We’re pretty lucky to call Earth our home, what with its vast oceans, lush forests, and majestic mountains. It’s important to teach our children the importance of preserving our earth not only for us but for the next generation. In my opinion, it’s never too late to instill these values in our little ones. Earth Day is a great opportunity for parents, teachers, and children to learn about important challenges facing the planet today.
There are countless activities for kids that are fun and easy to do at home. Most just require a few household items to do, and none of the ones I’ve listed require any fancy lesson plan or complicated science experiment. These are a few fun activities and crafts that I’ve come across that are both a great way to learn about our earth and also teach our kids everyday skills.
Table of Contents
- 5 Earth Day Activities for Preschoolers
- 5 Earth Day Activities for Kindergarten
- 5 Earth Day Activities for School-Aged Kids
- Most Important of All, Make It Fun!
5 Earth Day Activities for Preschoolers
Preschool isn’t too early to teach kids about Earth Day. Rather, it’s important to start early with introducing your little ones to the idea of keeping our earth clean. At this age, children are still developing their fine motor skills and exploring the world through sensation. Here are a few ideas your little ones will love for their Earth Day activities, from sensory bins to sorting practice.
#1. Grow Your Own Homemade Seed Paper
This activity is both a fun and interesting process for children, but it also teaches children about recycling. You’ll be able to celebrate Earth Day by teaching your kids about the importance of recycling and how to grow seeds, while also giving them a chance to improve some fine motor skills when they rip up or cut the scraps of newspaper for their “seed paper.”
Items you’ll need for this project include seeds, newspaper, water, and a blender. Homemade seed paper gets kids interested in growing plants or flowers from just a few tiny seeds, while using recycled newspaper that would’ve otherwise been thrown out. It’s great for a fun-filled kid’s Earth Day, but also a wonderful idea to do with your students or kids on any sunny spring day.
#2. Teach Them About Ocean Pollution With Sensory Bins
Pollution can seem like such a daunting topic to tackle, even for adults. So how do we teach our kids about protecting the earth from pollution at such a young age? When it comes to teaching our children about the devastating effects of oil, plastic, and garbage pollution in our oceans, sensory bins are a great way to get our kids hands-on and learning. Asa a mom, this is one I’ve been able to enjoy with my own daughter – she’s still too young for many types of sensory bins, but this water-themed sensory bin has been a hit!
You’ll need a few items, including a large plastic bin or water sensory table, animal and boat toys, cocoa powder, vegetable oil, coffee grounds, random scraps of make-believe trash, and a small scrub brush — all things that, luckily, can be found right in our homes. Essentially, you start with a large bin of clean water and slowly add the oil or coffee grounds, thereby “polluting” the water. This earth day activity shows children the effects of pollution on the ocean and its animals, and it is a wonderful way to teach our children the importance of keeping our earth and ocean a clean place.
#3. Count All The Trees, Birds, and More
This next idea is an easier way to celebrate Earth Day with preschoolers and needs no extra materials to take part in. It just involves going to your backyard, neighborhood park, or wherever is close by and allowing your kids to soak in their surroundings. One benefit of this activity is that you don’t need anything extra to do it (always a plus!), and it also gets preschoolers to take notice of nature in their own surroundings.
Ask them to count the number of trees they can see. Have them practice making a list of different types of animals. Ask them what colors in nature they can identify. Have them show you all the different types of birds they can find. Count the squirrels they see. Identify different shapes of clouds. The possibilities are truly endless!
#4. Clean Up the Neighborhood or Park
This Earth Day activity is one that I remember doing with my mom as a child. Taking your child out and to the park, neighborhood, or schoolyard is a fun, interactive way to get your child excited about Earth Day and also teaches them the significance of littering and maintaining a clean environment.
All you need to do is take your kids outside, bring a bag and pick-up stick or another garbage-pick-up device (you could also just wear gloves to keep your hands clean), and walk around your area to pick up any trash you see. Your kids will probably comment on how much trash they’re finding. This is an important opportunity to start a conversation with them about littering!
#5. Make a Sensory Bin Recycling and Sorting Game
Here’s another earth day activity that’s great for teaching kids the importance of recycling and its impact on our environment. These recycling sensory bins are very simple to make, consisting of just a large bin and placing household trash or recyclables in it (you don’t necessarily have to use real trash, you could use sponges, old plastic bottles, empty jam jars, empty yogurt cups, etc.).
The benefit of this activity is that it shows kids how important it is to properly recycle and sort through different types of recycling. After your kids are done sorting all the recyclables into organized piles, a trip to the local recycling center, or even down to your own recycling bin, can show kids where these objects end up. Take this opportunity to describe what recycling is with kids, and how it can be re-used in other ways to minimize waste.
5 Earth Day Activities for Kindergarten
Many of these Earth Day activities for kids in kindergarten are easy to do at home or in the classroom. At this age, kids love coloring with crayons, learning from flashcards, and practicing many fine motor skills. The following Earth Day activities are just a few easy ways to celebrate Earth Day with your kindergartener.
#1. Melt Your Own Homemade Crayons
Children love crayons and most children love science. So, making DIY Crayons with kids is a sure win. Not only do kids love homemade crayons and all the fun shapes they could be, but they also enjoy the process of tearing off the crayon’s wrapper and especially enjoy the process of breaking the crayons.
Of the other Earth Day activities listed, this is one of the more practical ideas. Most kids have a bunch of old, broken, or too-short crayons laying around. This is a great chance to take these old, discard crayons and melt them down into a brand new, multi-colored crayon they will get new use out of to celebrate Earth Day and recycling.
