Earth Day is the largest, most celebrated environmental event in the world. Adults know they should be respectful and mindful of their responsibilities to the planet all the time. But for kids, April 22nd may be the first time they're introduced to the notion of environmentally responsible behavior. For this reason, it's important that parents and teachers take this upcoming opportunity to teach their children and students about the planet, as well as how to take care of it. To help such parents and teachers spread the green message to kids, we've provided some suggestions for Earth Day crafts and activities.
- Read a book to your children or students that celebrates the earth, and shows kids how to keep it clean and healthy. Find one or all of the following at your local library or bookstore, or at Amazon.com:
It's Earth Day! (Little Critter) by Mercer Meyer
Clifford's Spring Clean-Up (Clifford the Big Red Dog) by Norman Bridwell
Earth Day (On My Own Holidays) by Linda Lowery
For the Love of Our Earth by P.K. Hallinan
Mother Earth by Nancy Luenn
MR. GARBAGE (Bank Street Ready-to-Read) by William H. Hooks
The Great Trash Bash by Loreen Leedy
Long Live Earth by Meighan Morrison
Recycle!: A Handbook for Kids by Gail Gibbons
- Visit EnchantedLearning.com for instructions on how to make a papier-mâché globe of the earth from a balloon, newspaper, flour-water glue, and paint.
- Visit Kaboose.com for instructions on how to make a bug-themed mobile that reuses a cardboard egg carton; a bird feeder that reuses a milk carton; a magazine holder that reuses a cereal box; a terrarium that reuses a plastic soda bottle; an earth-themed planter that reuses a milk jug; and a pet food scoop that reuses a laundry soap bottle.
- Print off Earth Day-themed acrostic poem worksheets, vocabulary word jumbles, word search puzzles, coloring pages, blank maps, comprehension quizzes, and other classroom activities from Apples4TheTeacher.com and EnchantedLearning.com.
- If your children have old clothing, toys, shoes, or other items in good condition, take a family trip to your local thrift store, recycling center, or church so they can see how their trash is someone else's treasure.
- Have your kids pick out some heavy fabric and then, together, sew it into simple rectangular shopping bags with handles. Or, buy some canvas bags at a craft or environmentally friendly gift shop, and then have your kids use fabric pens or paints to decorate them. Be sure to tell them it takes 1,000 years for a single plastic bag to break down in a landfill.
- Teach your kids or students about recycling, littering, or composting by taking them on a trash-collecting walk. To help illustrate how much trash is produced by Americans, visit TimeForKids.com and print off their Trash Facts worksheet. Don't forget to separate plastics, metals, and paper, and to place the collected garbage into recycling bins.
- Design an Earth Day lesson plan centered on nature observation. Get your kids or students outdoors and encourage them to really take in and appreciate their surroundings. Print off an activity sheet from TimeForKids.com, and get them inspired to start keeping a nature journal filled with earth-friendly resolutions.
- Remind your kids or students to wear hand-me-downs to school to celebrate Earth Day. It's as simple as wearing their brother's or sister's old T-shirt, and it will help get the point across about energy consumption in the fashion and textile industries.
- Have younger kids or students each draw a picture of one thing they think is beautiful about the earth. On the back of the drawing, have them draw or write one problem the earth has.
- Visit FamilyEducation.com for instructions on making a wind sock reusing an oatmeal container.
- Work in the yard together with your family: plant a tree, establish a compost heap, or start an organic garden. If you don't have a yard or want to do this activity as a class, plant some potted herbs together and display them on a windowsill.
- Attend Earth Day events with your family or students. Many communities have celebrations that are not only fun for kids, but informative as well.
- Walk or bike with your kids to school. On the way, tell them a little bit about pollution.
- As a family or a classroom, make and decorate Earth Day cards using recycled materials. Inside the card, include an earth-friendly tip to be passed along to friends and relatives.
- Make breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner with your kids using locally grown, organic produce.