We all rely on the health of our planet for everything from the air we breath to the food we eat, and this month we celebrate Earth and all it gives us! April 22nd is Earth Day, when we spend time appreciating our planet and learning about or actively doing things to make it a better, greener place.
But for a family with young children it can be hard to get their attention and help them understand what Earth Day is about. So to help teach them what’s so important about living green and what they can do to help the planet, we have collected some of our favorite Earth Day activities for families with children.
Plant a Garden
For kids that like to get their hands dirty, an instant hit will be letting them work with soil and seeds. How you go about organizing a gardening activity can really be up to you and what your kids will enjoy most.
A simple activity that can be done indoors is making seed balls. A seed ball is a mass of paper and seeds that can be planted easily by even small hands. To make the mass of paper you simply shred paper, soak it in water for an hour or two, and blend it into a paste. From there you may want to drain some of the water out using a colander before adding the seeds, but be sure to mix the seeds in while the paper is still damp and easy to mold. You can use any seeds you want, but we recommend you ask an expert at your local plant nursery to see what will grow best in your area. If you want to get creative, you can mold the seed balls in cookie cutter shapes, leaving them to dry for a day or two.
Once you’ve made your seed balls, consider making a small plot in your backyard a garden for these new seeds and let your children see how their seeds grow. If you don’t have a backyard, a large pot full of soil can easily bring in outdoors indoors. For ambitious little gardeners a fairy garden (seen left) can be a satisfying and beautiful indoor or outdoor potted garden.
Arts and Crafts
For those with brown thumbs, making an Earth Day themed arts and crafts is still hands on without having to manage a garden later. To encourage children to notice and appreciate the natural beauty around them, you can make a photo documentary of the neighborhood gardens or parks. Taking the time to walk in nature with your kids and encouraging them to take photos can help teach them to notice details and slow down in an increasingly fast-paced world, and helping them arrange those photos into a slideshow, on a poster board, or scrapbook shows them that their perspective is important to you.
For crafts that are more related to recycling and reuse, a tin can wind chime can be both colorful and interactive for kids to make. To make tin can wind chimes, first prepare the tin cans by cleaning them, painting them, and punch a hole in their bases using a hammer and nail. Next, run some yarn through the can hole and tie two washers to the end on the inside of the can. One washer will keep the string from pulling through too far, and the other is placed at the very end to make noise when it hits the edge of the can. While making these wind chimes, encourage your kids to experiment with different kinds and sizes of washers and cans for different sounds.
Finally, a homemade bird feeder is a quick Earth Day craft that kids can continue to watch for days and weeks afterword. You can easily hang a toilet paper roll up by one end, poke a wooden chopstick or wood skewer through the other end for bird perches, and spread peanut butter and bird feed around the outside of the tube. It’s easy to make several and place them around the yard, where you can encourage kids to watch the birds that come to enjoy the free meal.
For activities that are more educational, there are some easy activities that can teach kids about the natural world around them. One of our favorites is a seed jar experiment where you can watch how seeds grow. Fill a glass jar with wet paper towels and place several seeds of your choice pressed along the edges of the glass where it can be easily seen. By keeping the paper towels damp, the seeds will sprout along the walls of the jar, showing off their growth day by day.
For an experiment that takes only one day, the oil spill cleanup is a classic lesson in ocean science. Take a few tin pans, fill them halfway with water, and then add a layer of oil. Next, provide various potential methods of cleaning that oil to your kids, including string to drag the oil around, paper towels or cotton balls to try and soak the oil up, or spoons and water droppers for trying to scoop the oil up. After they attempt (and probably fail) to get all the oil cleaned up, drop a bit of dish soap in the water to surprise them with how the oil reacts.
Lastly, a great online resource for Earth Day media is the Smithsonian Earth Day Collection full of images, articles, and videos. Skimming this collection can provide a long list of topics and ideas for you and your kids to talk about, watch, and learn about.
Why We Care
Here at NuvoH2O we are excited for Earth Day because it is important to our values as a company. We use our citricharge technology to provide eco-friendly water softening solutions to our customers. The NuvoH2O system both prevents and reduces hard water symptoms without the negative effects that salt-based systems have on the environment. To do your part in making the world more green, learn how our technology works, and check out our various water softening systems for the best fit for you!
But no matter how you help the environment this year, do what you can to teach your children why it’s important to do so. Our planet is the only one we have, and taking care of it is everyone’s responsibility. Let’s do what we can for earth this Earth Day.