Every year, Earth Day happens on April 22.
The day is a wonderful opportunity to teach our kids more about protecting planet Earth. We can teach them about the 3Rs — recycling, reducing, and reusing — as well as how plants grow, among so many other fun activities. Let’s throw a big celebration for Mother Earth!
To really get the full Earth Day impact, we need some hands-on things to do that gets kids interested in the world around them and learn how important their ability is to impact the future of the earth.
Learning About Earth Day
It is time to celebrate earth day again! For the past five decades (Earth Day begun in 1970), April 22nd has been a day dedicated to bringing awareness to environmental protection issues.
Our collective power: 1 billion individuals mobilized for the future of the planet. 75K+ partners working to drive positive action.EarthDay.org
Why Do We Celebrate Earth Day?
While the stats that surround Earth Day participation worldwide might be too much to fully understand, what we can help our children embrace is a day of celebration and action. Earth Day is one date on the calendar where the entire world population stops and thinks about the same thing…improving the planet we call home.
They may not understand about global warming, the need to recycle, and keep our world healthy and clean so we have put together a great list of resources and activities to help your child not only learn about Earth day, but to celebrate it as well!
Fun Earth Day Activities
There are so many different ways to celebrate Earth day! These are some of our favorite family fun Earth day activities that kids will love.
Visit National Parks Virtually
There are many reasons why you may not be able to visit a US National Park on Earth Day, but the good news is that without a road trip, we can still discover national parks.
Many parks are offer virtual visits!
Get a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon. Discover the fjords of Alaska. Or visit the active volcanoes of Hawaii.
Nearly all 62 national parks of the United States offer some sort of virtual tour.
Smithsonian Learning Lab
The Smithsonian Learning Lab has so many free resources available to teach your child about a ton of different amazing things.
Earth Day has its own special Smithsonian Learning Lab area that includes some incredible photography of the Earth from above. There are pictures, articles, news stories, and even great history lessons!
Organize a Neighborhood Safari
National Geographic has a fabulous idea:
- Learn about the world’s many animals through the Kids National Geographic Learning resources.
- Encourage your kids to draw or color pictures of animals.
- Hang those pictures in your window, and then go on a neighborhood safari!
Get your whole neighborhood in on this Earth Day hunt, by sharing the idea before Earth Day arrives!
On April 22, walk around your neighborhood and look for pictures of animals in people’s windows. Encourage your kids to point them out and name the animals.
Start a Seed Jar
Even if it isn’t time in your part of the planet to start a garden, that doesn’t mean we can’t teach our kids about how things grow!
Get your kids excited for their (future) garden by starting a seed jar. As Little Bins for Little Hands shares, this is a great experiment to show kids what seeds typically do underground before they sprout from the earth.
We also like these potato grow bags that have a “window” underground so kids can watch the plant grow including the roots.
Create a Play Garden
Whether you have a backyard or not, you can create a play or mud garden for your kids to dig into and explore.
As Gardening Know How shares, all your kids need is a small enclosed area, a little bit of dirt, and some tools for digging. A play garden of their own will encourage them to learn about planting things and, well, getting muddy!
No matter what type of garden – how big or how small – you decide to create, garden activities are really good for kids to learn year round!
We love magazines in my house. I love the different recipes and different home design ideas, while my husband is into health, and my kids love all things games and cartoons.
But a great way to help keep the world green is to go paperless! There are so many different reading apps that allow you to read your favorite magazines without wasting paper.
On Earth Day, enlist kids help to determine all the paper items you could do without and have them help you create alternatives for that information.
Oh! And when you have a stack of old magazines that you don’t need, check out our fun list of what to do with old magazines ideas!
Earth Day Reading List – Favorite Earth Day Books
Sometimes kids are a little too small to participate in a lot of Earth day activities and that is okay!
Because these fun Earth day books will still teach them the importance of Earth day while your toddler still be part of the fun!
More Earth Day Activities for Kids
There are so many things you can do this Earth day to teach your child how important it is to keep the environment clean and how wonderful the world is. From walking, to visiting a dump to better understand where all the trash goes, to making recycled art, and more!
