5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day With Your Child!
Did you know Earth Day has not even been around for 100 years? The first Earth Day was actually celebrated in the United States, back in 1970. Due to its popularity and tremendous potential for change, it became an international holiday, but not until 1990. Earth Day is a product of our increasing awareness of where we stand regarding our capacity to create harm or promote healing. It is a product of our understanding of how powerful human beings really are.
Every time Earth Day comes around, we get excited! We can share with our children here at Casa why the Earth is so unique and how they can help. Children get excited when we tell them they can help something as big as our world. It gives them motivation, excitement, and drive!
Here are five ways we recommend celebrating Earth Day at home to foster all those good feelings!
Plant a Garden!
This hands-on activity is beneficial in so many ways. It allows for you and your child to:
- Spend some bonding time together.
- Create a yearly tradition.
- Teach your child how plants grow and what they need.
- Plant your favorite produce and enjoy it later.
- Do an activity where you are moving around.
- Use less electricity.
- And so much more!
All preschool children can participate in this activity. If you have an infant, take them outside while you are planting, talk, and show them what you are doing. Put some dirt on their hand so they can feel it. Sensory activities and observation will help your infant’s development.
If you have a toddler, consider planting some of their favorite fruits and vegetables and engaging them more directly, like sprinkling some water onto the dirt, touching the soil before and after it is wet, and doing basic tasks like shoveling and patting down the soil.
If you have a preschooler, take them to the grocery store and ask them to help you pick out what they want to plant: flowers or fruits and vegetables. Ask them questions such as “What tools do we need for planting?” or “What does a plant need to grow?” You and your child can become scientists by learning about the plant’s ecosystem. Another great way to engage your child in this activity is by giving them the chore of watering the plants and cleaning their gardening shoes!
Go to a National/State Park
This is another great activity. National and State Parks truly are breathtaking. They make us feel like we are on another planet with serene landscapes in all directions! Take your child to parks to appreciate nature from an early age.
Maybe there is a park nearby that you can take your child to. When you first arrive, check out the Visitor Center to learn more about what the park used to look like, how it has changed over time, and any animals you might find. The Visitor Center is always informative and a great starting point. Then check out the park! Enjoy a nice picnic with your family and talk about what you see, while always being careful.
Who knows, this might just become a yearly family tradition! After you visit, sit down with your child and make a collage of all the photos you took. Write down what you saw, what your favorite part was, and ways you can protect that area.
Create a Compost Bin
Composting is great for the environment and the little garden you might want to create! A compost mixture is made up of decomposing food scraps. Although we cannot eat food scraps such as a banana/orange peel, these still contain many good nutrients. Nutrients that the soil wants and needs. When we put these scraps together, fungi and worms help break them down into a more usable soil for growing plants.
Compost bins often smell bad, and kids may shy away from the activity. However, you can slowly engage them in the process by asking your child to dump any scraps into a smaller bin you keep inside the house during meals. They will ask many questions about why you are doing this, so make sure to take the time to answer them as best you can. The next step could be asking them to help you bring the smaller bin outside, where the larger compost bin is. After each time, your child will get closer to the bin and become accustomed to the smell. Small and encouraging steps will help you make progress!
Make Small Changes to Your Lifestyle
Although Earth Day is once a year, we can help the planet by doing things daily. Changes to our lifestyle are significant for children because this means they will grow up knowing healthy practices.
You can do things such as walk to your local grocery store instead of taking a short drive. We recommend investing in a little wagon you can push and pull to safely carry all your groceries, especially when they get heavy. Another thing you can do is swap out your current cleaning products for eco-friendly options. Eco-friendly cleaning products do not contain harmful chemicals that might irritate your young child’s skin and do not negatively affect the planet.
Other lifestyle changes you can begin to consider are: Consuming less meat, using reusable bags/containers/straws, and using less water by taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet when it is not in direct use.
Try New Recipes Using “Food Scraps”
We often throw away ingredients because we did not know we could use or eat them. One of the amazing things about being at Casa is the many cultures. After talking to various people, you begin to learn new recipes and tricks!
Want some more ideas for how you can celebrate Earth Day every day and more at-home activities? Check out our previous blog post!