Trying to figure out how to celebrate Earth Day with kids this year? Find out my favorite (and incredibly easy) Earth Day activities for kids.
This post about easy Earth Day activities for kids was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, Earth Day is kind of a big deal. I remember celebrating it even when I was a kindergartner.
We’re known for trying to recycle as much as we can (even to the point of sorting out all paper goods), and it’s just part of Seattle culture.
So, when Earth Day rolls around every April 22, I know there will be tons of Earth Day events and activities in our community.
However, I know a lot of families are looking for easy Earth Day activities for kids they can do at home.
So, I jotted down a few kid-friendly Earth Day ideas that are simple to pull off and will help you take care of our environment.
17 Earth Day Activities for Kids Worth Trying
I’ve come up with a list of Earth Day games and activities that will help parents teach kids about how to better take care of our planet. It’s a great way to bring up environmental awareness.
Plastic Bottle Hot Potato
Take an empty plastic bottle that you have lying around your house and briefly explain why plastic is harmful to the environment.
Look at the number on the bottom of the bottle to find out if it’s actually recyclable (a lot of them aren’t.) But, it’s a great opportunity to talk about how you can reuse items that aren’t recyclable.
Have children form a circle and play a game of hot potato. Use the plastic bottle as the item to toss around during the game.
Earth Day Puzzle
Before Earth Day, either make a large puzzle of the planet Earth or buy this one on Amazon.
For an Earth Day game, hide all of the pieces of the puzzle and then let kids find them. (Just be sure to remember where you’ve hidden them!)
Once all of the pieces are found, the children can work as a group to put the puzzle together.
From there, you can either talk about the different continents, countries, or even the animals that live in different parts of the world.
Plant a Garden
What’s awesome about Earth Day being in April is that it’s usually the perfect time of year to plant a garden.
Depending on how extensive of a garden you want to create, you can either do raised garden beds, a garden box, or even just a pot with one plant.
Have your kids be in charge of weeding and watering the plants. You can even have them check the growth progress or research gardening tips.
And if you really want to make it easy on yourself, pick out plant starts from your local nursery.
This is what we’re doing this year and I even found cute kids’ gardening tools. Check the latest prices and more information.
Earth Day Word Search
Create an Earth Day word search for kids that has words your child will recognize.
Have all of the words represent something to do with the environment and the planet. Words can be about life in the rainforests, recycling, and conservation, depending on your child’s age.
There are many online sites that allow users to create free word search puzzles using their own words.
After you’re done, recycle your paper.
One of the ways to get kids to care about the environment is to teach them about animals.
The more they learn about wildlife, the more likely they are to think twice before littering or doing something to endanger them.
After you watch one together (Disney+ has a lot of awesome options) quiz your kids on the things they have learned.
You can even print off coloring sheets about the animals or download Kindle books about the animals in the documentary.
Earth Day Bingo
Another game that is fun for kids is bingo. Create bingo cards that feature animals, birds, and insects that live in the rainforests.
This is a great opportunity to talk to younger children about how important conservation efforts are to save all of the endangered animals who live there.
It’s a fun way to introduce the concept of Earth Day to little kids in a way that makes sense to them.
Beach Clean Up
If you live near the coast, chances are there are organized beach clean up events that happen throughout the year.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own.
People tend to leave all kinds of garbage on local beaches (and now we have the added element of disposable masks everywhere.)
Grab a pair of gloves and some trash bags and see who can fill their bags the fastest.
Another educational game that’s also lots of fun is a classroom clue game.
Children will follow clues around the classroom (or your house), and each time they find the next clue, they learn something to do to help the environment.
For example, the first clue can read “A real turn off.” This could refer to the light switch in the room.
Once the kids get to the light switch, you’ll have a small note taped up reminding kids to always turn out the lights when they leave a room.
There will also be their next clue. It could read “Where a messy Sesame Street character lives.” The kids would now have to figure out that the messy character is Oscar the Grouch and remember that he lives in a trash can.
