Every year, Earth Day happens on April 22. The day is a wonderful opportunity to teach our kids more about protecting planet Earth. We can teach them about the 3Rs — recycling, reducing, and reusing — as well as how plants grow, among so many other fun activities.
Here are 10 of our favorite hands-on things to do that gets kids interested in the world around them:
Learning About Earth Day
It is time to celebrate earth day again! For the past five decades, April 22nd has been a day dedicated to bringing awareness to environmental protection issues.
According to the Earth Day Network, “1 billion people participate in earth day festivities each year in 192 countries.” That’s huge!
Why Do We Celebrate Earth Day For Kids?
While we may find that fact amazing, our kids may not quite understand the significance of it or fully understand why we celebrate Earth day.
They may not understand about global warming, the need to recycle, and keep our world healthy and clean so we have put together a great list of resources and activities to help your child not only learn about Earth day, but to celebrate it as well!
Family Fun Earth Day Activities
There are so many different ways to celebrate Earth day, including ways at home! These are some of our favorite family fun Earth day activities:
Visit National Parks Virtually
We may not be able to go on a road trip right now, but we can still discover national parks. Many parks are currently offering virtual visits. Get a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon. Discover the fjords of Alaska. Or visit the active volcanoes of Hawaii. Nearly all 62 national parks of the United States offer some sort of virtual tour.
Smithsonian Learning Lab
The Smithsonian Learning Lab has so many free resources available to teach your child about Earth day. There are pictures, articles, news stories, and even great history lessons!
Organize a Neighborhood Safari
National Geographic has a fabulous idea. First, learn about the world’s many animals through their resources. Next, encourage your kids to draw or color pictures of animals. Hang those pictures in your window, and then go on a neighborhood safari! (To get your whole neighborhood in on this Earth Day hunt, be sure to share this idea with your community.)
On April 22, walk around your neighborhood and look for pictures of animals in people’s windows. Encourage your kids to point them out and name the animals.
Start a Seed Jar
Since we’re in the Midwest, it’s not quite time to start our garden. But that doesn’t mean we can’t teach our kids about how things grow! Get your kids excited for their (future) garden by starting a seed jar. As Little Bins for Little Hands shares, this is a great experiment to show kids what seeds typically do underground before they sprout from the earth.
Create a Play Garden
Whether you have a backyard or not, you can create a play or mud garden for your kids to dig into and explore. As Gardening Know How shares, all your kids need is a small enclosed area, a little bit of dirt, and some tools for digging. A play garden of their own will encourage them to learn about planting things and, well, getting muddy!
We love magazines in my house. I love the different recipes and different home design ideas, while my husband is into health, and my kids love all things games and cartoons. But a great way to help keep the world green is to go paperless! There are so many different reading apps that allow you to read your favorite magazines without wasting paper!
Earth Day Crafts
Earth Day Crafts For Kids
Make your own earth! Use this earth day coloring page to create your own Earth to hang up in your room. Paint the oceans blue, and use dirt and glue to create the continents.
3D Earth Day Paper Crafts
How cute is this Earth day craft? Make your own 3D Earth, or you could even make a 3D recycle sign, which would be great in a classroom to remind your student to recycle their papers.
Puffy Paint Earth Day Craft
This puffy paint is made with things that may already be in your pantry! It’s a great way to save money and refrain from using more plastic bottles! Plus, you can make all the colors you need to paint a beautiful portrait of Earth.
Earth day is the perfect day to recycle! What better way to recycle or upcycle old magazines and newspapers than using it to create artwork! This would be a great book (or movie) and art combo especially since the Lorax worked very hard to help save the environment!
Upcycled Plastic Suncatchers
Don’t throw away your berry boxes! Those plastic boxes can be used to create beautiful upcycled plastic suncatchers! An adult may need to cut the plastic, but then your kids can easily create the world, various plants, or even recycled signs using permanent markers.
Hand And Arm Print Trees
Celebrate Earth day by creating artwork based on the beauty of nature. Then help a loved one celebrate by sending them this keepsake! The best part is, you’ll be painting with things in nature like dandelions! Who needs plastic paintbrushes when nature provides what you need!
Salt Dough Earth Day Necklace
These Earth day necklaces are so adorable! I love them! You make necklaces using salt dough to form little Earths and then you thread blue ribbon and cute little beads through the ribbon. Don’t forget to add a clasp! These would make great gifts to hand out on Earth day.
I love this craft so much! The only part of this butterfly collage that isn’t part of nature is the construction paper and glue. Make your own butterfly using flower petals, dandelions, bark, sticks, and more! Plus, it is a craft the requires you to get out and move! Go on a fun hike to find all your art supplies!
Make Nature Art
After collecting rocks, sticks, flowers, and more from around the backyard and neighbor encourage your kid’s creativity through some nature-inspired art projects.
Earth Day Printables
Earth Day Coloring Pages
Looking for some Earth day coloring pages? We have them! This set has 5 different coloring pages that promote ways to keep our world a clean and healthy place! From recycling to planting trees, there are many ways kids of all ages can be apart of Earth day.
