Earth Day: How to Get Your Kids Involved

This year Earth Day is all about educating people on climate change and the effect it is having on people all around the world. It goes way beyond that, however, as this Earth Day strives to highlight the exceptional acts being taken by people, like you and me, to combat climate change and do what they can to make a difference.

While many times people consider such efforts to be spearheaded by large groups, non-profit organizations and adults, it is important that we remember to involve our kids in our Earth Day, and other sustainable, efforts as well. Trust me, there is nothing to gain by not including your kids. Most kids are eager to learn, eager to help and eager to do what they can to protect the earth around them.

Here are some simple activities you can do with your kids to help get them involved in Earth Day and spark their interest in making a change:

1) First and foremost, go to the Earth Day Network to educate yourself, and your kids, on what Earth Day is all about and the purpose it serves.

2) Educate your kids on the truth about plastic bags to help them understand the damage plastic bags can cause on land and at sea, then teach them how to reduce plastic bag waste. This lesson plan can be used to help you do that. You can also participate in a local beach or park cleanup to help get rid of plastic waste.

3) Read books to your kids, or have them read books, about the environment and/or what can be done to protect the environment. A few of my personal favorites are The Lorax by Dr. Suess, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, and Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.

Of course one of my favorite Dr. Suess quotes is from The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

4) Teach your kids about what items can and should be recycled. Then you can have them help you set up a recycling container in your home so that they too can recycle bottles, cans, newspapers and other materials that should never end up in landfills. Here are some specifics from about what can and cannot be recycled.

5) Discuss different forms of transportation with your kids, and discuss how these each of these can either hurt and/or help the environment around them. Have them tell you what they consider to be the most environmentally-friendly form of transportation. Then work out how you, and your family, can lessen your impact by making changes in how you get around.

6) Have your kids pick an herb, vegetable or fruit they would like to grow and then work with them to help set up their own little garden. This can be done indoors or outdoors. By letting your kids choose what they want to plant, and educating them on how to care for their garden, you will find they will enjoy growing their own fresh, organic foods. Who knows, it may even help them eat better too! Here are 10 tips for organic gardening with children and a little more information about how to turn digging in the dirt into a lifetime of love and respect for nature.

7) Last, but not least, you and your kids can each commit to doing something to protect the earth. As part of Earth Day efforts more than a billion acts of green have already been pledged or completed. By everyone doing just one act of green, that number can be over two billion in no time!

Happy Earth Day image by LollyKnit, beach plastic image by Jason Karn, and garden image by Robin Pokorski are all via Flickr Creative Commons.

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