Earth Day activities & crafts for kids

Earth Day activities for kids

Every April, Earth Day is celebrated around the world, bringing awareness to our impact on the planet. Parents and teachers often mark the day with activities to help children learn about our environment, helping little ones to understand more about our environment, sustainability, and the many ways that we can help make a difference. Even the smallest of changes can make a difference, and it’s empowering for children to learn that they can help make the world a healthier place.

Learning about Earth Day for kids

Earth Day is celebrated globally every year on April 22. People often spend Earth Day learning about the environment and the ways we can live our lives in a more sustainable way. Community events to raise awareness are common and include activities such as neighborhood cleanups, tree planting, and recycling drives.

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, and over 20 million people in the US participated in the event. With its success in bringing environmental issues to light, Earth Day was included in many environmental laws and the day became a global celebration in 1990. Today, it is estimated that around one billion people celebrate Earth Day every year!

Helping kids understand sustainability

Some abstract concepts can be tricky for little ones to grasp, and sustainability certainly falls into that category! A topic that’s as large and complex as sustainability can be challenging to communicate to children in a way that they’ll understand. However, there are many ways you can instill a love for our planet in your child that will help them grasp the concept of what it means to live sustainably.

One of the best ways is to help your little one acquire good habits starting at home and in their daily routines. This will take time, but they will understand the importance along the way, and learn why we need to protect the environment. Here are some easy things to do that will help your kiddo make some sustainable habits part of their day:

Lead by example

There’s no doubt about it…kids are like sponges when it comes to learning new things. They’re curious, perceptive, and quick to learn, which makes leading by example extra important. Of course, it’s sometimes easier said than done – but don’t worry! Even the simplest adjustments can turn into regular habits.

For example, be sure to turn off the lights after leaving the room, or make sure to involve your child when you’re sorting the recycling. While brushing your teeth, pay attention to the amount of water used and turn off the tap when brushing. Helping your child to adopt these habits (and doing them yourself) will help establish some more environmentally-friendly practices for the whole family.

Surf the net

When helping your child to remember to turn off lights or use less water when brushing their teeth, chances are they’ll ask you why. Helping your kiddo to understand how these small actions can make a difference is a perfect opportunity to learn more about the environment and sustainability.

However, don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to their questions. Take a few minutes to learn about the topics your kiddo is curious about together and access some online resources to fill in the gaps. It can sometimes help to scout out some websites beforehand to ensure you’re gathering information from reliable sources that will be applicable to what your kiddo is learning about. Providing some context will help motivate your child to make their new sustainable habits a regular part of their daily lives.

Recycled materials for crafts with kids

Earth Day projects and art activities for kids

Upcycling is a great Earth Day activity to try with your child. Not only does it use recycled materials you likely already have in your recycling bins, but it’s also a creative activity that helps little ones find new and creative uses for items that would be thrown away. Reusing items saves items from ending up in a landfill or recycling plant, but it also helps little ones practice creative thinking and learn to appreciate what they already have.

Here are some Earth Day activities for kids that encourage your child to reduce and reuse materials while learning about the environment and sustainability.

Seed bombs

There are many ways to give back to the environment, and one of the most fun and long-lasting activities to try is planting something! These seed bombs are really easy to do, and you’ll get to use lots of recyclable paper scraps that were destined for the recycling bin.

To make the seed bombs, put some construction paper and water into a food processor and blend them together. The consistency will be mushy, but it will hold enough to keep the seeds inside. Once it’s blended, empty the mixture into a bowl and pour any type of seeds you would like to plant on the paper mixture. Then, get kneading! Your little one will love using their hands to mix the seeds into the mushy paper mixture. Press the mixture into a muffin tray and let them try overnight. Find detailed instructions in this YouTube video, and get planting!

Once the seed bombs are planted, the paper will compost and the seeds will germinate. After some sunshine and rainy days, the plants will start to grow. Plus, seed bombs are also an amazing gift idea!

Stuffed animal accessories

Textiles are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to landfill waste. In the US, around 85% of textile waste ends up in the trash. Next time you have some old clothing or fabric scraps to get rid of, why not use them to make some fashionable accessories for your little one’s stuffed animals? This Earth Day craft reuses materials that would have been destined for the landfill while introducing your little one to textile crafts.

Not much of a sewer? No problem! Grab some craft glue and you’re off to the races. Use scissors to cut out simple accessories for their favorite dolls or stuffies like scarves, dresses, headbands, or shirts. Kiddos can decorate the new accessories with fabric paint (or regular paint), fabric markers, or even glue some sequins on for some extra sparkle. Your little one could even patch together a cozy quilt for their favorite toy, or something to add to their pet’s favorite napping spot. Your kiddo will love experimenting with scrap fabric!

Paper bag canvases

Here’s some more art for kids on Earth Day to try. Don’t throw out those brown paper bags piling up from your shopping trips – try using them for your next art project instead of sending them to your recycling bin! They make a beautiful canvas for all types of artistic creations. Let your little one go crazy with paints, markers, crayons, stickers, or stamps, and create a masterpiece to hang on the wall. Use construction paper and create a paper bag puppet, or have your child decorate one to use as a gift bag for a birthday party!

Download our Garbage printable

Help your little one learn more about sorting garbage and recycling in our Garbage Printable Activity Pack! Sort trash with fun flashcards, build a town with repurposed materials, practice counting while loading a garbage truck, and more. Kiddos also practice tracing, vocabulary, fine motor skills, and more with everyone's favorite stinky substance. Pee-yew!

Sago Mini Printables: Garbage Activity Pack

Earth Day books for kids

Reading is one of the most beneficial activities to do with your child. When you read together, your kiddo is learning and imagining, and it’s an important bonding activity for parents and their children. It expands their world by introducing them to new topics, and curling up with a good book is a great way to help your little one grasp the concept of Earth Day.

Head to the library with your kiddo to pick up some books on the environment, or pull up a quick Google search to see what kind of books are available. Here are a few Earth Day read-aloud books for kids to get your research started:

  • Gorilla Gardener: How to Help Nature Take over the World by John Seven – This book is all about plants, gardening, and spending time outside in nature. It’s a great book to go along with the seed bomb craft, too!
  • Rocket Says Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon – This book is one of those that will help your kid develop an appreciation for the environment and advocacy. The story follows a girl who helps a turtle tangled in a net on the beach and how she motivates others to keep the beach clean.
  • Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch – Mario Molino is an important figure in science and environmental history, and this book introduces his work to children in a way that’s easy for them to understand. It’s sure to spark some conversations about our environment and what we can do to help!
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