#2. Design a Recycling Sorter Game
This next Earth Day idea is great to hone some of those important skills all kids need. All you need are some cups or small containers, a few random small objects that are of different colors, and maybe a pair of tweezers, although this last item is not strictly necessary. The name says it all – your child will have a blast “recycling” and sorting different objects.
This would be a great activity to practice counting, sorting by color, shape, or size, and also allows kids to practice those fine motor skills if they’re using the tweezers to sort the objects.
#3. Print Your Own Earth Day Flash Cards
These Earth Day-themed printable flash cards are a fun way to get your kids to learn about Earth Day. These cards will get them practicing counting, tracing, labeling, making a list, and more. All you need to do is print them out and cut them to size.
What you’ll find in this mini-pack (linked above) are numerous educational Earth Day-themed activities. They’ll get to practice counting by counting the number of items at the top of a card and circling the correct number below. They’ll practice letter recognition by searching for the letters E and e in a grid and circling them. There are many more fun lessons in this Earth Day flash cards pack for your child to take part in. The best part is that this mini-pack is free!
#4. Sing Earth Day Songs
Earth Day songs are hard to find, so here are a few songs to celebrate the day. Get creative with and combine with other Earth Day activities, or get kids up to move and dance.
#5. Create a Recycled Planter on a String
While it’s important to teach our kids the importance of using sustainable products such as reusable water bottles, sometimes they just show up around the house. On earth day you can teach kids that there are many ways to re-use these plastic bottles, and using these containers as planters is a great way to reduce the amount of waste in trash bins, and it’s also a way to have kids grow some things of their own from seeds. These planters are small and portable, and they can be hung anywhere there’s sunlight. Your kids will enjoy checking on their homegrown plants day after day.
5 Earth Day Activities for School-Aged Kids
When kids reach school-age, they’re aware of much more than we realize. They love new and interesting ways to get hands-on, whether that involves building something from scratch, taking something apart, or making something special for a loved one. I found most of these ideas on Tinker Lab, and there are many more out there.
#1. Make a Peanut Butter and Pine Cone Bird Feeder
This was one of my favorite things to do (not only on Earth Day!) as a child. All you need is a pine cone that you find in your backyard, the park, etc., peanut butter, and some seeds. Kids will have a great time searching for the perfect bunch of pine cones for their bird feeders. The rest is self-explanatory: slather some smooth peanut butter all over the pine cone and sprinkle your birdseed in a flat, uniform layer on a large baking tray. Then, have your kids dip and roll the pine cone in the birdseed. This part can get messy, but kids absolutely love this! Once you hang up your pine cones, your kids will have a great time watching for the different types of birds that visit your homemade bird feeders.
#2. Design a Nature Diorama
This is one of those Earth Day activities that is still one of those classic annual school projects that kids adore, where they can dream up an imaginary miniature world filled with tiny characters and décor, all contained in a little box.
All you’ll need is an old shoebox or tissue box (once again, showing how many ways you can re-use what was once thought of as trash!) and perhaps some glue. The rest is up to your kids. Have them go to the park, backyard, or wherever you want and scavenge for things in nature they think would be perfect in their own diorama. These dioramas let your kids’ imaginations run wild, and you’ll love seeing the different creations they come up with.
# 3. Plant a Garden
Here’s another fond memory from my childhood that I hope to recreate with my daughter. My mom was always an avid gardener, and I’ve inherited her green thumb (or at least I like to think I have!). Carve out a little patch of dirt in your backyard or front yard and let your kids pick out what they would like to plant. It could be vegetable or fruit seeds, shrubs, flowers, trees– the list goes on. They’ll love getting down on the ground and digging in the dirt with their own shovels. Teach them how to properly sow seeds and instill in them the discipline for watering and nurturing their own plants each day. If you don’t have your own backyard or front yard, there are many windowsill herbs you can grow!
# 4. Upcycled Tin Can Drums
These upcycled tin can drums are another great way to show kids how they can get creative and reuse what they previously thought was trash. In this earth day activity, take old coffee tins or hot cocoa tins and fill them with anything you want. It could be buttons, marbles, paper clips, etc. Anything that will make a noise when placed inside the tin can! This is a great sensory game as well. Kids can learn that different objects make different noises when they bang against the tin can walls.
You could also incorporate these upcycled tin can drums into music time, and use them as shakers or drums to get them excited about dancing during music time. It’s a great way to get kids up and moving and shaking!
# 5. Nature Journals
This is an Earth Day activity that I also did as a child. I loved journaling during my middle school years, and the idea of a nature journal is a great way to get your kids interested in both journaling and nature at the same time. Get them their very own notebook or journal in which they can write down any idea, observation, or wish they want.
Since it’s a nature journal, have them go out daily and find something that inspires them — flowers, grass, different shaped leaves — and press these findings within the pages of the journal. Once that’s done, they can then write down poems, thoughts, or feelings they have about their day or these things they found outdoors. It’s a simple idea that really benefits kids’ creative writing skills!
Most Important of All, Make It Fun!
These are just a small handful of fun Earth Day activities I plan on doing with my daughter this year, and a few saved for when she is older. The best thing about these activities is, not only are kids exploring new creative outlets, but they are also learning about the earth and how important it is to maintain our environment. So get creative, have fun, make a mess, and get outdoors with these Earth Day activities for kids. When kids are having fun, they’re more likely to engage, interact, and make happy memories that last a lifetime. I still remember many of the Earth Day activities I did with my family or in school, and I hope that these activities will leave a lasting impression on your little ones as well!