9 Earth Day Activities for Kids

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Two People Working on Earth Day Activities for Kids

Every year on April 22, Earth Day offers a dedicated occasion to show support for environmental protection. Are you looking for ways for your family to join in the fun and give back to the earth? Read on for easy Earth Day activities you can do with your students.

What Is Earth Day?

The history of Earth Day stems back to 1970, when 20 million Americans were inspired to demonstrate against the environmental impacts of 150 years of industrial development. Thousands of universities organized protests against the deterioration of the earth from oil spills, pollution, the loss of wilderness, and more, according to earthday.org.

Later in 1990, Earth Day went global with a campaign to drive recycling efforts around the world. Today, Earth Day is widely known as a day of action to promote change in both human behavior and policies for a cleaner world. 

9 Earth Day Activities for Kids

1. Start a Small Garden

Gardening is one of the most rewarding hands-on Earth Day activities for students. Let your kids get involved in selecting, planting, and caring for their plants along the way. Your garden could be anything from a row of vegetables to a few pots of flowers on your front porch or herbs in your kitchen.

2. Plant a Tree

If you’re looking for Earth Day activities for elementary school, consider planting a tree. Trees help remove CO2 from the air, provide a habitat for wildlife, and so much more. And if you can’t plant your own, you can donate to one of the many national or local organizations working to prevent deforestation.

A Learning Coach and online student participating in Earth Day activities for elementary school.

3. Take a Virtual Visit to a National Park

You don’t have to travel to see the beauty of the United States National Parks. Each National Park has its own website where you can look at photos and watch videos of awe-inspiring views and amazing wildlife in a virtual field trip. Appreciate the beauty of the thermal waters in Hot Springs National Park, see the deepest lake in the country at Crater Lake National Park, or choose another adventure from nationalparks.org. Try including this as one of your Earth Day activities for middle school kids.

4. Measure Your Ecological Footprint

If you’re looking for Earth Day activities for high school students, the older kids may enjoy calculating their own ecological footprint. Start by having them reflect on your family’s habits and take the Footprint Calculator Quiz from Global Footprint Network. Talk about each question and brainstorm a few easy actions you can take to lower your footprint.

5. Take on a Recycling Project

Start a conversation about the importance of recycling, what items are recyclable, and how your students can help. You can learn more from the United States Environmental Protection Agency on recyclable materials and how to recycle them correctly. Instilling the value of recycling for kids can go a long way in the years to come.

6. Clean Up at a Local Park

Parks can be high-traffic areas, which means it’s a place where you’re likely to find more trash. Picking up litter can make a huge difference and will encourage others to take care of their local spaces as well. Remember to wear gloves to protect your hands and to safely dispose of debris in trash bags. And don’t forget to recycle any bottles or cans you may find! Contact your local trash company to schedule a pickup when you’re done collecting.

7. Make it an Outdoor Learning Day

Combine several Earth Day activities for kids and create an entire day of outdoor learning. Your students will be excited to have a full day dedicated to celebrating the earth, being outside the classroom, and soaking up some sun.

Learn more: “4 Benefits of Outdoor Learning and Practical Ways to Get Started

8. Try an Oil Spill Experiment

One of the reasons Earth Day originated was to protest against oil spills that were contaminating sea water and damaging marine wildlife. The Oil Spill Experiment helps kids visualize the effects of an oil spill while also educating on why oil and water don’t mix and why oil floats on top of water. Try it with these step-by-step instructions from Science Sparks.

9. Play Outside

Celebrating our world can be as simple as spending a few extra minutes enjoying the outdoors. Go on a hike, walk, or bike ride as a family. Check out a new park in your area. Spend time listening to or observing nature in your backyard. The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of getting outside make taking care of our planet worth it.

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