Earth Day is such an incredible opportunity when it comes to parenting. Sometimes I honestly feel like I don’t know how to combat the overwhelming forces of smartphones, social media and television (even for myself), and it’s almost a relief to have a day specially dedicated to talking about, interacting with, and learning about our relationship to nature. And honestly… it serves as a pretty great reminder to me, too. As much as I tell my kids that it’s important to recycle, and not waste energy, and spend time outside, sometimes I’m the worst offender. Folks, that’s why we have Earth Day, so let’s take a moment to reset.
There’s so much I love about this holiday: it not only gives us the opportunity to talk about environmental stewardship, it also gives us the opportunity to get outside, get our blood pumping and get our hands dirty. So I did a little research and came up with a collection of fantastic crafts that will not only start a conversation about nature (how it works, and what we need to do to take care of it) and over-consumption, it’ll get your kids outside.
Plus… the whole doctrine of “don’t buy, DIY” was kind of made for Earth Day.
These beautiful, graphic prints not only encourage your kids to wander around in nature looking for their favorite shapes, but they also teach your children a little about the awesome power of light. (Spotted on Martha Stewart.)
DIY sidewalk chalk:
Earth Day is about teaching your children the value of conservation, but also, getting them to love and appreciate being outside in the great outdoors. This homemade sidewalk chalk not only teaches them to prioritize DIY-ing over buying, it helps them play outdoors and get their hands a little dirty. (Spotted on PBS Kids.)
Recycled plastic bag jump ropes:
Despite our best intentions, sometimes the plastic bags just start piling up. Here’s a great way to repurpose a whole bunch of them, teach your children the value of creative up-cycling, and on top of that, help those little guys get a little exercise in the great outdoors. (Spotted on Compassion.com.)
Ice boat floats:
How cute are these? Imagine the fun your kids could have the next time there’s a rain storm and a giant puddle forms. With these mini ice boats slowly melting away, there’s sure to be some delightful drama. (Spotted on PBS Kids.)
Recycled can bird feeder:
I just love this bright, cheery bird feeder. This project will not only teach your kids a thing or two about recycling, once the feeder’s up-and-running, chances are they’ll be outside checking to see if they’ve had any takers. (Spotted on Momtastic.)
Recycled newspaper kites:
Who needs a store-bought, plastic kite, when a bit of old newspaper will do just fine. Do you remember how exciting it was to finally finish making a kite and run outside looking for that perfect spot and perfect breeze? And then when your kite finally took off, it was somehow immensely gratifying. This is an Earth Day must. (Spotted on Buggy and Buddy.)
Reverse crayon rubbings:
Tell your kids to start a collection of their favorite leaves (it’s quite possible they already have one going.) Sit down with their collection and have them explain to you why they love the leaves they chose. This will not only re-enforce the idea that their tastes matter, but it also makes space for a little love and appreciation of the beauties of the natural world. Then celebrate their collection using some scrap paper, a white crayon, and water colors. Check out the full tutorial on Art 4 Little Hands.
Recycled milk carton bird feeder:
Teaching your kids about stewardship is so important. Giving them the opportunity to create homes for fellow animals is a great way to encourage a sense of responsibility, and remind them of their relationship with the natural world. Throw a little recycling in there and it’s a Earth Day craft made in heaven. (Spotted on Handmade Charlotte.)
A Naturalist’s collection:
Why not create a little naturalist’s scavenger hunt for your kids. Make a list (on scrap paper), of things they need to find outdoors that come from nature; for example, something with the color red, something that would be useful if you were a bird making a nest, something that fell off a tree, etc. Then go over your collection together, maybe come up with a story about it, and turn the collection (once cleaned) into a pretty bohemian mobile. (Spotted on Bloglovin.)