Although initially begun as a holiday in the U.S. only, Earth Day is now celebrated in 192 countries each year. As part of those celebrations, many choose to take the day and spend time outdoors or plant trees in their communities. Without a doubt, it’s a wonderful opportunity to both spread awareness about the issues threatening our planet and to begin working to solve them.
In addition to being a great day to help our environment, Earth Day is also an excellent time to begin to teach your children about nature, while doing so in a manner that is enjoyable for them as well. Of course, not every child will find spending all day planting saplings inherently enjoyable. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to design fun outdoor activities that children of all ages will enjoy.
Here are some great outdoor activities that will keep your child engaged, while helping them learn at the same time:
Organize a neighborhood trash clean-up.
With the help of your child, create a flyer to pass out and/or hang up in a place that is frequented by members of your community. Make sure to include the date and place of the cleanup, along with any materials that might be needed (trash bags, gloves, drinking water, etc.). If you are friendly with your neighbors or other members of your community, you may want to ask for assistance in organizing the event so that you can gather the largest group possible.
Once you have a list of your volunteers, group them into teams. Send each team out to a specific area of the location and ask them to pick up as much trash and recyclable materials as possible. At the end of the day, total up the bags to see which team has the most, and reward those team members with an Earth Day prize, like a small plant.
One of the best consequences of Earth Day is that it gets you to appreciate small things about nature that you take for granted on a daily basis, such as the creatures that live around your home. In order to say thank you to some of those animals, you and your child could design and build a bird feeder. If you aren’t sure how to get started, Pinterest has a number of great ideas for bird feeders that you can either recreate or use as an inspiration for your own creation.
Plan an animal and plant scavenger hunt.
Instead of doing a standard scavenger hunt, create one that is nature-themed. Carefully select a variety of animals and plants that you know your child is likely to see on a walk through your neighborhood or local park. After you have picked them out, create a list that includes both the names and pictures of each animal or plant on the list. Once you have the list written up or printed out, take your child out for an enjoyable nature exploration. After all, what child doesn’t love a scavenger hunt?
Volunteer at a local animal refuge or animal shelter.
If you are looking for a more hands-on activity to celebrate Earth Day, why not volunteer at your local animal refuge or animal shelter? Since these organizations are usually non-profit, they can always use an extra set of hands to help feed or care for the creatures being nursed back to health. There might be no better way to say thank you to our planet than by helping out some animals in need.
Ideally, these ideas will be a great way for your family to spend time together, while also giving back to the planet that gives us so much. We hope that you and your family will love these fun outdoor activities and have a wonderful Earth Day!