Earth Day always sneaks up on me, which is funny, as an environmental blogger and activist. I find that I am constantly thinking about how to live healthier and gentler on our lovely but rapidly changing planet, but not necessarily about April 22nd as Earth Day.
Thankfully, it is often our kids that motivate us to celebrate days we might normally overlook, or be too busy to do anything about.
On this Earth Day, here are a few simple ideas about how to celebrate with the little people in your life:
1. Spend the Day (or hour) Outside! We know that spending time in nature calms us, adults and children. After the stress and violence in our country last week, we could all use some outdoor time to reflect, connect, explore, and calm. Take a walk, a hike, a picnic, anything outside with your family. The bonds that grow to nature and in the family are more important than any organized Earth Day activity.
2. Spend the Day (or part of it) Volunteering: Pick up litter in your neighbor hood. Travel to your favorite park, river, or natural area and pick up any litter. Just spend time observing nature, too– and you will benefit as well.
3. Create an Honor Earth Table: Collect items from nature (on the ground and not alive!) with your kids such as twigs, rocks, pine cones, and dried flowers. Set up a table or small area in your home and have your kids place the items on a nice cloth. You could then have each person share why they selected a particular item. This is short and lovely way to connect to nature and to each other.
4. Make an Earth Day Pledge: At dinner time, gather the family and ask each person to make a pledge to do something (small or large) to protect the earth. It could be (if it were me), “I will remember to take out the compost before it gets moldy.” Kids can contribute pledges such as “I will turn out the lights when I leave the room,” or “I will turn off the water when I brush my teeth.” By sharing these, possibly with a candle lit, the day becomes more special, and the commitment has meaning.
5. Grab this free Earth Day Activity Guide from our friends at Green Kid Crafts.
6. Read Earth themed books together such as The Lorax by Dr. Suess, The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales, or any of these books about spring. What are you favorites?
7. Pick an environmental charity and make a donation. The Sierra Club is a great choice. Your child may also be interested in the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, or other choices based on their interests. Selecting a local resource based charity could be a good fit too– promoting localism and the health of your local ecosystems.
Will you celebrate Earth Day with your family? What are your ideas for teaching your children to care for the Earth? Please share them in the comments, I know you have great ideas.