Once the kids get to the garbage can, another clue can be waiting along with the reminder note to always pick up the garbage and put it in trash containers.
Simply look around your room/house to get ideas for more clues and notes.
Another kid-friendly Earth Day game is to take a stuffed animal, preferably an animal that would live in a rainforest or jungle, and hide it outside.
Explain to your kids that the animal is hiding because it’s afraid of illegal hunters. Use your judgment on how detailed you want to be about poachers.
Inform the children that they are all now junior conservationists and must find and save the animal before the hunters find it.
If you have kids that love shopping, plan a trip to your local thrift store.
Upcycling is super trendy and you can watch videos before your trip to give your kids ideas on how they can create their own unique items by re-using things they find.
You can do this with clothing, artwork, fixing up old toys, buying used books, finding craft supplies, etc.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
A nature scavenger hunt is a fun way to celebrate Earth Day with kids while also teaching them about the environment and the natural world.
Pick a park or natural area that has a variety of plants, animals, and other natural features that can be included in the scavenger hunt. Make sure it is a safe and suitable location for kids to explore.
Make a list of items that the kids will need to find during the scavenger hunt. Include items like rocks, leaves, flowers, birds, insects, and other natural features that can be found in the location.
Give each child a bag or container to collect the items they find during the scavenger hunt. You can also provide magnifying glasses, field guides, or other materials to help them identify and learn about the items they find.
Before starting the scavenger hunt, explain the rules to the kids. Make sure they understand what they need to find and how to collect the items without harming the environment.
Send the kids off to search for the items on the list. Encourage them to work together and share their findings with each other.
After the scavenger hunt is over, gather the kids together to discuss what they found and what they learned. This is a great opportunity to talk about the importance of the items they collected and how they contribute to the health of the environment.
By following these steps, you can organize a fun and educational nature scavenger hunt for Earth Day that will engage kids and help them learn about the natural world.
Make Recycled Art
Encourage kids to get creative by making art using recycled materials, such as bottle caps, cardboard, and newspaper.
Using recycled materials to make Earth Day crafts is a great way to teach kids about the importance of recycling and reducing waste. Plus you can repurpose common household items.
This is such a fun idea for young kids or older kids! You could even combine it with a nature walk or have the kids source items from a recycling bin.
Learn About Renewable Energy
Teach kids about renewable energy sources like solar and wind power and have them build a model solar or wind-powered car or toy.
Games are another fun and effective way to teach kids about renewable energy. You can create a board game that involves building a renewable energy grid or play a game that simulates the effects of climate change.
Another option is to take a field trip. Visiting a renewable energy facility, such as a solar farm or wind turbine, can be a great way to teach kids about renewable energy in a real-world setting. They can see how renewable energy works and learn about the benefits it provides.
Just remember that when teaching your kids about renewable energy, use language and concepts that are appropriate for their age and understanding. Keep it simple and engaging, using hands-on activities and visual aids to help them learn.
DIY Bird Feeders
Kids can learn about the importance of birds in the ecosystem and create their own bird feeders using recycled materials. It’s one of the most popular Earth Day projects.
Making a bird feeder is a fun way to attract birds to your yard and teach kids about the importance of wildlife conservation.
You can use items like pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed to create a simple bird feeder that your feathered friends will love.
Encourage kids to explore nature and document their observations and experiences in a nature journal.
Pick a natural area that you want to explore and observe. It can be a park, forest, beach, or any other outdoor space that interests you.
Bring a journal or notebook to record your observations and any materials you need to create your journal entries. This may include pens, pencils, watercolors, or other art supplies.
Take some time to observe the natural surroundings and record what you see. This may include writing descriptions, drawing sketches, or taking photographs.
Engage your senses by paying attention to what you hear, smell, touch, and see. Record these observations in your journal to create a sensory record of your experience.
Share your nature journal with others to inspire them to connect with nature and celebrate Earth Day. You can share your journal entries on social media or with friends and family.
