Every year on April 22, Earth Day is celebrated across the globe as a way for humankind to give back to the Earth that has given us life. What better way to do this than by connecting with and protecting Mother Nature? Celebrate Earth Day at home with these fun and educational activities.
Wear a "rainbow of nature." "Plan a family day outdoors where everyone wears their favorite colors and explores how they connect to nature," suggests Lisa Matthews of the Riverbend Environmental Education Center in Gladwyne, PA. "While wearing your colors, try reading a book about nature, like The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein."
Follow the tweets. Matthews suggests familes "go on a search for nests and see what kinds of birds are living in your neighborhood."
Bug out. "Get a shovel and magnifying glass and take them to the backyard," says Matthews. "Hunt for worms and other insects and compare them to others you may have seen."
Power down. "When you're not using lights or electronics (such as TV, a computer or video games), turn them off," advises Kristy Ranieri of Sustainable Jersey in Ewing, NJ. "A group of items such as a TV, computer and lamp could be plugged into a power strip with an on/off switch — turn off the strip when the items are not in use."
Compost office. "Plant an organic garden at home and create compost for it," says Ranieri. "Some of the foods we throw away can be composted to enrich the soil in gardens. You will greatly reduce the garbage you throw away."
Whichever way you decide to go green, Ranieri suggests keeping track of each family member's contributions to the effort and picking a winner at the end of the day.
Treats and food
Sweet suite. Bake up some Earth Day-inspired cupcakes, cookies or cakes, using blue and green frosting for an "Earthy" feel. If you prefer a colder confection, try one of Julie's Organic Ice Creams, made with the milk of organically fed cows.
Delicious and nutritious. Salads made with organic vegetables and fruits help teach good eating habits. Visit your local farmer's market and community garden to give your kids an up-close-and-personal way to learn about nature and the food they eat.
Arts & crafts
Natural knicknacks. Incorporate nature into creative at-home projects. KinderArt, a website with free art lesson plans for kids, has a list of inexpensive Earth Day arts & crafts activities that can easily be done at home, including a bird feeder, painted rocks and "egg cup" flowers.
Ode to Earth Day. To encourage self-expression, family members can write an Earth Day-inspired poem or sing an Earth Day-related song, such as Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi."
Earth Day was created to celebrate and learn about nature and our planet. Visit Earthday.org to learn more about the global Earth Day movement.
Charles Abankwa is a MetroKids intern and Temple University journalism student.