Are you looking for some fun ways to celebrate Earth Day? There are lots of simple ideas in this list of twenty Earth Day activities for kids.
What is Earth Day about?
Earth Day started in the USA in 1970. The event is all about taking time to focus on our planet and what we can do to take care of it.
Earth Day is the perfect prompt to encourage kids to think about the environment, nature, and how they can make a difference to the health of our world.
You can find out more about Earth Day at www.earthday.org
When is Earth Day celebrated?
Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd around the world every year.
Brilliant Earth Day activities for kids
Here are some great World Earth Day activities for kids to help you celebrate our amazing planet. Make sure you check out some inspiring Earth Day quotes too.
You will also find lots of fantastic nature-themed activities for kids in my book *A Year of Nature Craft & Play. There are nature crafts, science experiments, gardening projects, games and art activities to explore, all designed to help children learn about and celebrate our planet and the world around them.
1. Watch the sunrise
Yes, you will need to get up early for this one, but it’s worth it!
Watching the sun rise is a wonderfully inspiring experience, and a great way to set the scene for a day of appreciating our planet. You can make it fun by having a breakfast picnic and wrapping up warm with blankets.
2. Make a journey stick on a nature walk
If you haven’t come across journey sticks before, they’re a lovely way to record a nature walk by collecting fallen nature treasures that you find along the way.
All you need is a stick and some string, or a strip of cardboard with double sided sticky tape attached. My journey stick blog post explains the history behind journey sticks (they’ve been around for a very long time), and gives you lots of ideas you can explore with children while creating your journey sticks.
3. Plant wildflowers
Wildflowers are so easy to grow, and they’re absolutely amazing when it comes to providing your local wildlife with a source of food and shelter.
You could plant wildflower seeds in your garden borders or grow them in a container; my post on growing wildflowers shows you how to do it.
Another fun Earth Day activity for kids is to use wildflower seeds to make seed bombs, then use them to green up a neglected area of public land – or just your own garden. This is one of the 52 activities in my book *A Year of Nature Craft & Play.
4. Organise a litter pick
This is an easy way to show kids that even the smallest actions can make a big difference.
It doesn’t have to be a major project; it can be as simple as meeting some friends in the park for a picnic, then spending ten minutes litter picking.
5. Cloud watching
Once you start looking at clouds, you realise there are so many different shapes and sizes. As well as being very relaxing, cloud watching is also a nice way to prompt storytelling and foster a sense of our place in the world.
Kids might also like to try and identify the different types of clouds they can see using a cloud ID chart.
6. Make your garden more bee friendly
Bees need our help. Many species are in dramatic decline due to climate change, chemical use in farming, and loss of habitat.
The good news is there are lots of things you can do in your own garden or outdoor space to help bees thrive. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Plant some bee-friendly flowers such as lavender, cosmos, buddleja and honeysuckle.
- Let an area of the grass grow longer to provide more shelter and sources of pollen.
- Fill a shallow dish with water to give bees a drink.
- Install a bee hotel to provide solitary bees with a place to stay. You can have fun making your own bee hotel.
7. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
A really simple way to celebrate Earth Day with kids is to head out on a nature scavenger hunt.
You could make your own list of things to spot, or find one online and print it out before you start.
When kids spot something on their list, encourage them to think about why it might be located in the particular place where they found it. This helps to introduce discussion around habitats and the best conditions for plants. You could also explore the senses by thinking about what you can see, touch, hear and smell – make sure you avoid tasting things though!
8. Upcycled plant pots
Recycling things that you already have at home is an easy way to be more eco-friendly and take care of our planet. Getting creative with some upcycled plant pots is also lots of fun!
You could use an old colander, a pair of wellies, tin cans, an old tyre, or a broken watering can. Whatever you decided to use for your container, just make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom to keep your plants happy.
9. Grow your own food
Growing our own food helps to reduce our carbon footprint, and it’s also ideal for teaching kids about where their food comes from and the importance of a healthy diet.
10. Make painted rocks
Earth Day crafts are another easy way to have an Earth Day celebration. Painted rocks are fun to make, and even more fun to hide in your local community for others to find and enjoy.
Use permanent markers, acrylic paint or paint pens to decorate your rocks, then once they’re dry you can head out to find the perfect place to hide them. Perhaps you could use an Earth Day theme for your designs?
