Our beautiful earth houses us and sustains life every single day. What a wonderful opportunity we have to observe and honor Earth Day on April 22!
Here are a few fresh ideas for celebrating Earth Day with kids. Some are simple, some are a little more involved. Hopefully, you’ll find something here that will get you excited about celebrating the earth.
Make a bird feeder.
Take an empty paper roll (toilet paper, paper towels, etc) or a pinecone and cover it in peanut butter. Then roll it in birdseed and hang it outside for the birds to enjoy.
Create a butterfly habitat in your yard.
If you have space and resources, plant native flowers in a sunny area of your yard. Any local nursery should be able to direct you to some native plants that will attract and support butterflies.
Plant a tree.
Indian Creek Nature Center has a great article about how to properly plant a tree, with a link to the best trees to plant in our community. Pick native trees to best support our ecosystem! Planting trees in your yard can also increase property value and help lower cooling costs during the summer months.
Consider supporting a local organization that promotes the environment while also supporting our community.
- Feed Iowa First has a mission to “make sure residents of Linn County, no matter their socioeconomic class, have access to healthy nutritious food.” As they grow produce to donate to the community, they also support the environment. They have established programs for local residents to donate surplus from their garden to be given to others in the community who need it. Or you can even donate a few rows of your garden to growing produce specifically for the organization.
- Don’t have a garden? Consider volunteering to help weed, water, or harvest a garden they have in the community.
- Matthew 25 “empowers people to transform neighborhoods.” Part of their program is focused on “empowering kids and families to grow, eat, and preserve fresh, high-quality food right in their own neighborhoods.” You can buy a share in their Community Supported Agriculture weekly produce subscription or you can donate part of the cost of a subscription to help low-income households participate in the program, too. Check out their websites for more information!
Resolve to avoid using pesticides in your yard.
Let the dandelions grow and don’t put anything on your lawn that can harm pollinating insects.
Find a simple way to explore nature.
- Go on a scavenger hunt with a goal to find a rock, a stick, a bug, a leaf, a flower, a tree, a spider, etc. For older kids give a more complex list including different types of flowers or trees or maybe look for a flower of every color in the rainbow.
- Go on a hike and see how many different birds you can spot. Check out some local nature trails like Morgan Creek Arboretum, Indian Creek Sac and Fox Trail, Rock Island Botanical Preserve, or Pinicon Ridge Park.
Take some time to slow down and really observe nature, then talk about it.
Discuss why some plants have thorns or thistles. Explain how worms help create nutrient-rich soil and help plants grow. Why are leaves flat? Why are some rocks smooth and others rough and bumpy?
Join the Cedar Rapid’s City Manager’s One Bag Challenge.
Pick up a bag from a designated location and fill it with litter from your neighborhood or anywhere in the community that has the need. The filled bags can be placed next to your GARBY on your trash collection day and will be picked up at no extra cost. Your littles can help you fill a bag, or older kids could be challenged to fill their own.
These are just some of the many ways you can observe Earth Day with your kids! What other ideas do you have?
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