Earth Day is a great day for slowing down and thinking about how you treat the environment. Not that you should be ignoring it the rest of the year, but it’s good to take an extra look sometimes and see what you can change, or if there are any little extra things you can do.
This is something the whole family can get into. Earth Day is a good time to share with the kids and anyone else who wants to participate ways to be a little kinder to our planet. So today, I decided to round up some Earth Day activities you can do, whether on your own, with your family or anyone else.
1. Take a hike.
2. Plant a tree – at your home or at a tree planting event.
4. Make a pinecone bird feeder.
5. Plant seeds in empty egg crates or tin cans.
6. Walk around your neighborhood and pick up trash, or participate in a community Earth Day event.
7. Help the kids find ladybugs and other insects.
8. Go to the beach.
9. Start a compost pile.
9. Recycled paper towel and toilet paper tube tracks.
10. Make a leaf collage.
11. Make paper.
12. Make an egg carton butterfly.
13. Make litter bugs.
14. Let the kids dig in the dirt or mud.
15. Demonstrate water pollution.
16. Teach kids what can be recycled.
17. Find a way for the kids to safely walk to school. Consider a walking school bus.
18. Go to the farmer’s market.
19. Switch to a stainless steel water bottle rather than drink from single use bottles.
20. Consider which batteries you could replace with rechargeable batteries.
21. Rethink your personal care items such as shampoo, makeup and so forth.
22. Find ways to eat less meat.
Read (remember your library!)
23. The Lorax
24. Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf
25. The EARTH Book
26. The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps
27. Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World
28. Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle
29. Compost Stew
30. Where Do Recyclable Materials Go? Read, Think, Recycle (Garbology Kids)
Want more ideas? Check out my Earth Day Activities Board on Pinterest.
Here comes summer! School is getting out soon and it’s time to figure out how you’re going to keep the kids busy.
Crafts are a great place to start. They encourage kids to be creative. Recycled crafts are even better, as they teach your family how to reused things that might have been trash otherwise. Feed that crafting habit without buying a ton of new supplies. Here are some books that can help you get started.
Craftcycle: 100+ Earth-Friendly Projects and Ideas for Everyday Living
This one has ideas suitable for a wide range of ages, not just young children. It has over 100 ideas for you to try that encourage sustainable living. If you’ve seen those bags made out of old potato chip bags, for example, this book will help you make your own.
Alternacrafts: 20+ Hi-Style Lo-Budget Projects to Make
This book is recommended for grades 8 and up, but crafty kids at younger ages may enjoy it too. The book has a bit of a quirky style, and you’ll learn to make things such as pin-prick cards, pop bottle pendants and more.
Green Crafts for Children: 35 Step-by-Step Projects Using Natural, Recycled, And Found Materials
While not everything in this book is recycled, most of the ideas here will be things you have around the home anyhow. Not like you can recycle the ingredients for salt dough anyhow. Other crafts encourage the use of found materials such as shells, pine cones and tree bark.
Recycled Crafts Box
This book is definitely more for the elementary school set, not so much for older kids. What’s great about this book is that not only does it give you great ideas for recycled crafts, it separates the ideas by the materials and gets into how they’re made and how they’re recycled.
Socks Appeal: 16 Fun & Funky Friends Sewn from Socks
We all have orphaned socks and socks that just don’t fit the kids anymore. Why not have a little fun with them and make toys from those old socks you don’t need anymore?
Socks Appeal has projects suitable for kids and adults who are new to sewing, as well as those with more experience.
Many families go through cereal boxes quite regularly. The good part is that they’re recyclable, but what if you could add a step before recycling your cereal boxes?
Depending on the ages of your kids, you might be able too.
A simple idea is to just cut the boxes up and let the kids paint or draw on the plain insides. Kids don’t have to have fresh paper for that, and sometimes a firmer surface is nice to have.
Boxes can also be cut up into simple puzzles. This is nice for kids who are just starting to enjoy puzzles but aren’t up for anything too complex yet. They probably know pretty well what the end result should look like.
You can also cut out the larger letters for children who are just learning their letters or how to form words. Playing with the letters can be much less frustrating than having to write the word when first trying to figure out how to make a word.
And of course, you can leave the box whole to wrap appropriately sized gifts.
The nice part about these ideas is that in many cases you can still recycle the boxes after the kids are done with them. You’re just making a little more use out of them first.
I just posted about making play dough as a Christmas gift for your kids. You can do the same with the ingredients to make slime. I will warn you, however… slime is NOT nontoxic, at least not with the recipe I have.
2 cups water
1-1/4 cup Elmer’s glue
1/3 cup hot water
1 tsp Borax
Thoroughly mix 2 cups water with glue. Add food coloring as desired.
Mix hot water and Borax. Stir into glue and water mixture, removing slime as necessary. You may have to make an extra batch of the hot water and Borax to make the entire mixture into slime.
The slime will be rather tacky at first. The more you work it, the less tacky it will be.
To give this as a gift I would suggest giving the kids just the glue and tell them it’s for a special project. Packaging up the rest of the ingredients just wouldn’t work for me.
Slime is rather messy of course, but if you clean up promptly it’s not likely to stain. At least it hasn’t for me. Don’t let it near carpet as it’s not so easy to clean up there. Tile floors are a much better choice for this one.
As with the play dough, keep it sealed up and it will last a while. Your patience with whatever mess they create may be another matter.
Kids want so much for Christmas, especially if they watch much television at all. They see all the cool toys out there. But sometimes one of the best gifts can be one you make yourself.
Homemade play dough is a great choice for kids in the right age group. They love it.
My plan this year is to prepare a couple containers of dry play dough ingredients and have a part of the gift being getting to choose the colors they make while spending time with Mommy. It’s a really inexpensive gift, and the ingredients I need are right on hand. Here’s my recipe:
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tbs cream of tartar (optional but helpful)
1-1/2 cups hot water
3 tbs cooking oil
glitter (optional but pretty)
Mix dry ingredients together. Separate into containers if you want to do multiple colors. Add oil and food coloring to each batch. If you’ve separated colors, estimate the right amount of oil for each. Add hot water slowly and mix until the consistency is right. Too much water makes dough gooey and less fun to play with. But you can always add extra flour to work it out.
We like this recipe because it lasts a long time. Keep it in a sealed container. Refrigeration is helpful.
If you don’t add the glitter this is of course completely nontoxic, which is nice. Especially if you’re like me and have a near toddler to deal with as well as the older children.