It's almost Earth Day! How will you celebrate? Earth Day is not a birthday, but we can still offer gifts and celebrate the Earth's annual trip around the sun. This year, let's celebrate Mother Earth with games, activities, and promises to take care of her.
The goal of Earth Day is to raise awareness about our collective need to protect our planet. The hope is that Earth Day creates an opportunity to educate and inspire people about the planet and the many ways our actions affect all living things that call Earth home. Earth Day is a chance for leaders of all ages and industries to come together and help focus on the action we need to take to create a better world.
No matter how old your students are, there are plenty of activities and action steps they can take to help protect the Earth and celebrate Earth Day. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions for each grade band.
Students in kindergarten through second grade are naturally curious. Harness their perpetual habit of asking questions and let it lead to greater awareness of the planet and the things they can do to help Earth.
#1 - Be Part of the Pollution Solution: National Geographic wants to help your students fight plastic pollution. This year, as you celebrate Earth Day, check out the Kids vs. Plastic resources that will educate your students about the harmful effects of plastic and encourage them to make a difference by reducing or eliminating its use. Filled with everything from educational videos to recipes and crafts, this site will be a phenomenal resource for not only Earth Day but every day as you seek to protect the planet.
#2 - Don't Just Wish. Help the Fish! This quick, engaging demonstration will help students see the effect that water pollution has on fish and other ocean wildlife. Using common classroom and household items like sponges, coffee grounds, salt, oil, and soap, you can create different habitats with different pollutants for each of your fish. Completing this experiment will help your students identify why it's so important to help keep our oceans clean.
#3 - Sensory Walk: The Earth is a beautiful place! That is why we need to do all we can to protect her. Help your students get in touch, literally, with Mother Nature through a sensory outdoor scavenger hunt. This sensory scavenger hunt printable will guide them to a variety of natural objects as they explore and appreciate the great outdoors.
Third through fifth graders are becoming more aware of their place in the community and the role they play in the world at large. Decisions they make, such as using a refillable water bottle or turning off lights in their bedroom, can make a big difference! Try these suggested resources and activities to help inspire them to action.
#1 - Virtual Walk in the Park: Guide your students through a virtual exploration of our national parks. Allow them to compare and contrast the different locations and develop an appreciation for the beautiful diversity found in nature. It's our job to protect these spaces by caring for the Earth. After visiting the park, ask your students to create a digital poster welcoming visitors and encouraging them to participate in Earth-friendly activities.
#2 - DIY Earth Day Gifts: Have you ever seen a seed bomb? These DIY gift ideas use construction paper, water, and seeds to create an easy-to-use, easy-to-give gift for friends and the planet. Drop them into a pot filled with soil and watch the flowers bloom!
#3 - Can You Comprehend It? If you're looking for Earth Day reading and writing activities, check out the custom-made writing books, critical thinking printables, and ready-to-use resources found at edHelper.com. These reading comprehension stories, biographies, and more will help expose your students to Earth Day using age-appropriate activities.
Middle school students will enjoy learning about creative inventions and students their age who are making a difference for planet Earth. Let these videos, biographies, and STEM challenges inspire them to be creative in the way they help celebrate Earth Day every day!
#1 - Want to Eat Your Water? Have you ever seen an edible water bottle? Did you know that it takes 700 years for one plastic water bottle to biodegrade? What if instead of having tons of plastic water bottle trash, we could eat and drink our water bottles? The Ooho edible water bottle may be the solution we've been looking for! Share this video about the new invention with your students and then challenge them to use that technology to create another waste-free single-serve option. What else might the Ooho team create using their new packaging?
#2 - Be the Change: Your students can make a difference! Allow these stories of young environmentalists to inspire them to take action and creatively seek solutions for many of Earth's problems. After learning about these environmentalists, challenge your students to brainstorm ways they can help the planet.
#3 - Did Someone Say Solar? Conserving energy is a great way to help care for the planet. What if we used energy from the sun to cook our meals outdoors? Encourage your students to build a pizza box solar oven. Can they use their new oven to warm up leftovers or create a tasty s'mores dessert?
Earth Day does not traditionally involve a cake, candles, and a roaring rendition of "Happy Birthday to You," but that doesn't mean you can't create a spread of delicious Earth Day-themed treats. Don't let a lack of cake keep you from celebrating. Let Earth Day and these activities be the catalyst that inspires your students to do their part daily to protect this planet we all call home.