In honor of Earth Day we put together a collection of fun and eco-friendly activities you can do with kids. Whether it’s making art out of trash, thinking up creative uses for the paper that normally gets tossed in the recycling bin, or reimagining the plastic water bottle, we’ve got great activities for you.
This is a recent activity we’ve started doing at HEART. Educator Kim Korona looked at all the perfectly usable paper that goes into recycling bins each day and decided to repurpose it to create eco-journals, a fun and functional activity for kids and adults alike.
Recycled Self-Watering Herb Garden
Moomah Magazine, a great friend of HEART’s, shows you how with just a few simple items you’ll be able to make your very own self watering herb garden made from recycled plastic! (For a boatload of recycled crafts, check out Moomah’s Pinterest page. They have a fabulous selection.)
Recycled Bird Feeders
Here at HEART we’ve made two kinds of bird feeders with kids. The first made using pine cones, peanut butter and bird seed, and the second made from a recycled beverage carton. Both are great options to teach kids about reusing and helping out local wildlife.
Decorate a Reusable Bag
Want to get a kid excited about ditching disposable plastic bags and remembering to grab a reusable bag? Have them decorate their own. We’ve been doing this particular activity with kids for years, giving them their own fair trade organic cotton bag, fabric markers and stencils and allowing them to decorate their own reusable bag.
Make a Reusable Bag Out of an Old T-Shirt
For older kids, this is a fantastic way to recycle old t-shirts. The folks at Ecouterre have instructions on how to turn that old tee into a vegetable bag. This one does require some sewing.
Make Postcards Out of Upcycled Cereal Boxes
Most of us regularly recycle cereal boxes, pasta boxes, and cookie or cracker boxes. Instead of tossing them straight into the recycling bin, you can repurpose them using the creative instructions brought to you by the site Yesterday on Tuesday.
Make Educational Displays Out of Recycled Objects
Recently at HEART, our kids created educational displays showing how plastic impacts our oceans. All you need is a poster (or use a large piece of cardboard to make the project even more eco-friendly), draw an outline of a sea creature like a sea turtle, and have the kids fill in the outline with pieces of plastic that could end up in the ocean such as bottle caps. Then, have the kids write down information about how we can keep our oceans and the animals who live there safe by recycling, reusing and reducing.
Make Art Out of Trash
Don’t want to limit your kid’s creativity? Gather together a whole bunch of different types of trash (especially anything colorful) and hand them some glue and tape and let their imagination run wild. Perhaps to focus them, tell them that the theme is animals or the earth and see what they come up with. When we’ve done this activity in the past, some pretty incredible pieces were created.
Get Outside and Clean Up!
Want to get outdoors on Earth Day? Nothing says “We care about the planet” like putting on some gloves, grabbing a bag and picking up trash. Teaching our kids to take direct action is so important. The earth is everyone’s responsibility. Why not dedicate the day to helping to keep her clean so that all the world’s plants and animals can live healthy and happy lives. You can do it on your own or search online to see if there is one organized in your area. Or, gather up a group of friends with kids and do it as a group.
Plant Some Seeds
If you have a yard, you might consider planting a tree. If you live in an apartment, maybe some herbs. No matter where you live, teaching kids to plant seeds is a fun activity for everyone. If you want to plant something outside, consider a plant native to your area and one that benefits other animals. (You can look up the types of flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators.) If you plant seeds for food, make sure to talk to your child about why buying or growing local is great for the planet.
There is no shortage of great eco-friendly activities to do on Earth Day. In fact, there are so many, you might just need to extend Earth Day so it’s celebrated all year long. After all, the earth takes care of us every day. We can certainly return the favor and teach our children at the same time.