Earth Day Crafts
Planet Earth Paper Craft for Kids
Make your own earth! This is literally my favorite of all Earth Day crafts.
Use this earth day coloring page to create your own world to hang up in your room. Paint the oceans blue, and use dirt and glue to create the continents.
This paper, nature and recycled item craft is great for older kids, but even kids as young as preschool will enjoy it too.
Printable 3D Earth Craft
How cute is this printable Earth day craft?
Make your own 3D Earth, or you could even make a 3D recycle sign, which would be great in a classroom to remind your student to recycle their papers.
Puffy Paint Earth Day Craft
This puffy paint is made with things that may already be in your pantry and is found over at our friend’s place, Happy Hooligans! It’s a great way to save money and refrain from using more plastic bottles!
Plus, you can make all the colors you need to paint a beautiful portrait of Earth.
Create a Recycling Collage
Earth day is the perfect day to recycle! What better way to recycle or upcycle old magazines and newspapers than using it to create artwork! This would be a great book (or movie) and art combo especially since the Lorax worked very hard to help save the environment!
Make a Recycling Bin Creative Craft
Open up the recycling bin to see what craft we could make with things that we don’t need anymore and we came up with this spiffy recycled robot craft!
What a fun Earth Day idea for kids of all ages. Younger kids like toddlers and preschoolers may end up with monsters and less defined ideas. Older kids can strategize what items to use and why.
Upcycled Plastic Suncatchers
Don’t throw away your berry boxes!
Those plastic boxes can be used to create beautiful upcycled plastic suncatchers! An adult may need to cut the plastic, but then your kids can easily create the world, various plants, or even recycled signs using permanent markers.
Pressed Flower Craft
This really simple nature collage idea is perfect for even the youngest Earth Day artists! Find flowers, leaves and anything that can be pressed and then save it with this easy craft technique.
Hand And Arm Print Trees
Celebrate Earth day by creating artwork based on the beauty of nature. Then help a loved one celebrate by sending them this keepsake!
The best part is, you’ll be painting with things in nature like dandelions! Who needs plastic paintbrushes when nature provides what you need!
Salt Dough Earth Day Necklace
These Earth day necklaces are so adorable!
I love them!
You make necklaces using salt dough to form little Earths and then you thread blue ribbon and cute little beads through the ribbon. Don’t forget to add a clasp! These would make great gifts to hand out on Earth day.
I love this craft so much! The only part of this butterfly collage that isn’t part of nature is the construction paper and glue. Make your own butterfly using flower petals, dandelions, bark, sticks, and more!
Plus, it is a craft the requires you to get out and move! Go on a fun hike to find all your art supplies!
More Nature Art Ideas
After collecting rocks, sticks, flowers, and more from around the backyard and neighbor encourage your kid’s creativity through some nature-inspired art projects:
- Make these simple nature art crafts with kids as young as preschool age.
- Make a nature drawing with simple found items.
- We have a big list of nature craft ideas.
Free Earth Day Printables
Earth Day Coloring Pages
Looking for some Earth day coloring pages? We have them!
- This set of Earth Day coloring has 5 different coloring pages that promote ways to keep our world a clean and healthy place! From recycling to planting trees, there are many ways kids of all ages can be apart of Earth day.
- This is a big set of Earth Day coloring pages for kids. These also help promote going green and keeping our Earth clean. In this set you’ll find recycling coloring sheets, coloring sheets of trash being thrown away, and various plants, and reusing stuff we have.
- This globe coloring page is perfect for any world map activity including Earth Day celebrations!
Printable Earth Day Certificate
Is your child or student going above and beyond in their mission to save the earth?
What better way to reward them and reinforce the importance of Earth day that this custom certificate?
Free Printable Earth Day Bingo Cards
Who doesn’t love Earth day Bingo! It is one of my favorite games!
Each picture represents the Earth, plants, and keeping it clean! You could even use this game to recycle as well. Print it on the back of previously used pieces of paper and you could cut up used paper as counters or use stuff like bottle caps.
