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Earth day is coming up (it's on April 22nd, mark your calendar!) and it's a great opportunity to teach your kids about the impact our actions have on the earth, as well as steps we can take to protect it.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day is a holiday dedicated to...well..the earth! There are community events and worldwide celebrations devoted to learning about recycling, sustainable living, and getting educated about other environmental concerns.
Earth Day started in 1970 as a way to celebrate the earth and talk about different ways to protect it and keep it healthy.
What started with 20 million people celebrating the first Earth Day, has turned into over 190 countries that come together to celebrate the earth. It might be hard to believe, but our daily choices can have a really big impact if we do it together!
How does Earth Day help the environment?
Earth Day helps us remember the environment. And it's so easy to lose focus on this. Maybe you were excited about living a greener and more sustainable life when you were in your 20s, but then life happened.
Maybe you got married, had kids, moved two times and now you look around your living room at the piles of toys (most of them plastic and rarely used) and the plastic bags from the store just seem to be multiplying.
And you wonder what happened to those ideals of green living? I can totally relate!
Related: What is Sustainable Food?
Earth Day is a day set aside to remind us about the importance of protecting the environment. It's a day to talk about what simple steps we can take to make this earth a better place for our kids.
Let's include our kids in the conversation and get them excited about caring for the earth.
How do I Include my kids?
Here are 15 simple ways to make Earth Day an educational day with your kids. Read through the list and make a plan for how you'll celebrate Earth Day this year.
- Turn off the lights and have a candlelit dinner. Teach your kids about conserving energy and the impact of something simple like turning off the lights when you leave a room.
- Plant a tree. You'll be able to see the impact for years to come. Make it a tradition and you'll have a mini-forest that grows with your kids.
- Start a garden. Plant a few vegetables outside in a garden bed, or some herbs in a sunny window. Your kids will love watching the plant grow. They might even want to help care for it!
- No paper towels for a day. Paper towels are made from trees. Teach your kids about reducing waste by taking away the paper towels for a day. Try these paperless towels if you want to make a more permanent change.
- "Paper, please". If you go grocery shopping on Earth Day, make sure to opt for paper bags. Better yet, bring your own! Put your kid in charge of setting your bag on the conveyor belt when it's time to checkout. Kids love being included!
- Ditch plastic produce bags. Speaking of grocery shopping...when you buy produce on Earth Day, use these re-usable produce bags. Stick them in your big reusable shopping bag and keep it in the car to make sure it's always with you. Include your kids in this and they might just take over the responsibility of remembering the bags!
- Nature walk or bike ride. Go for a family walk or bike ride around your neighborhood or at a nearby park. Make sure you take a look around at the plants, animals, and bugs you see. Do you hear any birds?
- Make a meal using only seasonal produce. Include your kids in the planning and research to teach them about seasonal and local produce. If you're not sure what's in season right now, here's a resource for you.
- Reuse and Repurpose. Before you throw anything away, try to think, "Is there a way this could be reused or repurposed before it goes to the land fill?
- Clean up your neighborhood. Take a walk and pick up the litter along the road, in the bushes, and in the grass. Use a garbage grabber like this one to make it fun!
- Feed the birds. Make or buy a bird feeder and invite the birds into your yard.
- Have a yard sale. Clean out the toy bins and the closets and sell it all in a yard sale. Your junk might be another person's treasure! Get your kids involved and share the money with them or give them something specific to be in charge of, like a lemonade stand.
- Car-free day. Consider going a day without using your car. If you need to go somewhere, use alternate ways of transportation like a bus, bike, or walking. And if you really need to go somewhere with a car, try to car pool.
- Recycled craft time. Make crafts using using recycled items. Here's a list of 30 crafts that use recycled materials.
- Nature scavenger hunt. Have fun outside with your kids searching for bugs, leaves, and twigs.
Remember, Earth Day is a day of celebration!
Have fun with your kids as you teach them about recycling, sustainability, and all the little things they can do to make a difference.