Today we celebrate Earth Day! It is at least one day of the year that we spend more time focusing on taking care of this wonderful planet we live on. As a mother of 3 and former science teacher, I try and take full advantage of these type of days. Celebrating Earth Day with kids is not only easy, but so much fun!
You know those sayings ‘You can take the ____ out of the _____, but ____ will always be _____.’ Well, the same goes for teachers. You can take us out of the school system, but there is always going to be that ‘teacher’ part of us that just has to teach. My kids have no choice in learning about all things related to science. Sorry kids! Earth Day is the perfect day to take full advantage. We already love to be outdoors. Playing in dirt and water makes it even more fun! It’s never too late to celebrate either! Here are a few ways you can enjoy and celebrate with your kids.
Recycle those water bottles.
One of the easiest and most important steps of protecting our environment is simply recycling. Use Earth Day as a means to educate your children on the importance of recycling. To do this, all you need to do is re-use your water bottles or even milk jugs. Rinse them out with soapy water and allow to dry. When they are mostly dry, it’s time for crafts! Fill these bottles with all sorts of things: tissue paper pieces, rice, little pebbles, left over Easter grass from those Easter baskets. Maybe your child wants to get even more creative and make their water bottle into a butterfly by gluing or taping 2 heart-shaped pieces of paper to the side of the water bottle to give it butterfly wings. How about some glow in the dark fun? Put glow sticks into water bottles and scatter them around the house for the kids to find! You can teach your kids that we don’t have to just toss everything. There are things that can be reused, which is good for our planet. Allow your child to guide this project if they are old enough to do so! The options are endless.
Get to gardening.
This is probably my kids most favorite: gardening aka playing in dirt. You don’t need much to do this and you are doing something great for our planet when you are gardening. Don’t fret if you are not a green thumb! I haven’t had any issues with this gardening activity (wink, wink). Now you have 2 options, you could obviously just go to your local nursery and pick up some flowers / plants to plant directly into your yard. Another idea would be to plant seeds. My kids and I decided we would do both. Here is one of the easiest ways to get your indoor gardening underway.
I love to recycle my egg crates for gardening indoors with seeds. Not only are you recycling those crates, but you are also making the perfectly little ‘starter home’ for these plants. Egg crates can be easily placed in any window sill. I have had great luck with a plastic egg crate that I found at Rouses Market. It seriously mimics a greenhouse! Our seeds were sprouting within 3 days … say what?! All you have to do is fill each little pod with potting soil, about 3/4’s full. Place 2 seeds into each pod and lightly cover with dirt. Then just place in a sunny spot and keep soil moist. Should only need to water 2-3 times a week.
At some point, these plants need to be transferred to a bigger pot or outdoors so that they can continue to grow. Another great tip you can do is use egg shells as your transferable pot. Instead of placing soil directly into each pod, place a clean 1/2 egg shell into the pod. Fill these egg shells with the dirt. You can actually plant the egg shell into another pot or outdoors when the timing is right. Love this idea the most!
What seeds have we used? We have been very successful with both Marigolds and Cosmos.
Cleaning up the neighborhood or park.
Another great idea to teach our children about protecting our planet is by educating them on litter and why it is not good. Have your child help clean up any trash that is in your front or backyard. If you want, you could take it further and walk around your neighborhood or local park. Of course, if you leave your home to pick up litter, I would recommend having everyone wear gloves. Afterwards, treat everyone with a snowball or ice cream! Can’t go wrong with this activity when it ends with snow balls or ice cream.
The most simplest of all these is getting outside. Just get outside! Go on a nature walk or a nature scavenger hunt. Have your kids see how many flowers they can find or maybe compare tree heights. It doesn’t matter what you do, enjoy being outside and all that this Earth has to offer. Doing this with family makes it even more memorable.