Today’s kids have been born during a time when environmental concerns are taking centre stage—and rightfully so. Climate change caused by human activities is resulting in droughts, floods and extreme temperatures around the globe, and it’s also warming the earth at a rate that we’ve never seen before.1
According to WWF2, left unchecked, climate change could:
- see sea levels rise, impacting 1 billion people by the year 2050,
- result in ice-free arctic summers,
- create more frequent and severe heatwaves that will affect hundreds of millions of people,
- increase the risk of damaging floods, and
- put a variety of animals, insects and plants at risk as habitats are lost.
Because of this reality, kids have a greater understanding of the need to protect the earth than we may have had as children. Environmentalism is woven into educational materials, and the message that we need to save the planet is easily accessible to children in the media they consume.
They are primed to be wonderful stewards of the earth, and Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to help them become more engaged in environmental activities and initiatives that you can do together as a family.
Earth Day Activities for kids
Plant a garden. If you don’t have space, a container garden filled with herbs on your patio, balcony or deck is a great way to get kids thinking about how things grow and where their food comes from. Start your plants from seed so kids can experience the entire growth cycle and better understand why it’s so important to take care of the ground and the water we use to nourish the food we eat.
Connect with nature. Take your kids on a nature walk—even if it’s just around your own garden—and really explore the tiny miracles all around you. There might be buds about to burst open, tiny insects marching and buzzing in the garden and birds and squirrels playing in the trees. Talk about how important it is for all these beautiful things to stay healthy, and how much the health of the earth itself matters to everything we see in nature—including ourselves.
Feed the birds. You can feed birds all year long, not just during the winter. But their dietary needs change, so if you’re planning to make a birdfeeder for your feathered friends, make sure you fill it with fuel they need at this time of year. These kid-friendly DIY bird feeder ideas can help you build a fantastic feeding station for your garden or outdoor area.
Brainstorm ways your family can make a difference together. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of a problem like climate change. Impress upon children that together we can make a big difference even if we’re doing things that may seem small. All those small things done by millions of people around the world really do make an impact. Brainstorm things your family can change (using less paper, using shampoo bars instead of shampoo that comes in plastic bottles, walking or biking instead of driving, being more diligent about recycling), and things you can do (turn off lights you’re not using, use cloth bags instead of plastic ones, safely clean up litter you see in your neighbourhood) to help save the planet.
Talk about upcycling. This is a great way to introduce the idea that our resources are not unlimited. Reusing old things is a good way to give them a second life and keep them out of landfills—and it’s fun! Look around your house and see what you can do with things you no longer need or use. Can you turn a plastic bottle into a bird feeder? Can your birthday wrapping paper be leftover fabric instead? Can you make those too-short jeans into cute summer shorts? Can that old t-shirt become a cool, no-sew tote bag? Can that old coffee can light up your patio or turn into a fun Halloween decoration or pumpkin lantern?
Watch some fun, free educational videos online. Videos for early learners can help to introduce concepts like recycling, making environmentally sound choices and how even kids can help save the planet.
There is so much we can all do to help protect the future for generations to come.
Last Earth Day, Foresters Financial announced the launch of Growing a Better Future, our long-term sustainability vision, and partnered with Evergreen, an organisation working to create cities that are livable, green and prosperous.
We also partnered with great organisations like Whole Kids Foundation, and will be partnering with Conservation Foundation to offer a series of pollinator activities for member families to help increase awareness of the role of bees in the food chain, and to build a better understanding about where our food comes from.
Our goal should always be to leave the world a better place than we found it. Helping to teach children the importance of protecting the planet by becoming environmental stewards is certainly one way to achieve that end. Click here to see what else we’ve been up to.
Happy Earth Day!