Earth Day is an excellent time to focus on nature and the importance of a healthy relationship with the Earth. This year's theme "Restore Our Earth" is an important one, considering the state of our planet. While the global pandemic has made gathering in large groups for community park clean-ups or school garden pollinator plantings unlikely in your area, there are many meaningful ways to celebrate Earth Day with your child.
For your family’s celebration of Earth Day, we believe that you can't go wrong helping a child strengthen their connection with nature. A connection with nature is one of the most vital ingredients for stewardship of the planet. Nature connection creates a sense of belonging to the wider natural world as part of a larger community of nature. In today’s times, this is crucial. To help conserve nature, we need to understand that we are a part of its larger community. Perhaps your child’s nature connection is through animals or nature play or fascination with the ocean.
To help your child understand the importance of Earth Day, help your child understand why we celebrate Earth Day and what makes this day different from others. The history of Earth Day reminds us of the importance of using our voices to speak up for nature. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans organized protests to demand environmental protection and a new way forward for our planet. That number of Americans represented 10% of the U.S. population at the time — which was such an incredible number that it got the attention of President Nixon. As a result, landmark clean air and water legislation, as well as the federal Environmental Protection Agency, grew out of it. Kids today just might be surprised to learn that there was plenty of youth activism on behalf of the planet before Greta. You can learn more about the story of Earth Day here.
Here are some ways you can celebrate Earth Day together!
Worms, bacteria, critters, garbage...composting is not appealing to many people, understandably. But composting is a fantastic way to teach your child about the cycle of life or the brown food web, the magic of microbes, and give them some responsibility around the house. Getting started is easy and you can choose the composting project that is right for your family. Learn more.
Become a Citizen Scientist
Memorizing science facts is fine but for a child to develop compassion for nature, and become a true environmental steward throughout their life, knowing nature means establishing a nature connection. Citizen science, or science done by nonscientists— and that includes children, is a great way to foster that connection. With just an internet connection and a commitment to the topic, citizen scientists help gather data for researchers that help them better understand the health and population of various species or the environment. Learn more.
Get a Game of Bingo Going
Yes, Bingo can help connect your child to nature. How? Childhood by Nature's version of Bingo means your family will be heading outside on some serious nature-based adventures. With such a wide range of options from nature art to forest bathing or rock climbing, there is a nature activity out there for everyone. We even created some printable Bingo cards ready for you to use! Learn more.
Adopt a Tree
We confess. We adore trees. They give us so much and ask so little. How to help your child develop a relationship with a tree? By befriending one of course! Befriending a tree is a great way for your child to learn about one of the most important living things on this planet— and one that is likely just outside their door. By becoming a friend to a tree, your child can learn not only about the vital role of trees, but they will develop an appreciation for these dependable but dynamic organisms. Visiting their tree year-round and noticing how it changes from season to season, will also help them tune into local ecology as well. Learn more.
While the scale of the biodiversity crisis is too enormous for one garden or backyard to fix, showing our children that a simple act like breaking from the norm of turfgrass lawn is a bold enough act to foster a healthier ecosystem, and influence others. Give your backyard a needed biodiversity boost by planting native plants that pollinators and other vital members of the local ecosystem need to survive and thrive. Learn more.
Take on the City Nature Challenge
If you missed out on Earth Day today, don't worry, there is still time to celebrate with your kids. Actually, you can honor Earth Day every day in our opinion. The City Nature Challenge is a three-day global event (April 30-May 3rd) that encourages people to look for wildlife in their community and post information about their discoveries on the app iNaturalist. In the past, the event has been a competition among cities to see who can find the most wild plants and animals. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 City Nature Challenge will not be focused on competition. Instead the organizers want to embrace the healing power of nature and celebrate tens of thousands of people all around the world, searching for and documenting their local biodiversity, together in this event. Learn more.