This year marks the 49th annual Earth Day—a day dedicated to raising environmental awareness and protecting our planet.
While we should be eco-conscious every day, it is on April 22 that we come together to celebrate our commitment to our collective home. Schools around the world will have fun activities geared towards teaching the next generation about environmentalism, but you can also host your own Earth Day festivities and get the whole family involved. The more we foster an appreciation for the planet in our hearts and minds, the better for us all.
Here are some of our favourite family activities to help everyone celebrate Earth Day.
Trash Bag Challenge
Teach your kids the importance of keeping our planet clean by taking them around your neighbourhood and doing a family Trash Bag Challenge. You can designate one person for trash, another for recyclables, and another for compostables, or, do a buddy system where one person holds the bag and the other collects litter.
Wildflower Seed Bombs
Making pollinator-friendly wildflower seed bombs is surprisingly easy.
You will need: some newspaper, scissors, a food processor, water, bowl, and wildflower seeds.
Cut or tear the newspaper into one-inch squares and place in the bowl. Cover with water and let soak for 10-15 minutes. Let your kids squeeze out the water before you put it into the processor. Once you have small shreds, put them back in the bowl and mix in your seeds before forming balls. Finally, let the balls dry.
These make great gifts for teachers, classmates, and extended family members.
DIY Plastic Bottle Bug Hotel
Upcycling plastic gets your kids thinking outside the recycling box. Simply cut the top and bottom off a plastic bottle and stuff with collected twigs, branches, moss, pinecones, and fallen bark pieces. You can hang your bug hotel by wrapping the bottle’s circumference with twine or hemp rope and leaving excess to string around a fence or attach to an existing garden hook.
Backyard or Neighbourhood Scavenger Hunt
Challenge your kids to find certain tree species, draw found flowers or bugs, or collect natural items from your backyard or neighbourhood. This helps connect kids to the natural environment and burn off excess energy in a healthy way.
Earth Day Pledge
At dinner time, call upon each family member to make their own Earth Day Pledge—a way that they will help protect the planet. It can be as simple as promising to recycle or deciding to walk or ride to school and not waste food.
DIY Compost Bin
Grab a tote or garbage bin and let your kids collect some organic materials like garden waste, yard clippings, fruit peels, etc. Show them how to layer a compost bin with newspapers and other dry materials. This is a great activity because it doubles as an ongoing science experiment. Your family can check the compost’s progress over the weeks and track the transition from “waste” to soil.
Visit a Local Farm
If you’re lucky enough to have local food or flower farms in your area, take full advantage. Exposing your kids to the real places their food comes from is a crucial part of raising them to be aware and appreciative of the larger ecosystem around them.
Homemade Mini Greenhouse
Mini greenhouses can be made with nothing more than a plastic clamshell container, organic soil, and seeds. Get your kids to wash the container, fill it with soil, and gently press the seeds in. Then, give them the very important task of checking on the greenhouse each day to witness the seeds sprout and see if they need any water.
There are endless ways to get the family involved in Earth Day. While these activities are geared to getting outside, gaining skills, and getting creative, you can also calm things down with a good Earth Day-themed book or movie like The Lorax. Whatever you do, have fun!