Celebrate Earth Day with sunshine, crafts, and activities

Earth Day is April 22 and offers a most-excellent opportunity to get kids outside.  Indoors or out, this annual event is also a great tie-in with today’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) focus.  Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” but why make it all or nothing? Add a splash of creativity and up the fun factor exponentially.

The Tinkerlab blog “for mini makers + inventors” offers “50 Earth Day Activities for Kids.”  (This creative blog is a wonderful year-round source for age-appropriate art and science projects for little ones, starting with babies and toddlers!) Blogger Rachelle Doorley writes, “Earth Day is our annual reminder to slow down and appreciate the bounty of the earth.” She suggests that the activities, which include Fabric Sunprints, “a science experiment and art project wrapped up in one” and Nature Box Dioramas from Art Club Blog,  “will encourage children to create objects from natural and recycled materials and spend more time outdoors.”

For even more things to do, Mark Lallanilla, Green Living Expert for About Home, offers “8 Great Earth Day Activities for Kids.”  One of the ideas includes visiting a local zoo or aquarium. Lallanilla writes, “Most zoos and aquariums are planning special Earth Day festivities especially for the young ones, who can learn first-hand about the natural environment, the plants and animals living there, and why it's important to save them.”

To continue the critter theme, make a menagerie of recycled animals using cardboard egg carton cups. Enchanted Learning gives directions for making a caterpillar, ladybug, spider, camel, and bat. Along with the egg cartons, supplies include using crayons or markers, scissors, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and a cork for the camel's head.

Lallanilla also notes that with birds migrating back north, it’s an ideal time to help them fuel up by making a quick and easy feeder (also from Enchanted Learning) using a pine cone, some string, and peanut butter or lard that can also be mixed with seeds, oats, corn meal or nuts.

DLTK-Kids.com offers Earth Day crafts and activities for kids, including coloring pages and posters, games and puzzles, poems and songs, and themed worksheets, including an Earth Day word search.

One of the best ways to help kids become caring, responsible stewards of the environment is to increase their knowledge of the world around them. The State of Confusion app for ages 5-7, helps inspire a love for and knowledge of the United States, while promoting social studies success. Kids start off learning key facts about the 50 states, including state capitals, state abbreviations, state flowers, state birds, state flags, and state nicknames. Next, they put together a USA puzzle that helps them learn state names, the location of each state, and which states are next to each other. Then they can take a quiz to test what they’ve learned.

The Word Search People & Places workbook for ages 8 and up, sharpens vocabulary, geography, and history skills and also includes reference maps that help strengthen world geography and map-reading abilities. The easy-to-read descriptions introduce third and fourth graders to intriguing places, remarkable people, and fascinating animals. It’s a wonderful way to past the time while traveling, waiting for appointments, or sitting at home on rainy days.

One of the simplest, sweetest ways to celebrate Earth Day? Take a hike, and help kids take in the smells, colors, and textures of spring along the way. It burns calories and builds memories!