Earth Day is my absolute favorite holiday. I mean, what’s not to love? Earth Day a holiday dedicated to celebrating this amazing planet we call home. It costs exactly zero dollars to celebrate Earth Day and you can use this day as an opportunity to play outside.
I also believe that Earth Day is every day and as a tree-hugging, earth-loving, eco-activist mama, I want to teach my kids that Earth Day is everyday, too.
The effects of climate change will impact my children and their children even more than it has impacted me, so I want to be sure that they know how essential it is to protect and care for this planet. I also want them to grow up knowing that their actions matter.
Here are a few easy ways you can make it Earth Day everyday with your kids:
Neighborhood Trash and Recycling Pick-Up
I’ve been doing this for years with my kids and they love it. Just grab a reusable bag or 2 (or biodegradable trash bags like these) and take a walk through your neighborhood looking for trash. You can also do this at your local playground, school, park, bike path, beach, or anywhere else you frequently go with your kids and see trash lying around.
We do separate the recycling out from the trash so what can be recycled goes in our recycling bin instead of the landfill. And also if you feel a little grossed out by picking up trash or recycling, get some kitchen or garden gloves and wear those while you pick.
You can use this as an opportunity to share why it’s important to use reusable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles, since those are the items I see most often littering the ground on your walk.
Bonus: It’s also a great way to get outside and get your kids walking more, if they’re sometimes a bit resistant.
Walk or Bike Instead of Drive to the Playground
Our local playground is about ½ a mile away. When we first moved here, I always wanted to walk but sometimes it felt like too much and it was just “easier” to pile them in the car and drive, especially in colder weather. Thing is, door-to-door, it was about the same amount of time.
So now we walk if we’re going to the closest playground. There are ones further away that we like too, so if we’re going there, I try to coordinate it with another car-necessary trip nearby.
You can also explain to them why it’s important to walk instead of drive (healthier for their bodies and healthier for the air we breathe are 2 biggies), to connect this action to “Earth Day everyday.”
Bonus: walking to and from the playground wears them out a little more and makes it easier for them to fall asleep. Yay!
Electricity-free Evenings Once-a-Week
I do this on the Winter Solstice with my family, but I’m going to start doing this with my kids once a month and eventually, once a week.
It’s a great way to teach them about the value and privilege of electricity, as well as a great way to talk about conservation.
Bonus: using a bunch of candles for light when they’re brushing their teeth makes it extra fun.
Grow Some Edible Plants, Indoors
This is a big goal of mine, personally. I have lots of houseplants, which my kids help me with when they need watering or repotting. Growing edibles is a whole other ballgame.
I think it’s a valuable one, though because it’s an action that can connect them to practice of growing their own food, which is something many people young and older tend to be disconnected from.
I’m also suggesting inside because not everyone has the space outside, but most of us have a sunny window that might work well for a few herbs, like basil or mint or oregano.
Bonus: this is a great opportunity for a food-related science project like sprouting from an avocado pit or the bottom of celery. Both are super easy to do and have reasonable quick results for a young scientist!
Bring them to your Local Farmer’s Market
This is a great one for 2 reasons. First, you get to support local farmers. Second, your kids are a lot more likely to try foods they might not otherwise try if they see them out at eye level.
It’s also a great “Earth Day everyday” opportunity to talk about where food comes from, and the importance of eating seasonally, as well as locally.
Watch Movies, TV Shows, or Read Books that Have an Earth-Friendly Message
Everyone knows the Lorax by Dr. Seuss. It’s an incredible book (and movie) with a powerful message. There are lots of other wonderful books, TV shows, and movies that can inspire powerful conversations with our kids about the importance of taking care of this planet and the animals, plants, and people who call it home.
A few great earth-friendly books are: Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, Princesses Save the World by Savannah Guthrie and Amanda Oppenheim, The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, and Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals.
Some wonderful earth-friendly TV shows are: Wild Kratts, Octonauts, Magic Schoolbus, and Captain Planet
A few fantastic earth-friendly movies are: Moana, Ferngully, Wall-E, Rio, Chicken Run, and Whale Rider
Bonus: All of these are great books, tv shows, and movies that you as an adult can enjoy, too.
Pack Their Lunches with Reusables
Packing a lunch for school can result in a lot of waste, from the sandwich bags to juice boxes to individually packaged treats to disposable cutlery. Eliminate all of this by finding some good earth-friendly, reusable packaging for sandwiches, snacks, and juice, as well as reusable, earth-friendly cutlery.
There are lots of great companies out there making great reusable options for all of these that fit easily into lunch boxes.
Bonus: This is a great way to teach your kids about reducing waste and keeping track of their own things (a super important lesson in life).
These are some of my favorite ways to celebrate Earth Day everyday with my kids. What are some of yours? Leave a comment below so we can inspire one another to make this world a better, more beautiful place for our children and their children and their children, too.