This year, Earth Day is celebrated on Monday, April 22, 2013.
Here are 10 ways you can teach your children about the beauty that is all around them, teach them about recycling, and make their lives a little greener.
Have your kids decorate boxes or bins to separate recycling from trash. Teach them which items can be placed in recycling bins. They will love earning a little extra cash by separating cans and bottles and exchanging them for money at a local recycling center. Start composting, here are some great tips to get you started.
Look for an organization in your area who hosts regular beach or park clean-ups. Sign up to volunteer and spend a few hours collecting trash and recycling. Don’t forget your gloves and a couple of buckets. Afterward, reward the kids with a play at the park or beach they’ve been cleaning up. Here are even more ways you can encourage children to give back to their community and the planet.
3. Get into the Garden
Plant a tree, herbs, fruit and vegetables, and weather-tolerant plants that don’t need to be watered often. Kids will love growing, caring for and eating fruit and vegetables they grow themselves. Planting a tree will provide natural shade in the summer and they help clean the air we breathe.
4. Go on a Nature Hunt
Can your kids identify the birds, wildlife, plants and trees in your area? Put together a nature hunt and let them learn outdoors. Have them mark off each item as they find it, or take photographs so they can create a nature book when they get home about what they observed. Take paper and a crayon and do bark and leaf rubbings along the way.
5. Host a Book Swap
Kids love books, they also love to read new books, whether it be borrowing from their school, or local library, or begging you to purchase new books for them. Have them gather together books they don’t read anymore, invite friends over who have done the same and swap books. Provide water, healthy snacks, and story time for the kids.
6. Earth Friendly Crafts
Raid the recycling bin for bottles, boxes, cartons, paper rolls, and whatever else your kids can find to make fun recycled crafts such as robots made from boxes with bottle cap eyes, paper roll penguins and egg carton critters. They will love homemade playdough and these fun recycled crayons too.
7. Learn about Wildlife and Plants
Visit a nature center, Wildlife Park, State or National Park. Pop into the visitor center to learn more about what you will find in the area, ask if they offer guided hikes which is the perfect way to learn more about the wildlife and plants you can may otherwise overlook.
8. Eat Clean
Spend an entire day eating clean. No junk food, no pre-packaged food. Shop at a local farm, or farmer’s market for organic produce. Once you’ve started, you may not be able to stop.
9. Read Books about the Earth
- The Earth Book, by Todd Parr
- Michael Recycle, by Ellie Bethel
- The Adventures of an Aluminum Can, by Alison Inches
- I Can Save the Earth, by Alison Inches
- The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss
- Earth Day Every Day, by Lisa Bullard
- The Magic Schoolbus, by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen
- The Three R’s: Reduse, Reuse, Recycle, by Nuria Roca
10. Make Bird Feeders
Bird feeders for your yard can be as simple as rolling pine cones or paper rolls in peanut butter and seeds. Hang them outside and watch the birds come.