Explore Earth Day Fun: Family Activities and Resources

As April unravels, it brings warm weather, blue skies, and flowers in the backyard; it is the perfect month to celebrate Earth Day. Have you heard of it?

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Why Do We Celebrate Earth Day?

The very first Earth Day was held on April 22nd, 1970 thanks to the work of Senator Gaylord Nelson, a staunch supporter of environmental protection. Having seen the impact of oil spills and toxic dumps, millions of Americans gathered in New York to fight for the protection of clean air and water. The success of Earth Day led to real change as the Environmental Protection Agency was created that same year in December 1970. Now every April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day.

Teaching kids about The Environment

Earth Day is a time to reflect on your behaviors and make adjustments that have both personal and environmental benefits. It’s also a day designed to educate kids on important environmental topics.

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Outdoor Activities for Earth Day

Enjoying the natural environment is the first step to having a great Earth Day. Here are some ideas.

Hiking

Let Earth Day be your motivation to get outside and get active. Your hike can double as a scavenger hunt. Before heading out, write a list of objects to collect and animals to observe. The kids can make art projects out of what they find.  This lets you get more familiar with the flora and fauna of your region and it will keep the children engaged.

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If hiking doesn’t suit you, why not get tickets to a nearby zoo? It’s the perfect place to learn about animals, or get some binoculars and try birdwatching. Red robins and bluejays are always a treat to see this time of year.

Planting a Garden

Choose vegetables that are easy to grow like lettuce and tomatoes to start your garden. This go-to Earth Day activity is a chance to teach about plant propagation and photosynthesis.

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If transplanting, let kids look at the plant with a magnifying glass and call out what they see. Dwell.com offers a beginner’s guide to growing vegetables. If you need a starting point for your new garden, start with composting.

Composting

Composting changes organic materials into nutrient-rich materials fit for soil enrichment. It has many benefits; it reduces landfill waste, creates healthier soil, and is low effort.

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Here is a list of materials you can use in your compost pile:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds and paper filters
  • Tea bags
  • shredded brown bags
  • Plant stalks and twigs

Pick out a container and let your kids add waste material to it throughout the week until there is a substantial pile. Let the waste break down for 3 to 4 weeks before adding it to the soil.

Science Experiments

For some science-based fun, try an at-home environmental science project. There are plenty of options out there from solar-powered ovens to ocean zones in a jar. Here is one of them to get you started.

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Rainbow Celery

This simple science experiment introduces children to capillary action in plants. You will need:

  • Child-friendly scissors
  • Food coloring (various colors)
  • Clear jars, vases or plastic bottles
  • Stalks of celery with leaves

Instructions

  1. To start, cut an inch off the bottom of the celery stalk.
  2. Fill the jars halfway with water and add 15 to 20 drops of food coloring to the water
  3. Place the celery stalks in the jars to start “drinking” the colored water. The stalks should be fully dyed after a week.

This experiment and others can be found on the Call Emmy page below. Just click the link to get more fun experiments.

Upcycling Art Projects from Waste Material

Give waste materials new life with easy-to-do art projects.

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Plastics

  • Plant pots — Plastic bottles are wonderful for at-home art projects. You can cut them in half, paint them and stuff them with soil for flowers to grow. Tin cans can also be used as upcycled plant pots.
  • Windchimes — You can make DIY windchimes for Earth Day with bottle caps, old CDS, and plastic bottles or bowls. Even old silverware can go on these windchimes.

CDs

  • Suncatchers — String old CDs together with bits of thread or tweed to make eye-catching suncatchers.
  • CD Decor — Paint old CDs and stick them on brightly colored cardboard for an art project you can hang in the home.

Paper and Cardboard

  • Magazine sculptures — Take the pages of magazines and roll them tightly. Get the glue gun and stick these rolled pieces of paper together. You can make DIY buckets, bowls, or flower designs.
  • Cardboard creatures — All you need for these creatures is a pair of scissors and a glue gun. Paper towel rolls can take the shape of whatever your child wants to make.

Educational resources

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Websites

Natgeokids.com

This is the kids’ site of National Geographic and it offers educational articles. You can also sign up for newsletters for the latest environmental news. Their recycling games teach proper waste disposal and their articles can make backyard scientists out of anyone.

BBC Earth | Home

BBC Earth has articles on every topic related to the environment. There is a sustainability section, a nature space section, and a kids’ section. On the kids’ page, children are shown how to see life through the eyes of an animal and how to navigate using the sun.

The images scattered throughout the articles are genuinely stunning. That alone is reason enough to visit BBC Earth.

Sciencebuddies.org

This site has tons of science project ideas for children. There is a section for earth and environmental science, water quality and soil testing. The experiments here will keep kids busy for hours.

Books

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Lorax

The Lorax is a story about the importance of conservation. The story takes place in a world full of brightly colored trees. That is until they are all cut down to make a garment called Thneed.  The story teaches the reader that one person’s actions can have a lasting impact on the environment. It will inspire young readers to seek out positive changes.

Exploring Nature Activity Book for Kids: 50 Creative Projects to Spark Curiosity in the Outdoors 

This book is great for outdoor exploration. No matter your location, this book has an activity that can bolster a kid’s knowledge of plant and animal life.  They will learn to press flowers, fashion bird feeders and draw their own maps.

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps

With this read, kids will learn about Jane Goodall, a famous primatologist and conservationist. Goodall’s time in the forests of Tanzania is told in splendid detail and the story expands to show her years of activism as she fights to protect chimpanzees and their habitat. This critically acclaimed book will make a great addition to your kid’s bookshelf.

Documentaries

Within a couple of hours, these documentaries can change the way your family sees the world.

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Our Planet (2019) —The  Our Planet docuseries, narrated by David Attenborough illustrates the gorgeous natural landscapes the planet has to offer while examining the effects of climate change on animal and plant life.

Blue Planet II (2017) Blue Planet II is another documentary series by David Attenborough that revolves around the earth’s seas. The importance of water bodies —from coral seas to deep seas—is on full display here.

My Octopus Teacher (2020)— This unique documentary tells the story of a filmmaker and diver who grows attached to an octopus that lives in the South African kelp forest.

Other Documentaries

  • Planet Earth (2006)
  • Planet Earth II (2016)
  • David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive (2014)
  • The Truth About Climate Change (2006)

Conclusion

Call Emmy will help you find the time for hiking, gardening and any other family activity you want to indulge in this Earth Day, month or year. Let us take care of your home needs with our in-home laundry, house cleaning, and home organization services. Our sitter service is also available whenever you need it. Click here to book a service and ease your mind on Earth Day.

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