It's never too soon to start teaching children about the importance of caring for the Earth. You can begin by celebrating Earth Day, even with your toddler! This will help your little one grow into a responsible world citizen who cares for the planet.
Keep reading to discover some amazing kid-friendly earth day activities you can enjoy as a family:
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day is always on April 22. Earth Day 2023 falls on a Saturday, so you can easily celebrate!
Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, which was the start of the environmental movement. Following the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, Senator Nelson of Wisconsin decided to organize protests and workshops to build awareness around the environment. Earth Day was born! For the first time, students, conservationists, and everyday Americans took to the streets to defend the environment on April 22, 1970.
The movement began in the United States but went global in 1990. Earthday.org is now a great resource that helps many participate with green actions for a better world.
The spirit of Earth Day is to take a moment to consider our actions and how they affect the planet. It’s a great day to talk with your child about caring for the Earth.
What better way to celebrate Earth Day for kids than with fun activities? These activities will spark conversation and start your child’s journey as a budding environmental activist:
5 Fun Activities to do On Earth Day for Kids
Here are 5 great activities to enjoy with your little one on Earth Day:
1. Plant a Bee Garden
Did you know that bees pollinate up to 35% of the US agricultural production? Without bees, we’d bee (Yes, we went there with a Dad joke) in big trouble. Unfortunately, bees are running into trouble. Their habitats are shrinking and the use of pesticides kills bees.
One thing you can do to help is to plant a bee garden!
Materials: Books about bees, seeds or small plants, trowels, mulch, watering can, birdbath and stones (optional).
How to Plant a Bee Garden:
- Read some books about bees with your child.
- Invite your child to help plant a garden for bees!
- Prepare the soil and invite your child to dig holes for the plants or to make rows for the seeds. Help your child with the planting.
- Mulch the plants. If using seeds, only mulch after the seeds have grown into seedlings.
- Have your child use the watering can to water the plants or seeds.
- Fill the birdbath with water and stones so that the bees can access water.
This resource will help you pick the right plants for your bee-friendly garden.
As a follow-up activity, find some smooth stones and invite your child to paint them using eco-friendly paints. Then, decorate the bee garden with the stones!
2. Find the Matching Leaf or Flower
Have fun outdoors and appreciate the beauty of nature with this activity. In this game, your child will practice botany skills, notice shapes, smells, and textures, and have fun!
How to Play:
- Beforehand, go around your yard or park and pick different leaves or flowers (if you’re in a park, make sure it’s ok to pick a few leaves!).
- Then, lay the leaves out on a blanket.
- Show your child one of the leaves. Invite them to find a matching one in the garden. You can demonstrate first by walking around and holding up the leaf to compare it to others. Encourage your child to notice the texture, smell, and shape of the leaves.
You can add other nature items like pinecones, acorns, sticks, stones, etc. to the game if you’d like.
3. Make Planet Earth Art
Help your child learn more about our home planet by making some art!
Materials: Pictures of the Earth from space, blue and green food coloring, medicine droppers, coffee filters, cups of water, newspapers
How to Do It:
- Show your child images of the Earth from space. If possible, point out the continent on which you live. Notice the colors on Earth.
- After spreading some newspaper on your workspace, invite your child to use the droppers to drop blue and green colors on the coffee filter. Your child can also drip water on it and watch the colors run together.
- Let the artwork dry.
There are plenty of other options for making planet Earth art. You could invite your toddler to finger paint (try these environmentally kind paints!) a circular piece of paper with blue and green. Or, you could rip up blue and green images from magazines or newspapers and then paste the pieces on a circular piece of paper.
4. Grow Wheatgrass
Growing plants is an amazing way to celebrate Earth Day! One of the most rewarding plants to grow is wheatgrass because it grows SO fast.
Materials: Wheatgrass seeds, old yogurt container, paints, paintbrush, potting soil, watering can
How to Do it:
- If desired, read some books about plants and what they need to grow. Check this post out for inspiration.
- Beforehand, use a hot nail to poke some holes in the bottom of the yogurt container.
- Invite your child to paint the old yogurt tub using the paints. Allow it to dry.
- Fill the container with potting soil.
- Plant the seeds.
- Water it and watch your wheatgrass grow! Once the grass is long enough, your child can cut it and even sprinkle it in a salad.
5. Make a Bird Feeder
Watching nature up close can be very rewarding for young environmentalists. The more children learn to care about wildlife, the more they’ll fight to protect it. Making a bird feeder to hang outside a window offers a great chance for your little one to see local birds up close.
Materials: Paper towel or toilet paper tubes, peanut butter, birdseed, yarn (optional)
How to Do it:
- Cover the toilet paper roll with peanut butter using a butter knife.
- Roll it in a plate of birdseed.
- Hang the birdfeeder by placing it directly on a tree branch. Or, loop yarn through it and hang it up.
- Enjoy watching the birds eat!
For images and a more in-detail “how to” see Fireflies + Mud Pies.
If you’re looking to go beyond these hands-on activities, you can also read also books about the Earth and Earth Day with your child. Complemented with everyday green practices, these activities will help you instill environmental values in your child.
Bonus Activity: Earth Day Quiz for Adults
You can only teach your child what you know. Are you up to date on your Earth knowledge? Test yourself on facts related to climate change, clean energy, and more by trying some of earthday.org’s Earth Day quizzes. That way, you’ll be ready for the onslaught of questions (is your child in the “Why?” stage yet?) from your child about our planet.
We hope you now feel more than prepared to celebrate Earth Day with your little one. The above Earth Day for kids activities are not only fun and engaging but also promote learning! Which one will you choose to do?