Earth Day

Explain Earth Day to your kids with these easy tips.
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How To Explain Earth Day To Your Kids & Nurture Your Little Environmentalists

Get them to love and protect the outdoors.

by Autumn Jones and Jessica Booth
Originally Published: 

Celebrating Earth Day is always better when you get your squad in on the action. Motivating the family to do their part in helping Mother Earth isn’t just a chance to make a difference and have fun doing so: it’s also a great learning opportunity for the kids. That said, Earth Day might feel confusing for little ones who don’t understand what the fuss is all about. Considering how to explain Earth Day to your kids is the first step in raising the next generation of environmentally conscientious citizens, and a task that may be easier than you think.

Children get excited about learning new and interesting things, and they love to get hands on with their new knowledge. Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to both educate and motivate your kids to make a difference in the world. Once your little ones learn all the ways Earth is being harmed, their compassionate hearts will empathize. Learning why Earth Day is observed and understanding how everyone can play a role in making things better is the goal when explaining this holiday to children. And even though some environmental issues are complicated, planting the seed while they are young will give them the framework to comprehend more as they grow.

Don’t let April 22 come and go without having a chat with your kids about Earth Day. Once you’ve talked it out, start to make the day fun. Think interesting activities, getting their hands a little dirty outside (literally), and exploring Mother Nature at its finest. The possibilities can be endless, but use these ideas to get the conversation started and to guide your little environmentalist down the path of conservation.


Start with the basics of Earth Day.

The first thing kids need to understand is that we only have one Earth and it's our job to make sure it stays clean and healthy. Talk about all the different aspects of Earth (water, land, wildlife, atmosphere, humans) and how each play a role. Share some facts about the environment to show how earth is suffering. Read them some books about Earth Day. (My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan is just one great one!) Get some screen time and watch a cartoon about Earth Day, like Happy Earth Day! by SciShow Kids on YouTube. Books and kid-friendly TV are a fun way for kids to learn things instead of just having a conversation.


Take your kids to an Earth Day event.

All over the globe, environmentally conscious people will be celebrating on April 22. Take your kids to an Earth Day event near you, and let them see first hand how everyone is working together to preserve resources and keep Earth clean.


Teach your kids by doing.

Actions speak louder than words, right? Showing your kids how to be environmentally conscious instead of just talking about it is really important. Start some sustainable practices in your own home and get them involved. It can be as simple as teaching them how and what to recycle, replacing plastic bags with reusable tote bags, or only using reusable water bottles. Every time you do something that helps the Earth, involve them and explain exactly what you’re doing.


Discuss this year’s Earth Day theme.

Each year, Earth Day has a theme — an issue that is heavily focused on to inspire global citizens to learn more and find solutions. For 2023, the theme is Planet vs. Plastics. The theme is a call to action to act “unwavering in our commitment to end plastics for the sake of human and planetary health, demanding a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040.” You can talk to them about how to help the Earth every day, not just on Earth Day, and you can do some activities, too. Join a cleanup, or do something like showing them how to decrease food waste.


Make a plan to help celebrate Earth Day.

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Once your kids hear all the ways Earth needs their help, they are going to wonder how they can help. Help them brainstorm ways they can be active in making positive changes in the environment. Make a list together of things you can all do around the house — make it a fun art project by decorating it with paint, markers, and stickers. You can even try giving them more of an incentive by creating challenges that come with small prizes or gifts.


Get your kids outside.

Earth Day is a great excuse to spend some time outside. Take them for a nature walk or an easy hike, or if it’s nice enough, head down to the beach. Instead of just playing and enjoying the great outdoors, try teaching them about what they’re seeing and what they’re loving. Show them cool rocks or plants, try to find interesting wildlife, collect seashells, and point out all of the different kinds of trees. Use your outdoor adventure as a learning opportunity. Having them experience nature firsthand is an important step in getting them to love nature enough to help save it.


Plant a tree or flowers.

Planting is a great opportunity to talk about Earth Day, and it’s also a good way to make your yard look even better! Head to the nursery or plant shop nearby with your little ones and have them help you pick out a tree, some flowers, or a bush or two. Get them their own gardening supplies and get to work. Explain to them that trees give off oxygen that the air around us needs. This may even foster a future love of gardening!


Make a bird feeder.


Show some love to the animals out there in nature by building a little bird house with your kids. This is an easy and fun activity, and it will be fun for them in more than just the moment: after putting one together, they can spend the days watching the bird house to see the birds hanging out in there. There are tons of DIY ideas online that you can use that are easy and require items you may already have in the house.


Participate in a cleanup.

If your kids are old enough to pick up trash and not, you know, immediately put it in their mouths (toddlers, I’m looking at you), then take them on a cleanup. You can look one up near you, or you can just do it yourself: head to a local beach or park with some gloves, a trash bag, and something to pick trash up with. Do a little bit of cleaning and talk about the importance of cleaning up after yourself rather than polluting the Earth.


Make a garden.

Planting trees and flowers is great, but if you’re feeling ambitious, start a garden with your kids. It’s good for the environment, and at the end of the day, it saves you money since you’ll be growing some of your own produce, so it’s a win-win for everyone. Pick some easy veggies or even just do herbs, then start the process of putting together a garden. The nice thing about this is it’s an ongoing activity you guys can work on together for months. They’ll love planting and then watching food grow throughout the spring and summer.

Earth Day doesn’t have to include a bunch of talk about climate change, but it is a great way to explain why we celebrate and why it’s important. Make sure they just enjoy Earth and get outside — that’s the best way to explain Earth Day!

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