Celebrate Earth Day At Home With These Fun Family Projects

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In the years following the founding of Earth Day, this powerful environmental movement ushered effective legislation including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Fifty years later, we are now facing a new set of environmental issues including pollution, climate change, and habitat loss.

Children gather knowledge and opinions about these issues from school, friends, and media, but don’t always bring up their concerns at home. Earth Day is a great opportunity to talk with our children about environmental issues while learning about and appreciating our planet’s incredible properties and resources. Rather than driving to local parks or playgrounds to celebrate Earth Day this year, consider trying some of these at-home activities with your family:

View wildlife from the comfort of your own home

Koalas at San Diego Zoo
Image courtesy of San Diego Zoo

With so many awesome online resources available right now, you don’t need to visit your local zoo to see some of our planet’s coolest and cutest creatures. VIP access is right at our fingertips! Zoos and aquariums around the world have animal cams running day and night on their websites. Some livestream exclusively at feeding times so you can really see your favorite animals in action. Others have controllable cameras so you can move around their enclosures remotely. Check out where to see giraffes, penguins, pandas, polar bears, jellyfish and more with this list from Parade Magazine.

Plant seeds and plan your garden

Kids Gardening
Image courtesy of KidsGardening.org

Planting seeds is almost synonymous with celebrating spring. There is nothing more exciting than watching your seeds begin to sprout and grow from tiny seedlings to mighty plants. If you don’t have an outdoor space suitable for a full-blown garden or even container plants, map out what your “dream garden” would look like instead. You can talk about what your plants would need to thrive, companion planting, pollination, composting, and water systems. Make a diorama of your garden using LEGO® bricks or other household items.

Become expert bird watchers

Children Making Birdfeeder
Image courtesy of HappyHouligans.ca

Use recycled household materials such as plastic milk jugs, soda bottles, or egg cartons to create your own bird feeder. Decorate your feeder with non-toxic paint or loose string for nest building. Keep a journal near the window where you can view and observe birds that visit your feeder. Note what types of birds you see, what times they seem most active, and try to identify bird calls. You can even make your own bird food with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

Have some fun with hands-on STEAM projects

Recycled Crayon Project

Recycle your old, broken crayons by melting them together into fun shapes using flexible molds or ice trays. Mix primary colors to create new colors or mix them all up for a tie-dye effect. Voila! Old crayons made new again. Via She Knows.

Water Cycle Project

Talk about the Earth’s water cycle and create your own mini water cycle using a Ziplock bag and colored water. Via Mobile Ed Productions.

Greenhouse Effect Project

Demonstrate the greenhouse effect using jars of water, a light source, and a thermometer. Encourage your child to predict if and how the temperature will change. Via Sciencing.

Discuss environmental problems and brainstorm solutions

Image courtesy of Snapology

Take this unique opportunity to be your child’s teacher, or even fellow student, while talking about environmental issues and potential solutions. Come up with a list of everyday ways to reduce your family’s carbon footprint. Go through the invention process to come up with an invention that would benefit our planet. Discuss the ways that the Earth may be healing during this time of global isolation such as less traffic and less littering.