By Dawna Matthews
Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year by over 100 countries. It is a joyous day when we can all come together and appreciate our planet and learn what we can do to keep it special. Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970, and is the most celebrated environmental day worldwide.
Families can simply feel wonderful and celebrate this beautiful day by appreciating nature and learning ways to protect our planet in ways that are fun. Here are some ideas that are good for children of all ages, including the young at heart.
Plant a tree. Plant a garden. Plant anything! Planting seeds is so exciting for children and makes us all feel connected to the earth. When you sew seeds for plants, vegetables, flowers or a tree, it teaches children environmental awareness as well as how to nurture plants and grow something, all while observing the cycle of life.
Go for a walk. Natural beauty is everywhere and is very close. Even in the busiest of cities, there is always a beautiful park or hidden garden. Take your child on a nature hike and enjoy your surroundings. Look for birds, plants, streams, and point out all the surrounding beauty. While you are there, lie down outside or take your shoes off for a few minutes and connect with the earth. Listen to the sounds of birds or ocean waves around you. Feel your feet and your whole body supported by Mother Earth.
Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Look for items like leaves, flowers, rocks, insects, etc. and mark them off the list as you locate them. There is a fantastic list available on the nature conservancy website:
Picnic with delicious goodies. Get together in the kitchen and put together festive and beautiful dishes filled with fruits, veggies, grains, and beans; then go on a picnic. Try to use local and seasonal ingredients from the farmers’ market as well as eco-friendly tableware. Talk about colors, textures, tastes, and how the earth gave us these gifts. For egg or meat dishes, try to talk about the importance of humanely treated animals. For dessert, try something fun like compost cupcakes (recipe http://www.parents.com/fun/birthdays/ ideas/compost-cupcakes/). Be sure to clean up the picnic area and recycle, making the place a little greener.
Play a recycle game. Make it a fun activity for the group. This is especially fun if you have a few kids together. Split the kids into teams or have the children play on their own. Give them a pile of mixed recycled goods: plastics, paper, aluminum cans, or anything else that is safe for a child to toss. Near each team, set up 3 bins labeled “paper,” “plastic” and “aluminum.” On the count of three, see which team can sort the pile into the appropriate bins first. Whoever wins gets an Earth Day surprise (special fruit/cookie/reuseable bag, etc…)
Upcycle and reuse items. Go through toys, books and clothes, then donate them to schools, charities, or a library. Make something new out of old items such as clothes. This teaches children new uses for old items and to use their imaginations.
Read a green book. See the article from our lovely website about eco-friendly books: https://green-mom.com/topics/ child-and-baby/eco-story-time.html#.UWsrLKKcfzM
Earth Day celebrates our amazing, beautiful planet Earth and the plants and animals that live here with us; it all comes from nature.
Take some time for the earth and teach your child more about nature and our planet, the animals and plants we love, as well as sustainability and what it means to be green. For more information or ideas for the celebration, visit the websites below: