1. Read Poetry, Then Write Some Poems Together
The best poet to read for some literary Earth Day fun is Mary Oliver. She, better than any writer of our generation, understood the value of and the inherent potential waiting for us in nature. Her poetry sings about the simple pleasures of hearing birds attempt to outdo each other’s vocal performances, about the crunch of a twig underfoot, and about what it feels like to be outdoors.
Her books about nature are subtle and nuanced, and work to remind the reader that while natural sights like the Grand Canyon and Redwood forests can awe us with grandeur and their impressive scale, it's often the everyday beauty that surrounds us that makes the most meaningful impact. And in turn, it is we who can make a positive impact on nature every single day. Read some Mary Oliver and then, together with your kids, observe as she once did, the world around you and write about what you see and hear and smell.
2. Look Inside Your Kitchen
One of the purposes of Earth Day is to not only celebrate Mother Nature and Planet Earth but to also take a moment to look at the ways in which we live and consider the choices we are making every day. The reality is that some of them are likely harmful to the environment. When it comes to Earth Day hands-on activities, throw open the pantry doors and look inside the fridge.
See how much single-use plastic is inside and how many products you buy contain non-sustainable palm oil that causes deforestation at alarming rates. These simple Earth Day activities may not be as fun as finger painting but when you and your kids see how you can easily be better stewards of the planet through the decisions you make at the store, it might just be one of the best Earth Day activities you’ll do this year.
3. Plastic Ladybug Lids
Between all the iced tea and apple juice bottles, and the gallon milk jugs, you’ve probably got a recycling bin full of plastic bottles. And there are likely a few plastic lids (that usually can’t be recycled anyway but still end up in the bin) in there too. Unscrew them, clean them, and use those plastic lids to make adorable ladybugs in one of the easy earth day activities you can do without spending a dime (assuming you have a few arts & crafts basics at home). With just some glue, google eyes, and black paint (or marker), this is one of the Earth Day activity ideas that might not save the planet but will be fun and help make a meaningful connection between your child and the natural world.
4. Dry Flowers and Frame Them
Wildflowers are beautiful in nature but even more so when clipped and dried, pressed and framed. There’s also something mildly magical about bringing the outside world in, and having it closer to you while at home. As you think about what activities can you do for earth day, a quick tutorial on how to dry, press and frame wildflowers will yield the most colorful results. This is one of the Earth Day activities for children that is hands-on and gorgeous long after Earth Day gives way to Mother’s Day activities and summertime.
5. Make DIY Slime
Simply put, kids love slime! Whether your toddler just likes the feel of it or the colors, or if your teen is using slime as a soothing technique to manage stress at school, their anxiety, and overall mental health, slime is a great toy and fidget.
But buying slime can be expensive. This Earth Day, make your own DIY slime together with your kids! Using some water, borax, glue, and glitter, you can quickly and easily create DIY slime at home. This is one of the Earth Day activities for kindergarteners that will make their Earth Day (and let’s be honest, their entire spring) incredibly joyful.
Within a few online searches, you’ll likely be able to find environmental and conservation volunteer opportunities for you and your children. From cleaning up streams and parks to planting trees, Mother Nature is always in need of a helping hand.
These are all great Earth Day activities for kids but remember that one-off volunteerism can put extra stress on organizations out there 365 days a year doing the work to keep our communities clean and green. Consider making a longer-term commitment this year, to demonstrate to your kids that while the calendar calls April 22, 2023, Earth Day, you know that the environment, your local parks, waterways, and community gardens matter every single day.
Also check out these outdoor activities that support female empowerment this Earth Day!