Earth Day is just around the corner, offering people of all ages the opportunity to celebrate the planet and take positive environmental action. From nature-based crafts in the garden to international concerts, there are plenty of Earth Day activities for you to do. Below are some of our favorites, but first, why did Earth Day begin?
What is Earth Day?
Running for more than 50 years, Earth Day is a celebration of support for environmentalism, held annually on April 22. It was born out of a proposal by peace activist John McConnell in 1969 and shaped into the Earth Day we know by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson and coordinator Denis Hayes, who created an environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. This brought out more than 20 million people and remains the largest single-day protest in history.
Hayes expanded Earth Day beyond the United States in 1990, organizing events in 141 nations around the globe. Today, it continues to be a day of activism, celebration, and activities across the world. Here are some ways you can get involved!
Earth Day Outdoor Activities
Part of Earth Day is about celebrating all things green, so getting outside this April 22nd is a must! This might be challenging depending on where you are this year, but whether you’re able to get to a forest, park, front yard, or balcony, here are some outdoor Earth Day activities to try:
Take a Nature Art Walk
This is an ideal Earth Day activity since it gives younger kids a focused activity to keep them engaged while getting outdoors. Take a stroll through great (or small) outdoors, and whether that’s your backyard or local park, there’s bound to be plenty of natural inspiration. Collect some old leaves, twigs, seeds, or fruits while ensuring that you don’t disturb any living things or cross local restrictions. Once you have a number of pieces gathered together, create an Earth Day-inspired mural on a large bed sheet placed on the ground. When you’re done, you can snap a picture to share online and return all your materials to the great outdoors, making it a zero-impact activity.
For something that lasts a little longer, you can also use air-dry clay to take impressions of the plants, sticks, and stones you find. Simply roll the clay into a ball and push the items into it until flat.
Get Educated in the Outdoors
Many people love the outdoors but know very little about it, especially the plants and trees in their own backyards. A great Earth Day activity is to create a nature scavenger hunt, where participants race to identify local species. Older kids and adults will be able to grow their knowledge of local flora, while younger children can be given simpler items to find such as a leaf, feather, and stick.
Once you’ve gained some experience, or in the company of a professional, you can narrow down the adult scavenger hunt to edible wild plants and combine the outdoor activity with an at-home Earth Day meal. There are plenty of resources available on the topic of food foraging, and it’s a great way to learn about forgotten foods and other edibles.
Earth Day Activities for Kids
Earth Day is typically a balance between positive action and celebration, offering the perfect introduction to environmentalism for the next generation. Parents and caregivers can make regular activities greener by trying to incorporate sustainable art supplies or teaching themes surrounding sustainability, as well as trying out some of these.
Recycled Musical Creations
There are a whole host of green activities that make the most of what would otherwise be trash. One of the most popular things to create is musical instruments. These can be anything from a shaker made of a tube and dried beans through a balloon-and-tin-can drum all the way up to a cardboard ukulele.
What you make depends largely on the age of your children and the materials you have on hand. Try not to buy any additional items in order to create an instrument, focus instead on what you already have (you never know what creative ideas the kids might come up with!).
Make Seed Bombs
Seed bombs are a blend of compost, clay, and seeds that are designed as a fun way to sow an area of ground with native flowers or other plants to help local ecology thrive. They are a great mix between crafting and gardening and offer an exciting Earth Day activity for kids with a direct positive impact! All you need to get started making Earth Day seed bombs is:
- Native seeds
- Peat-free compost
- Powdered clay or clay soil
You put everything in a mixing bowl and stir until you can shape it into small balls. The exact quantities and instructions can be found here. Once the balls have dried, you’ve successfully created seed bombs! Now they can be thrown on a baron patch of your garden or broken up in a flower bed.
Earth Day Activities for Adults
With its roots in appreciation and education, Earth Day is a time for people of all ages, and certainly not just for kids. Here are some activities for Earth Day for those who might even remember the first one back in 1970…
Pot those Plants
There is a good chance you have a green thumb just waiting to bloom, and Earth Day offers the perfect opportunity to get your hands dirty and begin your potted plant collection. Whether you live in an apartment on the 15th floor or have access to a giant backyard, you can’t go wrong with potted plants, and gathering together a table-top of materials as well as a partner (and ideally some friends) to get potting can be a fun and positive Earth Day activity. All you need is:
- Starter plants, seeds, or bulbs
Pretty simple! And for those who like to cook, this offers a great opportunity to start a fresh herb collection and use them to garnish your next meal.
Upcycle What You Already Have
While the kids are making musical instruments, adults can also turn to crafts by giving trash a new life through upcycling. One of the most popular things to upcycle is furniture, which can include giving existing pieces an upgrade or repurposing items like crates, driftwood, or rope into new pieces. However, there are plenty of other options out there including upcycling clothes, cardboard boxes, and even candles.
Candles, for example, can be upcycled by melting down old candle scraps and repouring them with new wicks in recycled containers. This allows you to take basic tealights and turn them into an Earth Day centerpiece.
Earth Day Digital Activities
Due to the ongoing pandemic, getting together for activities can be challenging, but there are plenty of ways to celebrate a socially distanced Earth Day! Of course, many of these Earth Day activities can be done at home, but there are also some Earth Day digital activities for greener screen time.
Host a Green-Themed Screening Party
Blend education and entertainment by hosting a screening party of environmental movies. There are a number of options on popular streaming platforms such as Netflix as well as plenty that are free to watch online, both short films and feature-length. To add a social element and spread the Earth Day message, consider hosting a digital watch party of one of these films rather than viewing it alone.
Earth Day Live
This year will see the second annual Earth Day Live, when earthday.org brings together “activists, educators, researchers, musicians, artists, influencers, and more” on April 22nd, 2021. This is a great way to feel connected to the wider Earth Day movement at a time when getting together can be hard.
In addition to these great Earth Day activities at home, it’s also worth checking out what has been organized around the planet by innovative changemakers using earthday.org’s interactive map. You can find events already planned in an area near you, or if you’re feeling more proactive, organize an event yourself and add it to the map!
Finally, if your business is looking to embrace zero waste, chat with one of our TRUE Advisors to get more insights on how you can optimize your waste management operations to ensure nothing goes to landfill.