Earth Day is here! The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, in the United States. Thanks to about 20 million individuals who came together that day, a movement began to increase environmental awareness, both in the US and the world. It also inspired lawmakers to enact legislation to protect our land and bodies of water.
Full disclosure: I have a long way to go in order to be able to say that I’ve “gone green” in my everyday living. As a busy mom, this is something that I struggle with on a regular basis. I don’t make New Year’s Day resolutions, but this year I am making some Earth Day resolutions. I am committed to making small, easy changes to leave a smaller carbon imprint on the world, and also to teach my children to respect and love the beautiful place in which we live. Earth Day is a great time to have some fun with it.
Here are some ideas to celebrate our amazing planet with your children:
1. Make a craft using repurposed items that would have been thrown in the trash:
I always save my toilet paper rolls. I never throw them out because there are so many things you can do with them, from crafts to making gift boxes. My youngest children are 1 and 3-years-old. Sensory toys and animals are a hit with them, so when I found this adorable bird-feeder made from toilet paper rolls, I just knew we had to make some! They were very easy:
- Paper tubes. You can use toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls cut in half.
- Peanut butter. You could also use an alternative nut butter or natural homemade glue.
- Bird seed.
- Spoon or wooden craft sticks, for spreading the peanut butter.
- String or twine
Pour some birdseed into a plastic container or deep plate. Spread peanut butter on the paper roll. My little ones loved this, and they probably ate more than they spread! Roll the peanut butter-laden roll in the birdseed.
Thread the twine or string through the roll and hang it up for the birds to nosh on! This activity was great for my toddlers, but would be fun for kids through school-age as well!
An EASY toy that I’ve made for my youngest is a sensory bottle. Just take a used, clean plastic bottle and put some fun items in it. You can use dried rice or corn, with some mini toys. You could also do a little water with some food coloring and glitter. Just super glue the cap back on. Kids really love shaking these up!
2. Participate in Oscar Scherer State Park’s 29th Annual Earth Day Celebration.
Bring your family and celebrate Earth Day at Oscar Scherer State Park. There will be live music, fun-filled activities for kids, various Earth friendly vendors and informational booths, guided hikes and more! Admission to the park and the event is free for participants!
Date: April 21, 2018, 10am-4pm
Oscar Scherer State Park
1843 S Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229
Other Earth Day events:
Check out our list of Sarasota Events in April for the SRQ Mom.
3. Make one simple change in your home with your family.
Change can be difficult. It’s easy to get into a rut favoring convenience over more environmentally friendly options. I’m guilty of using plastic water bottles, which is really one of the worst pollutants to our environment. I’ve been trying to justify it because I always recycle my bottles. In actuality, just producing those bottles wreaks havoc on our Earth. Americans use about 29 billion plastic water bottles per year, which takes about 17 million barrels of crude oil to manufacture. So I’ve committed to stop buying water. I now use a glass bottle for me and BPA-free plastic bottles for my little ones.
A few other simple ideas:
Ditch plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags and get some reusable containers for your lunch. Another option is to use cloth shopping bags instead of plastic. One advantage to those is that they hold A LOT more than plastic grocery bags, and tend to be easier to carry.
Try cloth diapers.
When I found out I was pregnant with my youngest we switched to cloth diapers. I’ll admit, going from disposable to cloth diapers doesn’t fall into the “simple” category, but it was worth it for us. If that is something you’ve ever considered, understand that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Some people use cloth only at home, or they use disposables only at night time. We take breaks from time to time when we’re really busy or when we travel. I figure that something is better than nothing, and every time I put a cloth diaper on my kiddo, that’s one disposable I’ve kept out of the landfill!
My kids are too young to really understand the environmentally-friendly changes we’re making, but as they grow we’ll continue to impress on them the importance of respecting our Earth. I encourage you to talk with your kids to come up with ways that you can honor Earth Day together by making little changes in your daily lives. I’d love to hear your ideas. Drop a comment below if you’d like to share your own journey, or ways that you’ll be celebrating Earth Day this year!