11. Make a nature mandala
Making a nature mandala is a really versatile activity that can be done anywhere and with any natural materials you can find.
A mandala starts with an item in the middle, then grows outwards in a symmetrical circular pattern. It can be as simple or as detailed as you like, and is ideal for practicing mindfulness.
Making a mandala with natural materials is very eco-friendly, because all the items used will return to nature and not cause a litter problem.
12. Play some outdoor games
How about some old-fashioned outdoor games to celebrate Earth Day?
You could stick to the garden and make your own obstacle course, or head to the park with friends and play some team games. Tag, football, capture the flag, rounders, frisbee and dodgeball are all ideal for kids of pretty much any age.
13. Grow sunflowers
Sunflowers are lots of fun to grow from seed, and as well as producing amazing flowers they also provide food for local wildlife.
Spring is the best time to plant sunflower seeds, so why not celebrate Earth Day by growing some in the garden? You can plant sunflower seeds in pots, or straight into a garden border, and will have some show-stopping blooms in summer.
14. Make your own bird feeders
Wild birds are very busy making nests and raising their young at this time of year. You can help them out by making your own bird feeders to give them a high-energy treat.
My homemade bird feeders post has lots of ideas for making your feeders, plus some suggestions for ways to use them to help kids learn about wild birds.
15. Have a car-free day
What better day to ditch the car? Make a pledge to walk, cycle or scoot everywhere on Earth Day, and ask kids to think about ways you can all get in the habit of doing this more often.
16. Grow flowers for butterflies
Just like bees, butterflies are struggling due to loss of habitat. Give them a helping hand by adding some butterfly-friendly plants to your garden.
Buddleja, verbena bonariensis, wallflowers and wildflowers are all brilliant flowers for butterflies.
17. Camp out in the garden
This one is always a big hit with the kids. Setup the tent in the garden, and camp out overnight. Make sure you listen out for signs of local wildlife going about its business.
This is also a great activity to combine with watching the sun rise.
18. Make a bug hotel
This is another Earth Day craft that’s also a perfect upcycling project for kids. A bug hotel can be made from old bits of wood and filled with things like dried seed heads, pine cones, garden canes and corrugated cardboard.
By providing shelter for insects such as spiders, ladybirds and woodlice you will make your garden more wildlife-friendly – and I’ve got lots of other ways to do just that in my post on how to garden for wildlife.
19. Have a bake sale for an environmental charity
A good old bake sale is a fantastic Earth Day project to get kids organised and motivated.
You could make flyers and post them through the neighbours doors beforehand, then donate the profits to an environmental charity. This provides a good opportunity to talk to children about the role of charities in looking after our planet, and help them to understand the importance of working to benefit others as well as ourselves.
20. Have a go at forest bathing
A wonderful calm activity to finish off my list of Earth Day celebrations for kids.
Forest bathing is all about immersing yourself in a tree-filled environment. It can help us to relax, and encourage our bodies to produce more of the chemicals that make us feel happy.
Find a quiet spot in your local park or woodland, sit down, and breathe deeply. Ask kids to notice what they can see, hear, smell and touch. After a few minutes, you can all think about how you feel; it’s just as good for the adults as it is for the kids!
Even more Earth Day activities for kids
I hope you’ve found this list of Earth Day activities for kids inspiring, and are full of enthusiasm for celebrating Earth Day and appreciating our planet all year round.
Becky (co-author of *A year of Nature Craft & Play and *A Year of Nature Walks and Games) also has a blog post full of great kids activities for Earth Day and some lovely Earth Day slogans. You might like to check out these lists of walking games, spring quotes and quotes about children and nature too.
Happy Earth Day!
More nature play ideas
If you’d like to explore some more nature play activities and projects, I’ve got you covered.
My bucket lists of outdoor activities will keep kids busy in every season; there’s one for spring, summer, autumn and winter. You can download my free printable of fun ideas for exploring nature with children too.
I’ve got a whole series of family-friendly nature jokes to give everyone the giggles. Take your pick from flower jokes, plant jokes, bee jokes, bird jokes, tree jokes, garden jokes, fruit jokes and pumpkin jokes (this last one is great for Halloween).
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