The Earth is worth celebrating and protecting every day—whether for you that means using less electricity to preserve the planet’s natural resources, tending to your garden with love and care, or making an effort to opt for renewable materials when shopping for yourself, your family and your home, like a sustainable seagrass basket for easy home storage. But on Earth Day, which falls on April 22 every year, we get an opportunity to intentionally show our love for our planet. Earth Day is a great opportunity to get outside, learn more about how to care for the environment, and share that knowledge with others. The Earth needs us more than ever, so educating future generations about the importance of sustainable practices is vital—and can be super fun, too. Here are a few wonderful Earth Day activities to try with your family that will help them appreciate the nature around them, and want to work to keep the planet beautiful.
Hands-on activities are a wonderful way to learn, and teaching children about recycling through art and DIY projects is one of the best ways to show them the importance of making it a part of their everyday lives. It’s great to show children how easy it is to reuse old materials on their own before they even move to the recycling stage as well. For example, a cardboard box can become a diorama or a bug hotel. A glass jar can be filled with water to propagate a cutting from a plant. Old newspapers or magazines can become collages, paper mâché projects, or DIY wrapping paper for gifts. Old flowers can become potpourri for your bathroom. Tin cans can become child-sized drums or windchimes. When you start looking around at everything you throw away or recycle, you may be surprised at how much of it can find new life in and around your home!
Getting outside is the first step to a successful day of Earth Day activities, and what better way to explore nature than by bird watching? This is a great low-key, calm activity to do with your family, encouraging them to stop and really look at the nature around them. It can sometimes still be chilly out at this time of year, so make sure you pack your kids' hoodies in case they get cold, and one for yourself as well! Grab yourself a bird-watching book, like Peterson’s Field Guide, or a more regional book specific to your part of the country. While these books can be helpful, they’re not necessary for a good bird-watching trip. Binoculars are also helpful, but not necessary to enjoy the sightings of birds in your local park.
If you’re ever looking for inspiration for your or your kids’ next art project, just look outside your window! There’s such a beautiful array of life on display once you simply step outside, all there for the taking. And by taking, of course, we mean capturing through art! Bringing your art supplies with you on your next outdoor adventure, whether it’s to the park, the zoo, or just into your backyard, is a wonderful way to gain a new appreciation for nature’s wonders. Toss a paint set, watercolor set, markers, colored pencils, pastels, or whatever medium you like with you in your kids’ backpacks along with some paper (recycled, if possible, of course!) and you’re all set! You can even sit on your front steps and appreciate the view from your own house in a new light. Encouraging your family to find beauty in the nature around them is a perfect way to instill a love of the Earth and its gifts in them at a young age.
Composting is one of the best ways to show your love for the planet. Defined as the practice of gathering and reusing your natural food waste to nourish and fertilize new plant life, composting is a great activity to do with kids, and an essential lesson to pass on to them as they grow up. Learning not to throw away food waste is a practice children can take with them throughout their lives, embracing the good that can come from what they no longer need. If you don’t already have a compost bin, you can make one from any plastic, glass, or canvas storage bin, as long as it seals fully to keep insects out while it’s in your house. You can keep it in your freezer if you will be taking out your compost once a week or less. Different cities have different rules for what can and can’t be composted, so do a little research first. You can always compost fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and anything else that comes from the earth! Dairy and meat vary between places. Kids can have fun dropping eggshells, apple cores, carrot tops, and other food waste into the compost before either dropping it in your own garden, your compost bin if your city has a program to collect it, or with your local compost drop-off.
These Earth Day activities are both fun and educational, and will help your family appreciate and love their planet every day of the year. Check out the links below for more tips and tricks from Lands’ End!