On Earth Day, April 22nd, we celebrate our celestial home, planet Earth. It is a day to give thanks for the world around us and to take action to protect the natural resources we depend upon.
This year, I encourage you to spend Earth Day with your family, doing one of these fun activities designed to bring awareness of the ways we can all work to better our earthly home, reduce our carbon footprints, and build lasting family memories at the same time.
1. Go Plogging! It’s the new fitness craze: Picking up trash while jogging. Go for a family jog, walk, bike ride through your neighborhood armed with rubber or gardening gloves and trash bags. Have a contest to see who can collect the most trash.
2. Have an energy-saving scavenger hunt. Send your kids throughout your home to list all the ways they can find to save energy. You can hide treats at key points, such as that drippy outdoor faucet, the light switch everyone forgets to turn off, or the appliances that can be unplugged when not in use.
3. Make recycling fun. If you are not already recycling, now is the time to start. Hold a recycling workshop with your kids but make it fun with a gameshow or contest theme. If your family is already recycling, step up your game to reduce your family’s use of recyclable materials. Kids love a challenge, so offer a prize to whoever comes up with the best plan for reducing single-use plastics. Check out recyclecoach.com for more ideas.
4. Plant a vegetable garden. There’s no better way to teach kids where their food comes from than to teach them how to grow it, and it may just expand their taste for vegetables! Whether you plant in pots on the back porch or build raised beds, any amount of growing is good. Find your local gardening experts or check out a local nursery for resources about what to plant and how.
5. Compost your food scraps. That garden will need fertilizing, so go ahead and start composting. After all, what kid doesn’t like dirt and worms? Composting is easy and it makes a great science project. Watch as things like vegetable peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds, and paper scraps turn into black, nutrient-rich soil. There are many tutorials online to help you get started, like this one from Better Homes and Gardens.
6. Find an event near you. Go to earthday.org to find an event you and your family can participate in and help bring awareness to your community.
7. Stay home and watch a movie! Here is a list of some kid-friendly, nature documentaries you can share with your family while you conserve energy at home. Teaching your family about nature, animals, and our planet will help broaden their view and motivate them to become ambassadors for the Earth.