Earth Day is Sunday, April 22nd! Kids have an innate love of nature, and helping them learn to be stewards of our planet is such an easy thing to do! There are of course so many scheduled events, check out your city’s homepage or your local neighborhood association for events to sign up for. If a scheduled event doesn’t work for your family though, there are still so many ways you can celebrate Earth Day with your toddler! Get started this Earth Day with these 9 simple and fun ways to celebrate earth day as a family.
Sunflowers and peas are easy to grow, and sprout in just days for (almost) instant gratification. A trip to a nursery for a small pot and seeds is a great outing, and you can turn it into a double project and have them paint the pot once you get home! Strawberry plants are another fun one with a sweet reward at the end. If you want to step it up a notch here is a full list of plant and seed activities
2. Go For A Slow Walk Or Hike
Really is there any other kind with toddlers? Go for a toddler led walk, see what they stop to look at and stop with them! We are so often in a rush or looking towards the next thing (or at our phones) that we forget to nurture kids natural curiosity. Odds are they’ll find ants, caterpillars or other tiny creatures you and I walk past every day without noticing. I’ve found toddlers often notice things us adults have forgotten to see, and ask questions we haven’t thought to ask, which can lead to some great conversations! Bring along a microscope for closer looks, a trash bag and gloves to pick up litter or paper and crayon for some nature rubbings.
3. Clean Up Your Favorite Local Park
Combine a fun park playtime with an Earth Day cleanup, just bring bags and gloves! Toddlers have a weird fascination with picking up trash, and teaching them to care and take ownership of their favorite places is such a great lesson! Bonus points if you invite some friends and make a party out of it:)
4. Go On A Ranger Led Walk
When kids are raised among the wonder of the natural world they naturally appreciate it more and want to take care of it. Many City and State parks offer guided hikes, and most are free!
5. Teach (and practice!) A Conservation Skill At Home
Toddlers are watching your every move. If they watch you turn the tap all the way on and let it run while you brush your teeth, that is what they too will do. Alternately, if you show them to turn it on just a little and conserve water, it will become an ingrained behavior! Turning off lights, saving water, easy habits to teach your little (that will save your pocketbook too;)
6. Make It A Movie Night
After all of your outdoor adventures get comfortable with some popcorn and an ‘Earth Friendly’ film. Kid friendly movies like the Blue Planet series or The Lorax teach littles the idea of stewardship, and who doesn’t love a movie night?
7. Make A Bee Bath Or Plant A Bee Friendly Plant
Lack of native wildflowers and pesticides have taken a toll on the bee population, give them a helping hand by planting Lavender, Mint, Bachelor Buttons, Thyme or Sage. All are easy to grow and bees love them! Bee baths are so easy to make, here is a link to the how’s and why’s of bee baths.
8. Teach Them To Sort Your Recycling
If you live in California it all goes together of course, but you can teach them what can be recycled! Make a bag of clean ‘trash’ and have them sort it after you show them how! Check out the full activity here!
9. Take A Bike Ride Instead Of Driving
One of the biggest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by biking instead of driving. Make an adventure of a bike ride to a fun destination that you normally drive to! Pack your packs with water and snacks if necessary, and ending at an ice cream shop is never a bad idea;) Bonus, you all get some exercise and tire the kids out too.
Now Go Outside!
I know that it can often feel like weekends fly by, filled with activities and birthday parties and your never ending adult ‘To Do’ lists. This Earth Day, if you do nothing else, give yourself and your kids the gift of some quiet time in nature. The natural world has it’s own slower pace, as do toddlers, so it’s a match made in heaven when you take the time to appreciate both:) If you’re looking to get outside more often with your family, and make every day an Earth Day celebration with your toddler, check out our Backyard Playground board and follow us on Pinterest!