The first and best way to celebrate Earth Month with kids is to get out into nature and explore. Spend some time stopping and sitting in grass or on sand, and pay attention to what moves around you. Observe the way leaves and grass blow. Notice insects crawling on the ground. Take some time to see the things you usually walk over or atop of with no regard to what’s below your feet.
10 Other Ways to Celebrate and Honor the Earth:
- Plant something in the dirt. The “something” can be a seed, a flowering bush, a tree, or a vegetable. What, doesn’t matter. Get your hands in the soil and connect with earth. San Diego Family provides useful instructions on how to start a container garden.
- Play nature-based games on PBS Kids. Click here to access them and help Cat in the Hat clean up a neighborhood by recycling and composting. Plant seeds and tend a virtual garden with Elmo. Or build your own rainforest ecosystem.
- Check out the National Wildlife Federation’s Nature’s Witness Virtual Exhibit, which uses gorgeous and vivid photography as a tool for storytelling. Learn about pikas, bobcats, polar bears, flamingos and dozens of other animals around the world that need our help in order to survive.
- Use a bike, scooter, or walk to a location to which you’d usually drive. This will cut down on your emissions (and give you some exercise).
- Use only eco-friendly or reusable products all day. That means bamboo or recycled paper toilet paper, washable plates and bowls, and pulling out the cloth napkins. Help your children cut down on waste in this way. (And feel free to turn out the lights and eat dinner by candlelight.)
- Have a family scavenger hunt that takes everyone through closets and cupboards and under the beds to find things you and your kids no longer use. Clothing, accessories, shoes, toys, reusable bags and so many things clutter our spaces. Bless other people and nonprofits by packing up your extra week and donating them to a charity or by holding a yard sale. Or you can even put items on your curb with a sign that says “free”.
7. Visit the local farmer’s market or produce stand and try things your kids have never eaten. Choose something new to buy. Talk to the farmers about how things grow. And if you’re feeling very adventurous, order a catalog from rareseeds.com and have your kids pick out some fun heirloom produce to grow. They have bean seeds from 50,000 years ago that were found in a cave and purple carrots, and yellow cherries and so many other fascinating things.
8. Make a biodegradable bird feeder from a pine cone, some string, peanut butter, and some seeds or nuts. Smear the peanut butter or some lard on the pine cone, making sure to fill the ridges. Roll the covered pine cone in the seed and nut mixture. Loop the string or yarn around the cone and tie it to a tree. Then watch the birds land on it, investigate, and eat.
9. Read Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and then watch the movie. (It’s on YouTube and the link is below). Published in 1971, story chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who “speaks for the trees” and confronts the Once-ler who destroys the environment. Though the book is geared towards four-to-eight-year-olds, its message is appropriate for all ages. (And if you need some books for grown-up ideas, see last week’s blog.)
10. Ask your child to come up with a unique way for your family to celebrate Earth Month. As David Sobel said, “If we really want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.” How does your child want to show the Earth some love?
Because let’s face it, as it says in The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” It’s up to us to care and to affect change.