The Captain and Little Bear enjoy a sunset on vacation

The Captain and Little Bear enjoy a sunset on vacation

Today is Earth Day! As you can imagine, I have all sorts of intricate and well-thought out ways to appropriately mark the occasion with my kids. Nope, just kidding. We are still easing back into the routine after vacation so everything has been a little chaotic around here lately but lucky for us, celebrating Earth Day doesn’t necessarily take a ton of planning and preparation. Here are some easy, no-prep ways to mark the day together.

Little Bear examines an expertly crafted fairy house before making his own.

Little Bear examines an expertly crafted fairy house before making his own.

  1. Build a Fairy House. Find a sheltered cozy spot outside and use sticks, leaves, or whatever else you can find to build a cozy home for a tiny fairy. My boys especially love checking the houses in the morning for signs of fairies!
  2. Feed some birds! Sprinkle some bird seed outside your window, or make your own bird feeder! Spread peanut butter on a pinecone or a piece of corrugated cardboard, then press into bird seed. Thread a piece of yarn through and hang it from a tree.
  3. Read a story outside. If it’s after dark, snuggle under a big blanket and use a flashlight or headlamp. There are tons of great choices for Earth Day including The Lorax and The Giving Tree
  4. Start your own wonder jar. Choose a nice glass or vase from in your house and fill it with beautiful and things you find outside. Put it somewhere you will see it every day and let it inspire you to find wonder in your environment.

    Little Bear doing some cloud spotting.

    Little Bear doing some cloud spotting.

  5. Just soak it in. Find a nice spot to sit, spread out a blanket if you want, and just sit. See if your child can sit and watch the sky for the same number of minutes as his/her age. Teach him or her to look for shapes in the clouds, birds or wind in the leaves.
  6. Go old school and make your world a better place. Clean up some trash and dispose of it properly.
  7. Educate your child about environmental issues. Talk to younger kids about water conservation or recycling. Talk to older kids about climate change and alternative energy. There are some great resources for this here.

    A full moon walk earlier this winter.

    A full moon walk earlier this winter.

  8. Take advantage of the first Earth Day full moon since 1997 and take your kids for a walk after dark to appreciate it.
  9. Eat a meal outside. Whether you have a picnic table or not, meals outside are a time efficient way to enjoy nature with your family. Spread a blanket on the grass, sit at an outdoor table, or just find a perch on the front steps.

Most importantly, whatever you do to recognize Earth Day with your kids today, make sure to explain to them why you’re doing something special. The first Earth Day was in 1970 and was the result of an idea from Gaylord Nelson, a US Senator from Wisconsin, who was inspired to organize a national “teach-in” that focused on educating the public about the environment after seeing the damage done by a 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. By continuing this pattern of environmental education for generations to come, we offer our kids the tools to recognize environmental issues and the heart to make a difference.