Officially, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 each year. But, like so many other holidays, it contains a message that really should be front and center all year. The thing about holidays like Earth Day is that it can be hard to know what to do to celebrate – much less make meaningful adjustments to your lifestyle that can be incorporated all year. And if you have a little one and are trying to make the holiday important to them? The bar is even higher.
That’s why, in anticipation of Earth Day 2018, we’ve collected a few ways you can involve your kiddos in the environment-loving fun. These are activities they can participate in not just on April 22, but any day of the year, and can help instill a love of Mother Earth in them from a young age.
1. Use an alternative to bottled water
Drinking water is, of course, a wonderful habit, but consuming lots of bottled water isn’t so great for our environment. Instead, have your child brainstorm ways he or she can reduce bottled water use within their universe. For example, if your child is on a sports team that regularly hands out bottled water or sports drinks, can the team go in on a reusable cooler and reusable water bottles instead to cut down on waste? Let your child lead the charge to feel like he or she has ownership over the change.
2. Let your child be the bag police
I’m so guilty of having the best of intentions when it comes to reusable grocery bags, but inevitably I leave the bags in the trunk of my car more often than I remember to bring them into the store with me. Enlist the help of your child here by giving him or her permission to nag you about reusable bags. You’ll forget less, and he or she will be making a real difference in the amount of waste your family is creating.
3. Adopt a “reuse” mindset
What in your home can be repurposed for a craft project rather than thrown away? What can you and your family buy secondhand to add to your household when you need new items? Start to not just model this mindset for your child, but invite him or her to actively participate in leading the charge.
4. Take a hike
Getting outside and enjoying nature is one way to teach your child to appreciate Mother Earth. Taking a hike is the perfect way to experience nature up close and to help your child develop a curiousity for the world around us.
5. Teach them to be mindful of energy usage
Start entrusting your kids with tasks around the house, like turning off lights when they leave a room, unplugging devices when they’re not in use, etc… You can even create a fun reward system to encourage this behavior.
6. Plant something
A tree, a potted flower, a garden – anything you have room for that your child can be hands-on with. Talk about the growth process, how important things like clean water and air are to plants’ growth, and involve your child in not just the planting but the ongoing watering, weeding and picking.
Photo credit: London Scout