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How to Teach Young Children About Earth Day

Earth Day, which falls on April 22nd of each year, is a great reminder of just how vital our planet is and, in many cases, the ways in which we’re not giving our Mother Earth the respect she deserves. And while discussions about electric cars and carbon footprints may be best left to adults, there are countless ways to help your little ones to discover the joys of eco-friendly living and learn to improve the place they call home.  Not sure where to start? These easy Earth Day activities are sure to make going green a breeze:

Make recycled art: Instead of simply tossing your paper goods into the recycling bin when you’re done with them, show your little ones how you can transform them into recycled art. Using a toilet paper roll, tape one end, fill the center with a few loose buttons or beans, tape up the other end, and cover in some paint, glitter, and glue for a cool homemade maraca. Alternately, you can cut up a cardboard paper towel tube into one-inch rings, paint them, and make a pretty garland to decorate your kids’ room with, or string a few links together to create a cool necklace.

Plant a tree: Make the planet healthier and prettier in one fell swoop by planting a tree in your back yard with your kids. While you can easily find things to plant in your yard that may yield a tree, like acorns or pinecones that are still green, there are plenty of other easy-to-plant tree seeds available at your local garden shop, too. Trees like elms, gingko trees, ash trees, and Norway maples are particularly good for air quality, so scoop up some seeds the next time you’re in the garden section.

Create a compost pile: If your kids love getting dirty and digging in the garden, creating a compost pile is an ideal Earth Day activity to engage them in. If you’re working with a small space, try using a sealed plastic container and filling it with food scraps to get the composting process started. If you have access to outdoor space, lay down some soil, dry leaves, and your food waste, water, and rake together to create healthy, fertile soil.

Help them sort recycling: Want an easy Earth Day activity that’s appropriate for kids of all ages and ability levels? Help the little ones in your life sort some recycling with you. Separate glass, paper, and metal from other trash, and put them in appropriate bins. If you live near enough to one, you can even bring them to a recycling center for a fun field trip that explains how the recycling process works.

Create recycled paper: Show your kids how they can reuse their own art materials to make something cool and new by teaching them how to create recycled paper. Blend together old paper scraps and water, and pour them over a mesh screen, commonly found at art supply stores. Dip your screen in water until the mixture covers the screen, push out any extra water using a dry cloth, and let it dry overnight. By morning, you’ll have a beautiful sheet of custom paper from materials that might otherwise have been tossed.

Saving the planet is an undeniably big job, but if anyone’s up to the task, it’s the next generation. With more emphasis on green living and eco-friendly technologies being taught in schools and the right lessons being taught at home, our kids are the key to creating a healthier, more sustainable planet. With these easy Earth Day activities, you’ll teach your little ones about the importance of maintaining our planet, and show them just how fun it can be in the process. What are you waiting for? Get green!

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