come. Now is the time to show the youth how to keep it going strong!
So how can you teach your children about Earth Day? There are a number of ways:
There are many books available for all ages about how we can recycle, help protect the earth and conserve energy. Head to your local library to see what they have. Many libraries will highlight books about the earth around Earth Day, so it will be easy to find them. If not, ask a librarian for help finding a few that are age appropriate for your children. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss are two very popular ones that children enjoy. You can throw in some projects that revolve around those books as well.
Spend time in the outdoors
One of the simplest ways to talk about the earth is to get outside! Go camping if that’s your thing, or just spend the day outside exploring on a hike or a nature walk. Talk about the things that you see, hear and smell. Look into whether you have local nature centers in your area. They will have activities for Earth Day that you and your children can participate in.
Teach them about water and electricity conservation
Around the home, one thing that helps not only the bills, but also the earth, is conserving water and electricity. Even if your child is only 3 years old, you can begin teaching them about:
- turning lights off
- shutting the water off when they brush their teeth
- unplugging things when not in use, etc.
It’s important for kids to grow up doing these things to create good habits for down the road when they are older, or on their own. BONUS: It will help save money and conserve energy!
Create a story about the earth
After reading stories about Earth Day, and being conservative with energy and water, have your child write a short story and color some photos. You can go online and print off Earth Day printables, or just a few things that they might want to make a story with and let them color and tell you what the story is about. Help them decide on a theme and what the characters will do.
Participate in a local event
Many cities will have events on Earth Day to do things like recycle or raise money for local nature centers, recycling centers, etc. Some areas have marathons, children’s events and vendor fairs, among other things. Research what your area or areas near you do to plan your Earth Day festivities. (Here’s what’s happening for Earth Day 2017.)
Create recycled art
There are many, many art projects that can be done with recycled materials. Indoor projects, outdoor lawn projects — the possibilities are endless. If you have friends or family that use a lot of plastic bottles, you can ask them to save them for you so you can set up a bowling game. You could recycle tin cans by painting them or putting paper around them to hold writing utensils, or use old stones, sticks, recycled items and other things to create an outdoor art project. There are tons of ideas online that you can try out with your children!
If you have pets, there are even projects that you can do for them on Earth Day. Upcycle old T-shirts or towels and turn them into dog toys.
Plant a tree, garden or anything else that can grow in your yard
Planting aids in producing more air for the earth, and there are many small varieties that you can purchase for your yard (or large if you are in need of larger trees). If your area has a tree planting event, you can always participate in that as well.
Gardens are beneficial for so many reasons! It’s the perfect springtime project for you and your little ones. Even if they are very little, planting things like carrots, potatoes and beans are great because they are all easy to plant and easy to care for. You get to enjoy those fresh fruits and veggies after they are done growing, and teach your child about sustaining your own backyard garden. If you live in an apartment or do not have yard space, try out garden boxes or indoor gardening kits. You can also look into an indoor herb garden, which is also easy to care for and grow.
Create a compost bin for summer gardens and plants
Composting cuts down on your garbage that ends up in landfills, and it can benefit your outdoor plants. There are even options if you are in an apartment. Many cities have local composting sites that you can bring compost to in your city to help community gardens.
Composting is easy to start with a few minor purchases like a garbage can and compost starter — it doesn’t need to cost you more than about $30 to get started. Drill holes in a garbage can and begin adding things like leaves, fruits and veggies, eggshells, old plants, sticks, etc. These items will all break down as time goes on. A compost starter will boost it and get it going faster. You will still need to mix it up once or twice a week to help it along. Once you start planting your garden or outdoor plants for spring and summer, if your compost is ready (mixed in, decomposed, etc.), you can churn it in with the soil, or plant your things and wait until the compost is ready to add it to the soil. It will benefit your yard either way!
These are just a few ways to teach your child the meaning of Earth Day. How will you be celebrating Earth Day with your family?
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