7 Ways to Help Save the Planet and Teach Your Kids About Earth Day
Posted on April 22 2019
Earth Day is coming up on April 22, 2019, and it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some special time with your kids teaching them about the planet. This year’s theme is “Protect our Species,” which offers plenty of ideas for teaching your kids about nature, climate change, animals, and the complex web of life that makes up the world.
Not only is Earth Day a great teaching moment for your kids, but it’s also an exciting day where you can play and enjoy. There are many ways to enjoy Earth Day with your family, and we’ve collected our seven favorite ideas to help you get started.
1. Read Books
Books are a great source of information and a wonderful way to spend time with your kids. Studies show that kids who read 15 minutes or more per day make accelerated reading gains, and reading can reduce stress by 68%.
Reading a few books with your kids for Earth Day can help open their eyes to the world around them and see how amazing it can be. There are books on recycling, protecting the earth, conserving energy, and more. There are also many age appropriate Earth Day books including The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
2. Spend Time Outside
Whether you decide to go on a picnic, spend the weekend camping, or just go on an exploratory hike through your local park, spending time outdoors is a great way to teach your kids about the world. As you’re spending time outside, just be sure to talk about nature. Ask your kids what they see, hear, and smell. Tell them about the animals they may not see around them, point out interesting plants, and then talk about what they can do to protect the environment and keep it beautiful for years to come.
3. Discuss Reducing Energy Use
It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about reducing the amount of energy they use. You can teach your children simple ways to reduce their energy consumption year round and include these activities as part of their chores. Teach them to:
- Turn off lights when they’re not in a room
- Turn off electronic devices at night
- Walk or bike to get to close destinations
- Switch out light bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs
- Use less light at night and only as needed
- Open up windows to let in fresh air instead of using the air conditioner.
4. Talk About Recycling
You’re probably already teaching your kids about picking up after themselves and throwing trash away, but you should also teach your kids about recycling. It’s a great habit to get them into, and it’s really easy. Simply write a note and post it next to the recycling bin with a list of items that can be recycled, so your kids know what to do.
All sorts of things can be recycled including plastics, glass, metals, electronics, textiles, newspapers, and cardboard. Then take a few minutes to talk to your child about the importance of recycling. Let them know that recycling can save our natural resources and wildlife, save money, reduce pollution, save energy, and is good for the earth.
5. Participate in a Clean Up
This year, Earth Day is launching a “Great Global Clean Up.” In 13 cities around the U.S., volunteers are gathering together to clean up locations. If you live in or near one of these cities, consider volunteering with your family by signing up here: earthday.org/cleanup
If you don’t live in one of these cities, you can still participate in an Earth Day clean up. Simply grab gloves and large trash bags. Then, head to your local park and start picking up any litter you find. Invite other friends and family members to make it a big event and then throw a party afterward to celebrate making the world a better place.
6. Talk about Water Conservation
In the U.S., we don’t think about how limited the earth’s water supply really is because we don’t have to deal with it. But access to potable water is diminishing in many parts of the world. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, by 2025, many countries around the world will have severe water problems. So, teach your kids how they can prevent a water crisis here.
Show your child how to eliminate water waste by:
- Turning off faucets when not in use.
- Planting native plants and landscape that require little water
- Take short showers and baths
- Only run the washing machine and dishwasher with full loads.
7. Play a Game
There are many awesome, free games and activities that you can play with your kids on Earth Day. PBS Kids offers The Greens and Eekoworld as two free activities you can enjoy. Or you can play any of these free online Earth Day games from primarygames.com. There are games on recycling, the ozone, defending Mother Nature, and more.
There are so many ways to get your kids excited about Earth Day while teaching them what it’s all about. Anything you can do can make a big difference in helping your kids start thinking about taking care of the world.