Earth Day is the perfect day of the year to give back to the planet. Spring has arrived, and there’s lots to do both indoors and outdoors that can help you do your part. This year, try to incorporate Earth Day activities for kids, too, which may not be as hard as you think. With a bit of planning, this April 22 could be one of the best Earth Days your family has ever had. Here are some great ideas to help you get started.
The team at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona wants to help you. Check out these tips, and don’t be afraid to venture out to find some more simple ideas that can make a big impact.
#1: Clean Up Around Your Home
Cleaning the area around your home is a great first place to start when tackling litter. If your neighborhood needs a bit of a clean-up – or the local park or playground – make it your task to get the work done. Come to your local Goodwill location to pick up the items you need to make this process easy. This may include a few outdoor gardening tools to help you rake away the debris. You may even find some items that are perfect for scooping up debris and waste items. You may also find the gloves you need to keep yourself safe while doing this.
#2: Plant a Tree to Give Back
You can often find things like shovels and hole diggers that can help you plant a tree or two this year right at Goodwill as well. You may be able to visit your local home improvement store or garden center and ask them if they will donate a few trees for your cause.
If you make the decision to go this route, make sure that you have permission to plant the tree. You can always do this on your own property, too. Make sure the kids get a chance to help with the digging process. Teach them about soil conditions and how important clean water is to the tree’s growth and development. This may also be a good time to discuss pollutants with your kids, so they know how to protect the environment around them.
#3: Gather and Donate Clothing
Did you know that more than 200 million pounds of material are diverted from local landfills each year through our recycling program at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona? It all starts with you and the actions you take at home.
Earth Day is the perfect day to do just that. Take a few minutes to go through your child’s clothing as well as items in your closet. Instead of tossing them out, talk to your children about the importance of donating them instead. You could mention how these items are going to stay out of the landfill and end up in the hands of others who can use them. Recycling like this just makes sense no matter who you donate them to.
#4: Find Out What Free Programs Are Happening in Your Community
While Earth Day is often about going outside and cleaning up, there’s a lot of education that needs to go into the process, too. That is, you really need to be able to help your child learn the importance of caring for the family.
Look to your local library or government offices to find out what type of free or fun activities they have planned for this day. There may be some books you can borrow to help explain more on their comprehension level. Local schools may be participating in fun activities, too. The more involved your child is, the better. What they learn now will turn into good habits down the road.
#5: Start a Recycling Program in Your Home
There’s no better place to teach recycling than with your own trash for families that want to make a big impact and do it right from home. Get the family together to discuss all of the potential ways to reduce how much waste you have each day. You can set up a recycling center in your home to help with managing the process. Be sure to encourage the kids to do this on their own and then manage it as a family.
#6: Make a Few Purchases This Year from Goodwill
Just as you’ve donated items this year to Goodwill to help others, it is also a great time to turn to your local Goodwill to make a few purchases. Bring the kids along. For example, they may need some new shorts this summer or some new toys for the outdoors. Visit Goodwill as a first stop.
Then, talk to them about the value of buying used. It’s their way of recycling – giving items another chance at use and keeping those items out of the landfill. This is a fantastic habit to have your kids learn early on. They can appreciate it later, too.
#7: Do Some Refreshing in the Backyard
If you have an outdoor area to enjoy, why not find a way to make it a bit more friendly to the animals that share this place with you? You can work with your children to build a few birdhouses at home. You may be able to place a birdbath or a few feeders for the birds in the area. You can also do simple things like get rid of any trash that may be tucked under the bushes and remove any dangerous toys or metals from the grass that could hurt an animal.
#8: Plant a Garden
You may be able to find all of the shovels and planting materials that you need available to you at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona. It doesn’t have to be a large garden – you can even start with a planter in which you place a few vegetables. Teach your child the benefit of gardening, such as how to do so without chemicals and how important it is to focus on locally sourced foods. This is also a great time to visit a farmer’s market.
#9: Go on a Nature Walk
The entire family can head out on a long nature walk together. Visit a local park or a place where you get to hike into a forested area. Talk about the habitats of the many animals that are out there. You can help your children learn how to spot natural habitats for animals. This can open the door to conversations about how to protect those areas.
#10: Make Some Changes at Home
Earth Day Activities for kids don’t have to end on that day. Instead, incorporate small changes in your home that can have a big impact. For example, stop buying plastic water bottles and switch to reusable ones. Talk about food waste and create menus for the week that everyone enjoys to limit tossing out food.
Earth Day is a fantastic time of the year to explore the simple things you can do to make a big difference in the world around you. Doing that with your family is always the best way.