When it comes to celebrating Earth Day on April 22, there is no shortage of ways environmentally conscious people choose to honor this day. (Check out the coolest 2017 events around the country here.) When you’re trying to raise young stewards of the planet, it’s never too early to begin out-of-the-box Earth Day traditions that you and your family can revisit year after year. It’s important to consider the ages of your children, as well as their interests, skills and attention levels, to ensure the tradition you select is one that will truly hold your entire family’s interest well into the future.
Without further ado, here are four unique Earth Day traditions you can start this year as a family.
Think outside the tree
Many people choose to plant a tree to honor Earth Day, and this is an honorable and beneficial tradition, of course, especially if your city or town organizes a tree-planting event at a local park. However, your family can take this idea to another level by starting a garden on Earth Day that can be tended to by the entire family year-round. In addition to planting vegetables, herbs and/or flowers that grow well in your specific area, customize your garden by including each family member’s favorites. Let everyone pick something new to add to the garden every year on Earth Day.
Start a neighborhood or school recycling program
Spearhead a block-wide or even school-wide recycling initiative by going door to door as a family to enlist neighbors who are willing to collect cans, glass or plastic water bottles. Or speak with your kids’ school administration about placing recycling bins in the classrooms and cafeteria. Organize a day per week or month, depending on the size of your neighborhood or school, upon which your family will be in charge of collecting the chosen recyclables from your neighbors or school and taking them to a nearby recycling plant. For a school group, donate funds to its PTA. For your neighborhood collection, use the funds earned to donate to a worthy eco-conscious cause.
Make a green pact — as a family
Bond through your earth-friendly efforts by make a concerted effort to “go green” as a family this Earth Day. Gather together and decide which go-green tasks most interest each member of the family. For example, encourage the fashion-savvy members of your family to repurpose older clothing into new styles using current trends (and a sewing machine!) as inspiration, or if some in the family are constant over-users of paper products and other disposables, encourage them to cut back on their habit by switching to reusable and/or cloth products. Encouraging one another and keeping one another accountable is a fun way to go green as a family. Each Earth Day, you can look back on the difference a year has made, and start a new green pact for the next year!
Make an earth-friendly dinner
Little kids may not fully understand the significance of Earth Day, but they can certainly be part of a simple family tradition this April 22 — a special meal. Bring the family together for dinner honoring Earth Day. The ingredients of this meal should be conscious of the environment in any way possible. For example, make a meatless meal or use ingredients bought entirely from a local farmers market. Instead of scraping remnants into the trash or even the compost heap, turn the leftovers into a second creative meal for the following night. This Earth Day meal can be the very beginning of a new tradition to make every meal just a little bit more earth-conscious.
Learning how to be green not just on Earth Day but every day is a wonderful way to bond with your family while making a beneficial impact on our planet day after day.
Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock. This story was originally posted on April 9, 2015. It was updated on April 20, 2017.