When I was a teen in the late '80s, my friends and I would spend Earth Day frolicking in Central Park and coyly flirting with tree-hugging backpackers donning Birkenstocks and chin stubble. Once the green love fest was over, my daily routine was barely altered to incorporate any significant eco-friendly adjustments. I figured those crunchy granola types could wage the good green fight on their own!
Well it's many years later, and Earth Day is no longer just an annual green party. Rather, it's a reminder and hopefully an opportunity to reinforce and applaud the changes people are making on a daily basis to preserve and keep this planet healthy.
On April 22nd more than 500 million people and national governments in 175 countries will celebrate Earth Day. More than ever, it is incumbent upon us parents to green our family's routine and celebrate Earth Day on a daily basis. Check out these fun activities and games that you can do at home to teach your kids about the environment:
#1 Memory Game – Parents can create “memory cards” featuring pictures of different items (appliances, cars, water sources) that require energy. As children play “memory” they will become familiar with sources that require energy.
#2 Earth Art – Cut out a giant circle out of blue recycled paper. Then let youngsters dip their hands in green paint or stampers and make handprints for the continents. While they are creating their own “Earth,” you can get out the real globe. Teach them that the blue parts are water and the green parts are land. Don't forget to show them where they live!
#3 The Big Switch – This activity is a great way to create awareness about saving electricity. Have your child decorate their own light switch with creative expressions of animals, the sea, the sky, etc representing the earth and its environment.
#4 Get Out the Globe. Teach the children that the blue parts are water and the green parts are land. Show them where they live. Leave the globe out for the children to explore throughout the day.
#5 Lights Out, Flashlights On. Play I Spy in the dark. Have the children locate the objects they can use to become more “Green” with their flashlights. This can be a light switch, recycle bins and more.#
#6 Go for a Nature Walk. Place tape, sticky side out, on the children's wrists and take them outside to collect things in nature. You could also decorate a litter box or sack and go around outside the neighborhood to pick up litter.
#7 Dress It Up! Hold a fashion show using old newspapers as the runway. Create vests by using grocery sacks decorated with recycled supplies such as used yogurt cups, etc. Glue recycled materials to the vests and decorate with paint. Then let your kids show off the beauty of recyclables as well as learn what items can be recycled.
#8 Make Rainsticks. Recycle old paper towel rolls by making rainsticks. Have the children close the bottom of the stick with paper and tape. Then fill with beans or rice. You can also crumple up some aluminum foil to make a louder sound. Allow the children to use construction paper to decorate the rainsticks.