If you don’t already have it on your calendar, Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day.
While there are usually plenty of local, kid-friendly events to attend to honor Earth Day, the day also serves a good opportunity to talk with your kids about how we can do things on a daily basis to nurture the world around us.
Here are 10 ways to celebrate Earth Day with kids, every day.
Recycling pick-up day is a big deal at our house. As soon as my girls hear the beep of the recycling truck backing down our driveway, they beeline to the window to watch the show. This is a great time to talk about where all of those cans, bottles, and flattened cardboard will go after it gets loaded on the truck.
Type Earth Day into Pinterest and you’ll find a wide variety of earth-themed crafts, coloring pages, and activities to do with your kids. Choose a craft that uses items from around your home and you’ll be honoring the earth in more than one way. I especially love this simple art project using upcycled egg cartons.
Buy organic, locally-sourced foods
Organic farming practices are better for the earth, period. Choose organic over conventional produce, especially when buying these fruits and vegetables. Shop your local farmers market instead of your grocery store, and buy as much produce in season as possible. Get to know the people who grow your food — introduce your kids to the individuals manning the farmers market booths.
Become a locavore
Shop local, for more than food. Before shopping online or heading to a big box store, visit locally-owned shops. From toy stores to book sellers to boutiques, choosing local businesses helps your town, your neighbors, your economy… your earth.
Bring your bags
My hometown has a ban on plastic bags, and charges a fee if you don’t bring your own. Honestly, at first it was a pain to remember to bring my own bags. But now, even if it weren’t for this mandate, I’d still participate. It’s become a habit, and my 4-year-old loves to carry one the empty bags as a purse as we shop. Reusable bags help keep plastic out of our landfills. Plus, they hold a lot more stuff than the typical plastic grocery bag.
Plant a tree
Whether it is every year on Earth Day, Arbor Day, or some other annual occasion, visit a local nursery with your kids to choose a tree to plant. Then, get those shovels out and start digging.
Clean up, clean up, everybody let’s clean up
We teach our kids to pick up their toys, tidy up their rooms, and take care of the things they love. The same thing goes for the earth. If we are on a walk and see litter, we pick it up and thrown it in the trash. If we are at the beach for a picnic lunch, we leave nothing behind. If we are on a hike with our dog, we clean up after him. Everybody does their share, even if it wasn’t a mess that we created.
Grow a garden
You don’t need a lot of space to grown your own vegetables and flowers. Bigger kids can help plant seeds; little kids can help water. Plus, what’s better than the thrill of proudly plucking a big bunch of carrots out of the ground?
Read The Lorax (and watch the movie)
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
There are lots of great kids books honoring the earth, but the Dr. Seuss classic is my favorite, by far. Start your Earth Day by reading The Lorax, and finish it with a popcorn-and-pajama movie night.
Whether it’s an adventure in your own backyard, a simple walk around your neighborhood, or a day hike at a local state park, explore the outdoors, every day. Cherish the beauty and wonder of the world around you, rain or shine. That means splashing in puddles. That means crouching down low to examine the tiniest of ants. That means running through wide open fields of dandelions. Take time to experience the earth through the eyes of your kids, with your kids.
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. — Wendell Berry
Happy Earth Day, everyone.
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