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.
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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, things have been a little bit different over the past year and 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.
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 all about restoring our Earth as we are just starting to recover from the effects of the world-wide pandemic. We’ve seen a lot of changes this year, especially as people stayed home more.
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, plant a garden, do a beach clean up, or so many other ideas.
10 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.
1. 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 re-use 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 the 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.
4. 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.
5. Nature Documentaries
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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Clue Game
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.
9. Junior Conservationists
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 judgement 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.
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. The possibilities are endless!