Ten Activities to Celebrate the Earth

Laure Latham
April 22, 2014

Since its creation in 1970, Earth Day has become an incredible incentive to take action and do something for our planet. It's so popular it's part of our kids' lives as much as any major holiday. Each year, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, but to make the most of it, jumpstart Earth Day or extend it into Earth Year. Check out these ten activities you can do as a family and live green. In no particular order, here goes:

  1. Pledge an Act of Green. An Act of Green can be anything from unplugging an electronic toy to recycling at home or planting a tree at school. Let your child decide what they want to pledge and let them take the pledge on the Earth Day Network. You can then share your family's acts of green on your social networks and encourage friends to do the same. It's easy, it's fast and it's free - and it will inspire others to help our planet.
  2. Build your own recycled musical instruments. How creative can kids get with repurposed materials? By using things you already have at home, kids can go crazy hands-on and build their own musical instruments. With beans and tape, a plastic juice bottle can become rhythmic maracas. With an oatmeal box and chopsticks, kids can make a drum. With everyday water or wine glasses, here comes the water xylophone! For this activity, all kids need to do is fill eight identical glasses with various levels of water. Drop food coloring in each glass for rainbow fun and have your kids run a wet finger around the rims - or use small glass bottles instead of glasses and tap the sides with a wooden spoon.
  3. DIY non-toxic cleaning products. Think of it as a cooking activity minus the food part. By making your own home cleaners, not only will you save lots of money but you will avoid all the nasty chemicals used in conventional store cleaning products. Try any of these recipes with your kids and vote on your favorite.
  4. Visit your local farmers market. Eating local is one of the best ways to cut on the carbon footprint of your meals. Tell your kids you are going on an adventure and each time you visit the farmers market, try to taste something new. It's addictive, you'll see!
  5. Save the bees and plant sunflower seeds. On April 21 and 22, visit any Pottery Barn Kids store and kids will receive a free packet of sunflower seeds from Pottery Barn and National Geographic. Plants the seeds, save the bees and be happy! You can locate a Pottery Barn store here.
  6. Get a free re-usable bag. Forget about plastic bags, get a sturdy shopping bag and re-use it! On Sunday, April 22, two big chains will be giving away free sturdy bags so mark the date. Disney stores will give away a free reusable shopping bag when you bring 5 plastic shopping bags to any Disney Store to be recycled, and Target stores be giving away one bag per guest, near the Guest Service desk in stores. Get one before they're gone!
  7. Visit a national park near you. Ready to roam vast open spaces, see cute critters in nature and stargaze at night? During National Park Week, April 21-29, all 397 national parks offer free admission, all week long!
  8. Go plastic free. Think it's impossible to live without plastic? Environmental advocate Beth Terry authored a Plastic Free Guide with tons of great ideas about living without plastic. You can even get kids to think about plastic-free lunch boxes at school.
  9. Have fun with repurposed materials crafts. Compiled by creative daddy blogger Made by Joel, this list of Earth Day crafts for kids will inspire you to have fun with everyday items at home. Let's hear it for the cereal box marble run!
  10. Build a solar cooker. The simplest solar oven consists of little more than cardboard boxes, glue and foil. Follow these simple building instructions so your junior scientists can build a solar cooker at home and start channeling the sun's power to cook their own desserts without electricity.

Have fun on Earth Day!

Laure Latham is the author of The Best Hikes with Kids: San Francisco Bay Area. Laure grew up in New Caledonia, a remote island in the South Pacific between Australia and Tahiti. Along with her spirited brothers, she spent her childhood years playing in bushes, building forts, climbing trees, fixing kites, and snorkeling around coral reefs. Then one day she really had to grow up. After a stint as a tax attorney in France, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about the outdoors and travels with her two young daughters and husband. A complete chocoholic and tea-addict, she needs her daily fix to breeze through the day, luxuries she always packs along in her backpack for her hikes.

You can read more about her on her blog Frog Mom. 

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