This is a re-post from the Intersections blog at the Family Care Office at the University of Toronto (learn more here!). While this post is based around Earth Day activities, all of these incredible tips can happen any day of the year!
By Amanda Cheung– Blogger at Intersections
With the sunny weather and Earth day approaching on April 22nd, now is the perfect time to talk with your families about how we can help take better care of our planet. Find some inspiration on how to celebrate Earth day with this list of fun family-friendly activities that will encourage you and your loved ones to spend more time outside and live more sustainably.
Start a Family Garden
Gardening can help teach children responsibility and provide a fun and meaningful project to work on as a family all year round. If you have limited outdoor space, starting with small planting containers can be a great introduction to gardening — especially for young children! You can find more creative ideas on how to garden in a small space in this article, as well as tips on how to start a garden on a budget here.
Make Solar Oven S’Mores
You don’t need a bonfire to enjoy this tasty snack! Just grab some graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows from the kitchen and pop them in your own DIY solar-powered oven. The best part about this project is that you’ll be able to find all the supplies you need to make your oven in your kitchen cupboards. Find the tutorial here.
Go On an Adventure With the Earth Rangers
In the popular “Earth Rangers” podcast, listeners will learn about nature with Emma the wildlife biologist, who explores a variety of landscapes from the deep jungle to the frozen Arctic! In each episode, children will learn all about our planet’s diverse and fascinating creatures, from the animals we see close-to-home to those we barely see in person.
Explore the TRCA’s At-Home Nature Resources for Families
To celebrate Earth Day, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is inviting families to explore their fun e-Learning videos, activities, and resources to help deepen our understanding of nature, ecology, and cultural heritage. You’ll also find companion resources for their #AtHomeWithNature virtual and online learning presentations, along with some ideas on how to continue learning about our world offline.
Practice Recycling With These Earth Day Crafts
These Earth Day crafts use recycled materials to create something new for your home, serving as the perfect reminder for you and your family about the importance of reusing and recycling. You might invite some birds to your windowsill with this DIY birdfeeder, or you could watch U of T Professor Esme-Fuller Thomson’s video series for the Institute for Life Course and Aging and learn how to make a spring bookmark out of dried flowers. Find a list of ten more Earth Day crafts to do with your family here.
Plan a Nature Scavenger Hunt
For this activity, all you need to do is come up with a list of items based on what you think you can find in your own community on your next family walk! A red leaf, a purple flower, a bumblebee, or even the weeds sprouting between concrete in an empty parking lot would be a great addition to any list.
Read a New Book About the Environment
Finding a book on the environment is another great way to talk to young children about how we can take care of our planet. After reading, you can talk to your children about the ways you can recycle and practice sustainability in your own home. Here is a short list of our recommendations to help you get started:
- The Berenstain Bears Go Green by Jan and Mike Berenstain follows a loveable family of bears on a fishing trip, where they discover the town dump is overflowing. Can they find a pollution solution before the town is filled with garbage?
- Great and the Giants by Zoe Tucker is inspired by Greta Thunberg’s activism and tells a story about the power of small children and animals who protect their forests from a group of giants.
- The Earth and I by Frank Asch is a picture book in which a child explains how he and the Earth dance, sing, and take turns listening to each other.
- The Mess That We Made by Michelle Lord explores the environmental impact of trash and plastic on the ocean and marine life, and it inspires kids to do their part to combat pollution.
- …find more books about environmental advocacy in this article!
With all these fun Earth Day activities, you and your family can get excited about taking better care of our planet. However you choose to celebrate the holiday, make sure to get outside and enjoy the warm spring weather!