Earth Day is for Kids
April 22nd is
Earth Day. The very first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22nd,
1970 as an environmental awareness teach-in at colleges and universities across
North America. Earth Day is now the largest, most celebrated environmental
event worldwide. This year it's expected that more than six million Canadians
will join a half a billion people in over 180 countries who will be
participating in local community events throughout the month of April.
Celebrating Earth Day
provides a great opportunity to teach our children about caring for the planet
we call home. Helping our kids learn about taking care of the environment
teaches them stewardship and responsibility. It's also a wonderful way to spend
time together. You can check with your local school, community group or
municipality to find out if there are any special events planned for your area,
or you can organize your own events. Here's a list of family-friendly
activities that can help protect Mother Earth. As an added benefit, most of
these activities cost little or no money.
- Visit your local community park and pick up
litter. Take along two bags: one for garbage and the other to collect
recyclables such as plastic water bottles and pop cans and put them in
your blue box. Make sure that you and your children wear safety gloves. An
alternative version for younger children is to collect all of the litter
into one garbage bag. Dump the contents out when you get home and ask your
children to identify which items are recyclable and which are not.
- Host an Earth Day yard sale. Encourage your
children to sort out any unwanted toys or outgrown clothes. Donate any
proceeds to an Earth-friendly organization such as Earth Day Canada. You
can also donate used clothing and toys directly to a local charity such as
- Plant a tree together. Trees provide shade in the
summer and help to keep our homes warm in the winter, as well as provide
shelter for birds year-round. Trees also help combat the harmful effects
of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- When selecting a tree, make sure to pick a tree
that is native to southern Ontario. Your local garden centre can help you
identify native species or you can visit the Tree Canada Foundation. The site is filled with great resources for
parents, teachers and kids.
- Challenge your family to go green during the
month of April. Help reduce
greenhouse gases by leaving the car in the driveway. Take public transit,
go on family bicycle trips or walk whenever possible. You'll also get the
added benefit of sharing some healthy activities together. If you're
taking along a picnic lunch, make sure to only use reusable or recyclable
- Start a compost heap. Composting is nature's way
of recycling. It's also a terrific way to teach children about the natural
life cycle. You can purchase a compost bin at a local garden centre, or
create your own by piling uncooked organic leftovers such as potato
peelings, apples cores, eggshells and coffee grounds in corner in your
garden. For more information, visit The Composting Council
- Bike to your local library and learn about the
environment together. Pick a subject such as endangered species, water or
energy conservation, or waste reduction. Learning how to use library
resources is a skill that will serve your children throughout their lives.
Ask the librarian to help you research a topic.
- Cultivate seeds for May planting. You can
purchase an inexpensive seedling starter at your gardening centre and
start seeds that can be transplanted into your garden later in the spring.
Vegetables such as tomatoes, green peppers or broccoli are good bets. Once
planted, encourage your children to care for their plants by weeding and
watering them. Come harvest time, they can enjoy the fruits of their
labours. Cultivating flowers from seeds is much less expensive than buying
bedding plants later in the season.
OTHER RELATED WEBSITES
For more information on Earth
Day activities for kids, visit Ecokids.This kid-friendly site has great year round suggestions, activities and
educational games for children of all ages, or check out Earth Day Canada.