Happy Earth Day! Today marks the annual celebration of the one place we all call home. It is also a time when we take action for our planet and encourage environmental awareness. Everyone can make a difference and do their part in preserving and protecting the health of the earth.
The theme for this year’s Earth Day is, “Invest in Our Planet.” Though we may not see the harvest of the seeds we sow today, investing in greener and sustainable practices will undoubtedly leave our planet in better shape for future generations.
Want to get your kids and students in on the Earth Day action? Here are some ways young stewards of the planet can conserve our shared home!
Brainstorm ways to go green!
Earth Day, of course, is more than thinking about the environment for just a day. According to Bright Horizons, the best way to help kids go green is to help them develop a deep love for our earth. Children are more likely to want to take care of something they have a connection with!
Introduce them to the “Three R’s” (reduce, recycle, and reuse). The best part of the Three R’s is it can look (and be) so many different things.
Turning off the lights, not letting the faucet run while brushing your teeth, drawing on two sides of a sheet of paper, and even carpooling, biking and walking are ways you can reduce! Using washable containers, straws, and bottles, as well as magazines and newspapers for artwork, are simple ways you can reuse! Recycling helps save our wildlife and preserve natural resources. By recycling, we help improve the quality of air and water around us and reduce the energy we use.
Read books about the earth!
One way to help kids develop a love for our earth is through books! There are so many topics related to the environment – animals, plants, ecosystems – that are important to explore. Check out these booklists from our AF website and Teaching Expertise that covers a range of conservation themes – with everything from alternative power sources to the kids leading the charge to protect our earth!
Make a bird feeder or house!
Birds are environmental indicators. What does that mean? According to the National Audubon Society, “What’s good for the birds, is also good for humankind.” With the rapid decline in forest area and natural bodies of water, the population of birds is at high risk. One way to ensure a healthier future for the environment is by giving our feather friends a reliable source of supply of food and water.
One way to do that is by making a bird feeder! This Earth Day and home activity is part wildlife and conservation education, part arts and crafts project, and all parts fun! Check out this “The Upside” blog post on how to get started on your recycled bird feeder!
Get outside—and get curious!
Earth Day is the perfect excuse to get outdoors, explore your local wildlife, and connect with nature! You don’t need to travel far to enjoy nature – go to your local city park, a nearby nature reserve or refuge, or take a simple trail walk and hike!
The next step of developing a love of the earth for your kids is staying connected. According to Mentalhealth.org, kids who are more connected with nature are also happier in life and generate a multitude of positive emotions like joy and creativity.
Urge your family members, school community, and leaders to take action for our planet!
Investing in our planet is a collective effort. That investment can start at home with ‘reminder’ signs to turn off the faucet and light switch. Maybe you start at school by planting a tree or a garden filled with plants and flowers.
You can even reach out to your local, state, and national leaders to take action. Around the world, youth activists are making their voices heard about the changes they want to see (and make). It does not matter where or how old you are, what matters is responding to the call of action. In order to leave a better planet for the next generation, we must support environmental protection each and every day beyond April 22.