Earth Day Certificate
Is your child or student going above and beyond in their mission to save the earth? What better way to reward them and reinforce the importance of Earth day that this custom certificate?
Earth Day Coloring Sheets
Looking for even more coloring sheets? We have another set of Earth day coloring sheets for you! These also help promote going green and keeping our Earth clean. In this set you’ll find recycling coloring sheets, coloring sheets of trash being thrown away, and various plants, and reusing stuff we have.
Free Printable Earth Day Bingo Cards
Who doesn’t love Earth day Bingo! It is one of my favorite games! Each picture represents the Earth, plants, and keeping it clean! You could even use this game to recycle as well. Print it on the back of previously used pieces of paper and you could cut up used paper as counters or use stuff like bottle caps.
Free Printable Earth Day Placemats
These Earth day placemats are also coloring sheets and teach your child to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The best part is if you laminate these place mats they can be used over and over again!
Toddler Activities For Earth Day
Earth Day Activities To Do With Children
There are so many things you can do this Earth day to teach your child how important it is to keep the environment clean and how wonderful the world is. From walking, to visiting a dump to better understand where all the trash goes, to making recycled art, and more!
Earth Day Reading List
Sometimes kids are a little too small to participate in a lot of Earth day activities and that is okay! Because these fun Earth day books will still teach them the importance of Earth day while your toddler still be part of the fun!
Teaching Your Little One To Recycle
Recycling is something we should all be doing and starting at a young age will help promote being green in the future. Take a bin of recyclable materials and let your toddler separate them into the right bin. It can be a fun game and an easy toddler activity for Earth day.
Upcycle Toys Into Something New
Teach kids about how we can reuse old items, like toys, and turn them into something new and fun. Turn old sports equipment into functional household items, like planters. Or use old stuffed animals as bean bag filling! Your kids will love that they can “keep” their old toys too.
STEM Earth Day Activities
Growing Plants In Eggshells
Learn about plants and how to better help them grow with this growing plants in an eggshell science experiment. You’ll plant seeds in eggshells (make sure you rinse them out and handle them gently) and put them in various conditions to see which seeds grow better.
Carbon Footprint Activity
Carbon footprint is not a term most kids will understand. This project will not only explain what a carbon footprint is, but also explains how we can have a smaller carbon footprint. Plus, they can make their own “carbon footprint” using black paint, which brings some fun into this stem earth day activity.
Teach your kids about the Earth’s atmosphere this Earth day. Teach them about 5 layers of the atmosphere and how each layer acts as a barrier and how it helps us stay alive. This activity is so cool and also teaches about fluids and their density. It could be potentially messy so make sure you do this with aprons and a place that spills are okay.
Weather Science Experiments
Speaking of our atmosphere this would be a great time to learn about the weather since global warming has an effect on our weather as well. Learn about the rain, clouds, tornadoes, fog, and more!
Mix chemistry and earth science with this seed paper project. Not only is it fun to make (and a little messy), but once you finish making the seed paper you can spend time outside planting them! Make the world a better place one flower at a time!
Outside Science Activity
What is better then spending time outside on a warm spring day? For this outside experiment you will need an intact cattail, cattail seeds, and a magnifying glass. This is a great way to teach your child about seeds and plants.
Earth Day Projects For Middle Schoolers
Make a Bird Feeder
Want to encourage a love of bird watching? Encourage birds to visit your backyard by making bird feeders! We love this idea of rolling pine cones in peanut butter and bird feed, and then hanging up this tasty treat in our backyard. (You can also use old plastic eggs to shape bird feed treats).
Engineering For Good
This is another one of my favorite earth day projects for middle schoolers. We tell our kids all the time to drink enough water, but they may not realize that all those plastic bottles add up. This is a great way to not only get them to realize the impact all the plastic has on our environment, but come up with ways to help solve the issue of too much plastic.
The Energy Lab
This is an interactive research challenge that was designed by Nova. This challenge allows students to design their own renewable energy systems to help provide energy for different cities around the United States. They’ll also learn why some energy sources are getting low.
Earth Day Recipes
Bring your kids into the kitchen and make some Earth Day inspired meals. In other words, all these dishes are green
Earth Day Treats Kids Will Love
While there is a delicious list of treats on this particular list, the dirty worms is extra special to me. I remember my teacher making this for us many, many, years ago! Who doesn’t love chocolate pudding, Oreos, and gummy worms?
Earth Day Cupcakes
Who doesn’t love Earth day cupcakes! These cupcakes are super special, because they look like the earth! Plus they’re super easy to make! Color your white cake mix and then make green and blue frosting so that each cupcake looks like our beautiful earth!
Yummy Green Earth Day Recipes
Earth day isn’t just about cleaning up trash and keeping our world clean, but we must keep our homes and our bodies clean as well! So why not go green with our diet! There are so many delicious green recipes like this green pizza!
Earth Day may only come once a year, but you can do these activities all year round.