I have a vague recollection of celebrating Earth Day in grade school in the late eighties by bringing home a scrawny pine tree sapling (think Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree) and planting it in my mother’s vegetable garden, but I had no idea why. Have you, like me, ever wondered what this mystery celebration is really about? Are you truly interested in teaching your kids simple, easy, and free things they can do every day to help the planet? I thought so. Read on for some wallet friendly ways to raise awareness and celebrate Earth Day!
Coloring: Use recycled paper and re-sharpen your old broken crayons to color in some Earth Day themed pictures! Once again, Crayola’s website can’t be beat for selection and ease of use.
https://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/seasons/spring-coloring-pages/?page=1&count=24 (Crayola Earth day coloring pages)
Work Out With Your Kiddos: Limber up before you set out to save the planet by joining my favorite, Mr. G, in his Earth Day version of the ‘would you rather’ workout.
https://youtu.be/IkBRbiRyeuU (PE with Mr. G Earth Day Would You Rather Workout)
https://youtu.be/s6PP_yucJEo (PE with Mr. G Earth Day freeze dance)
Morton Arboretum: I can think of no more beautiful place to stretch your legs and enjoy some fresh air on Earth Day than Morton Arboretum. You will not find a more eclectic collection of trees anywhere else in the Chicagoland area. Unfortunately, it is not free to enter. Adults are $16, kids are $11, and 2 and under are free. A membership, however, pretty much pays for itself in two visits and if you have kids the children’s garden with a HUGE playground is well worth the cost. Check out the link below for more details.
Garbage Clean Up Hike: If the Morton Arboretum is out of your price range don’t despair! There’re literally hundreds of forest preserves in your area that are free to enter between the hours of dawn and dusk, 365 days a year! Visit the link below and enter your zip code to find the ones nearest you. Help the planet even more by walking or biking to them rather than driving. Once there you can bring gloves and garbage bags and clean up any stray trash you see while you hike! Some preserves, like Leroy Oaks, even have free nature centers where your kids can explore and learn more about nature and their environment.
Raise Awareness with Free Read Alouds:
Chock full of easy ways to help the earth and save energy and water It’s Earth Day by: Mercer Mayer is a kid friendly way to teach your children about Earth Day and how even the smallest changes in daily habits, when multiplied through the population, can make a big change for the positive. Even little critters can make a big impact!
https://youtu.be/_GqM-U5dCsQ (It’s Earth Day read aloud)
In Earth Day Birthday by: Maureen Wright the jungle animals engage in a rhyming good natured argument with monkey about whether it is Earth Day or monkey’s birthday. As this goes on the animals do things to help the earth like plant trees and a garden, pick up trash, recycle items, use cloth bags, and start a compost bin. In the end they discover they can celebrate BOTH!
https://youtu.be/aA-obG2CAkQ (Earth Day Birthday read aloud)
Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green by: Eileen Spinelli features the loveable Miss Fox who leads by example as she rides her bike to work to teach her class about Earth Day. At first the kids think of ways that Earth Day can benefit them- like no more homework to save paper or no more showers and baths to save water. Clever Miss Fox redirects their ideas into more feasible ones like taking shorter showers, using both sides of the paper, and sharpening old crayons to re-use them. In the end her little class changed the Earth in a BIG way.
https://youtu.be/R-UNKPdwpTg (Miss Fox read aloud)
I Am Earth by: Rebecca and James McDonald takes a more scientific approach as it introduces kids to the Earth. The book contains a very kid friendly explanation of the earth’s rotation and how that causes night/day and the seasons. It also briefly explains gravity, the earth’s composition, and the earth’s orbit.
https://youtu.be/xZj5rdZ2oBw (I Am Earth read aloud)
Go on a Great Green Adventure with Blippi (every three-year old’s favorite YouTube kid’s educator) to learn ways to help the planet and enjoy nature.
https://youtu.be/mAYbrYFZFRs (Blippi’s Great Green Adventure)
Learn fun facts about Earth Day like what date it is celebrated on, the history of it, who created it, why it’s important, what CO2 gas is and why we need to control it, why trees are important, and what we can do to help the earth in this short video by Homeschool Pop.
https://youtu.be/yl3zgcL0Tv8 (Homeschool Pop Earth Day video)
I love this short, sweet clip by PBS Kids. It’s the fastest, easiest explanation of what Earth Day is and why it’s celebrated.
https://youtu.be/YuhpygdNmcQ (PBS kids)
Learning Through Song, Jack Hartmann Style: Yes, the songs and dancing are horribly cheesy but that’s what gets them stuck in you and your kids’ heads. Rock out with Jack Harmann’s recycling song or get your groove on with the Earth Day Remix song!
https://youtu.be/DyhbovE5lrk (Recycle Song with Jack Hartmann)
https://youtu.be/U3ZK5pntyNg (Jack Hartmann Earth Day Re-mix Song)
Mini Earth Day Theme Bath: After spending the whole day cleaning up the Earth, why not save water with an Earth Day themed bath! From left to right: Mr. bubble bath foam in earthy blue and green (Walmart), Crayola bath paint also in earthy blue and green (Dollar Tree), and an ‘Earth bomb’ bath bomb (Target). Don’t forget to recycle the cans and plastic containers after your bath!
Whether you choose to clean out some old clothes and drop them at the resale shop or swing past the recycling center to finally drop off all those old cans. If you shorten your shower by five minutes or turn off the tap when you brush. Whatever you choose to do to celebrate the Earth Day this year, the environment will thank you! Happy Earth Day!