Teach kids about sustainable food practices by cooking a meal using locally sourced, organic ingredients. This is one of the most fun Earth day activities for the whole family.
Look for ingredients that are grown locally to reduce transportation emissions and support local farmers. This can also help you discover new and interesting foods.
Organic ingredients are grown without harmful pesticides and fertilizers, which can harm the environment. Look for organic produce, meats, and dairy products.
Instead of using disposable utensils, plates, and cups, use reusable cooking tools like stainless steel or bamboo utensils, reusable silicone baking mats, and glass containers for food storage.
Choose energy-efficient appliances like induction cooktops or convection ovens to reduce your energy consumption and save money on your energy bill.
Plan your meals in advance to reduce food waste, use leftover ingredients in new recipes, and compost food scraps instead of throwing them away.
Plant-based meals have a lower carbon footprint than meals that include meat and dairy products. Try vegetarian or vegan recipes that are tasty and nutritious.
Use cooking methods that are sustainable and use less energy, such as steaming or stir-frying, instead of boiling or deep-frying.
By incorporating these eco-friendly cooking ideas into your daily routine, you can make a positive impact on the environment and celebrate Mother Earth in a meaningful way.
Create a Compost Bin
Creating a compost bin is a fun and educational way to teach kids about the importance of composting and reducing food waste.
You can start by collecting food scraps and other organic materials and adding them to a bin or container. Yes they will get their hands dirty!
Here are some things you can include in a compost bin:
Fruit and vegetable scraps
These are some of the best materials to include in a compost bin, as they are rich in nutrients and break down quickly.
Coffee grounds and tea bags
These are also great additions to a compost bin and can add nitrogen to the compost.
Crushed eggshells can provide calcium to the compost and help regulate the pH level.
Leaves and grass clippings
These are a good source of carbon for the compost and help balance the nitrogen from food scraps.
Shredded paper, paper towels, and cardboard can add carbon to the compost and help aerate the mixture.
You can add small twigs, branches, and other yard waste to the compost bin, as long as they are broken down into small pieces.
Nutshells can take longer to break down, but they can be added to a compost bin as long as they are crushed or broken into small pieces.
Things you should not include in a compost bin:
- Meat, fish, and dairy products: These can attract pests and produce odors.
- Fats, oils, and grease: These can also attract pests and create unpleasant odors.
- Pet waste: Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can contaminate the compost.
- Diseased plants: Plants that are diseased can spread diseases to other plants through the compost.
By following these guidelines, you can create a healthy and productive compost bin that will provide nutrient-rich soil for your garden.
Earth Day FAQs
Earth day was launched in 1970 as a way to raise awareness about protecting our planet for people and wildlife. It’s a holiday that is celebrated across the globe, especially in schools.
Each year, Earth Day focuses on a specific theme. This year, the theme is “Invest in Our Planet.” It’s focused on engaging governments, institutions, businesses, and the more than 1 billion citizens who participate annually in Earth Day to do their part. Basically, everyone is accountable.
There are tons of ways people of all ages and abilities can celebrate Earth Day. You can spend the day recycling, thrifting, doing an outdoor adventure, planting a garden, doing a beach cleanup, or so many other ideas.
Here are five things you can do to celebrate Earth Day: plant a tree, reduce your waste, conserve water, support sustainable agriculture, and get involved in environmental advocacy.
Earth Day is a great opportunity to teach kids about the importance of environmental protection and encourage them to become good stewards of planet Earth. A few specifics to talk about include the history of Earth Day, environmental issues, recycling and waste reduction, conserving resources, sustainable living, and getting involved.
Earth Day Craft and Activity Wrap Up
Games and activities are a fun way for children to celebrate Earth Day. Not only can they learn the importance of issues like recycling and conservation, but they also get to have fun while learning.
Of course, these are just a few Earth Day activities for kids to try this year. There are endless possibilities for fun earth day activities for the whole family!