Getting Kids Excited About Earth Day

| March 28, 2010 | 2 Comments

You must be the change you wish to see in this world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

April is fast approaching, and with it comes Earth Day. April 22 marks the annual celebration of our planet. It’s a time to reflect upon our individual and collective impact, and learn about a sustainable future.

The first ever Earth Day was held back in 1970. For over four decades it has raised the awareness of worldwide environmental issues such as global warming, pollution and nuclear waste. The broad scope of Earth Day allows citizens to focus on many issues surrounding the environment and celebrate in a variety of ways.

It’s the perfect opportunity to educate children, get them involved and get them excited about the environment. And this year, that’s exactly what’s going on in my house.

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Starting Saturday April 3, the wee dude and I will embark on an eco-adventure of sorts. For four Saturday’s we will focus on the earth and environmental issues, ending with a community Earth Day celebration on April 24 sponsored by Our Big Earth, Vancouver Island Music Fest and World Community.

So, what’s all the fuss? Earth Day is an example of what we should be doing every day, you say? Well, yes that’s positively true. And yes, my little guy is involved in daily eco-duties like recycling and composting. But, he doesn’t really see the big picture, or perhaps fully understand that picture, at his age.

Besides, grown-ups are making all the decisions but it’s the kids (and their kids…) who will inherit the planet. Why not get my child involved and aware at a young age, possibly leaving a lasting mark of responsible citizenship? Yeah, I’m thinking big!

This plan I’ve hatched is simple – spend four days discussing, exploring and learning about the earth in a number of eco-focused ways. There will be all sorts of hands-on learning activities. There will be fun.

I’m dealing with the attention span of a preschooler, so activities will be geared towards his skills and comprehension, and definitely have a large amount of fun attached. For us, fun is synonymous with the outdoors. So, we will be heading outside for the majority of our activities. Luckily we live in such a fabulous, and educational, slice of paradise, with no shortage of places to learn and explore.

Not unlike our regular activities, beaches, forests and parks will be utilized and enjoyed. Some of our favorite places to be one with nature are: Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park, Fanny Bay Conservation trail, Seal Bay, Goosespit, MacDonald Wood Nature Park and Croteau Beach, Pt. Holmes Beach, No. 6 Mine Park (Cumberland), Lazo Marsh and Miracle Beach (trails, nature house and beach). These spots never fail to capture our curiosity, teach us something knew and give us enjoyment.

Topics will be general and chosen by me. This way I can be sure that we have some variety, otherwise we would end up talking about things we already heavily discuss like tires and the make and model of trucks and cars. I want worms, lady bugs and snails to have more of a chance!

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The four topics I’ve chosen are: local eating, water, recycling and garbage, transportation and the Earth. Each topic can easily include other related subjects – there is no right or wrong way to handle this little experiment. For example, local eating will most definitely include farms, gardens, plants and seeds.

To start things off we will be making great use of the public library. There, I will be armed with previously reviewed call numbers to locate kids books that are geared towards our chosen topics.

Planned activities geared towards our topics are:

Local Eating

- A trip to the Farmer’s Market,

- Choosing seeds and planting his own garden, and

- Compost.

Water

- Conservation tactics like shutting off the tap when brushing teeth, and

- Discussion of world water issues.

Recycling & Garbage

- Making a recycled craft, like Ken’s super cool recycled robot,

- Time spent picking up litter at our two local (Cumberland) parks,

- Collecting, sorting and depositing our weekly recycling, and

- Landfill and recycling discussion.

Transportation

- Spend the day without the car, and

- Discussions about why we’re doing that (climate change, health…).

Okay this may be tricky being six months pregnant at that point, but the bike and trailer will be dusted off and our legs put to good use.

Earth

- A local hike and picnic, and

- Lots of chatter.

This is the most comprehensive topic to cover and I’m not 100% sure how I want to tackle this. But, I want my son to understand the fragility of our planet, how the world is connected and why it’s important to care for the environment.

Books will definitely be put to good use here. Usborne has some great ones on trees, the earth and insects that I will pull off his shelf for this purpose.

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While I’m hoping for dry sunny days, that may not be the case. Should the weather turn, I have back-up crafts like planting beans, making a terrarium and the very popular act of puddle jumping, plus some green-geared online games to keep us busy indoors. There will also be loads of books to read.

Honestly, these days won’t extremely differ from every day life for us. But I’m hoping that the adventure as a whole will increase his awareness and get him a little more involved in all things eco.

Ways To Get Kids Involved

- Lead by example,

- Explain what Earth Day is and its significance,

- Read books with an environmental message, such as Dr. Suess’ The Lorax and Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and

- Plan fun activities to engage and create learning.

Helping our youth understand the importance of caring for the Earth are key to the health and positive future of this planet.

How are you getting your family involved in Earth Day?

All content and photos © B. Clempson.

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Category: The Green Home, THINK GREEN

About the Author ()

Bevin is a mom and a spouse attempting to change her unsustainable habits. While her aim is to live more ecologically, her sometimes less-than-perfect green girliness makes it a work in progress. Bevin holds a Bachelors Degree in Applied Communication and a Library Technician Diploma. Her passions are her son, her spouse, photography, writing, knitting, and the great outdoors. She currently calls the Comox Valley home, sweet home.

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  1. Alix says:

    Good for you Bevin! Environmentalism is always a topic of conversation around here, everytime we ride our bikes instead of drive we chat about why it is good for the environment and for us! Eating locally is big too, and after some of the eat local farm tours last summer we bought meat and produce and chatted about where it came from at the dinner table, and how neat it was to know who fed the cow that we were eating! I haven’t thought of getting amped up for Earth day specifically, but I sure like your ideas! Having one older audience member we may take some topics to another level – science experiments are all the rage in our house! We are starting some “kid’s garden” seeds indoors in egg shells this year, which we can incorporate…. I think the water topic is the most challenging – hopefully I can come up with some ideas how to demonstrate pollution’s affect on our water…
    Have fun, and see you on our Earth Day’s celebration day!

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