Free Printable Earth Day Placemats
These Earth day placemats are also coloring sheets and teach your child to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The best part is if you laminate these place mats they can be used over and over again!
Recycling for Kids
Teaching Your Little One To Recycle
Recycling is something we should all be doing and starting at a young age will help promote being green in the future.
Take a bin of recyclable materials and let your toddler separate them into the right bin. It can be a fun game and an easy toddler activity for Earth day.
Upcycle Toys Into Something New
Teach kids about how we can reuse old items, like toys, and turn them into something new and fun. Turn old sports equipment into functional household items, like planters. Or use old stuffed animals as bean bag filling!
Your kids will love that they can “keep” their old toys too.
STEM Earth Day Activities
Growing Plants In Eggshells
Learn about plants and how to better help them grow with this growing plants in an eggshell science experiment.
You’ll plant seeds in eggshells (make sure you rinse them out and handle them gently) and put them in various conditions to see which seeds grow better.
Carbon Footprint Activity
Carbon footprint is not a term most kids will understand. This project will not only explain what a carbon footprint is, but also explains how we can have a smaller carbon footprint.
Plus, they can make their own “carbon footprint” using black paint, which brings some fun into this stem earth day activity.
Earth’s Atmosphere Kitchen Science
Teach your kids about the Earth’s atmosphere this Earth day. Teach them about 5 layers of the atmosphere and how each layer acts as a barrier and how it helps us stay alive.
This activity is so cool and also teaches about fluids and their density and how that relates to the world around us.
Weather Science Experiments
Speaking of our atmosphere this would be a great time to learn about the weather since global warming has an effect on our weather as well. Learn about the rain, clouds, tornadoes, fog, and more!
Mix chemistry and earth science with this seed paper project. Not only is it fun to make (and a little messy), but once you finish making the seed paper you can spend time outside planting them!
Make the world a better place one flower at a time!
Outside Science Activity
What is better then spending time outside on a warm spring day? For this outside experiment you will need an intact cattail, cattail seeds, and a magnifying glass. This is a great way to teach your child about seeds and plants.
Earth Day Projects For Middle Schoolers
Make a Bird Feeder
Want to encourage a love of bird watching? Encourage birds to visit your backyard by making bird feeders! We love this idea of rolling pine cones in peanut butter and bird feed, and then hanging up this tasty treat in our backyard. (You can also use old plastic eggs to shape bird feed treats).
Engineering For Good
This is another one of my favorite earth day projects for middle schoolers. We tell our kids all the time to drink enough water, but they may not realize that all those plastic bottles add up. This is a great way to not only get them to realize the impact all the plastic has on our environment, but come up with ways to help solve the issue of too much plastic.
The Energy Lab
This is an interactive research challenge that was designed by Nova. This challenge allows students to design their own renewable energy systems to help provide energy for different cities around the United States. They’ll also learn why some energy sources are getting low.
Earth Day Recipes
Bring your kids into the kitchen and make some Earth Day inspired meals. In other words, all these dishes are green
Earth Day Treats Kids Will Love
While there is a delicious list of treats on this particular list, the dirty worms is extra special to me. I remember my teacher making this for us many, many, years ago! Who doesn’t love chocolate pudding, Oreos, and gummy worms?
Earth Day Cupcakes
Who doesn’t love Earth day cupcakes! These cupcakes are super special, because they look like the earth! Plus they’re super easy to make! Color your white cake mix and then make green and blue frosting so that each cupcake looks like our beautiful earth!
Yummy Green Earth Day Recipes
Earth day isn’t just about cleaning up trash and keeping our world clean, but we must keep our homes and our bodies clean as well! So why not go green with our diet! There are so many delicious green recipes like this green pizza!
Earth Day may only come once a year, but you can do these activities all year round.
MORE FAVORITE EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES
- Learn how to make a mini greenhouse with a recycled food container!
- Make mini ecosystems with these terrariums!
- While trying to make the world a better place, we have some awesome garden ideas for kids to make it a little easier.
- Looking for more Earth Day ideas? We have so many to choose from!
What is the first Earth Day activity that you are going to do this April 22nd?