April 22 marks Earth Day -- a day when we celebrate and protect the planet we call home. And while you can lecture your kids about not littering and global warming until you're blue in the face, you can make these lessons a lot more fun with a few simple tweaks.
To get your kids excited about Earth Day, try these crafts and activities that teach them a thing or two about the importance of planting trees, recycling, and saving the environment.
1. Take Care Of A Tree
Planting a tree is an Earth Day favorite, and this free printable tree-planting kit by chickabug makes this activity even more fun. It comes complete with a tag kids can tie to the tree to claim they've planted it, an official "tree caretaker" pledge, instructions on planting, and more. All you need to add is the tree!
2. Create A Collage
Who doesn't have a ton of old magazines lying around? Rather than throwing them out -- and adding more trash to the environment -- have your kids cut them up to create this Earth Day collage.
3. Create Your Own Tote
Every year, more than 500 billion plastic bags from grocery stores pollute the Earth, and there's a fun and easy way your kids can help curb this scourge: they can create their own tote! These instructions at instructables are as easy as it gets, and geared for non-sewers.
4. Upcycle The Earth
Why recycle when you can upcycle, finding cool new uses for old things? And we think there's no better way to pay homage on Earth Day than to upcycle the Earth itself. If you've got an old spinning globe sitting around gathering dust, just think of how much more attention it'll get if you turn it into a upcycled globe lamp.
5. Plant a Toilet Paper Tube Garden
Combine two tenets of Earth Day -- planting plants and recycling -- by having your kids build a toilet paper tube garden. After all, recycling those tubes puts less trash in the environment, plus when you fold in the bottom, they make the perfect first home for seedlings.
6. Recycle Paper
Rather than just tossing your kids' old computer printouts in the recycling bin, how cool would it be for Earth Day to actually make recycled paper yourself? It's actually much easier than you think, and most of the gear required is likely lying around your house. Plus it'll help your kids see recycling in a whole new, hands-on light.
7. Build Litterbugs
This craft from We Are Teachers -- where kids recycle trash into "litterbugs" -- does double duty. You not only drive home that littering is bad, but make cute critters to help your kids remember the lesson.
8. Make A Lorax
If you've read Dr. Seuss's The Lorax, you're aware that this little orange guy is the poster child of environmentalism. So, consider reading this book in honor of Earth Day, and creating this cute craft out of upcycled toilet paper tubes.
9. Build An Energy Bike
If you want to drive home just how much electricity it takes to, say, power your kid's Sony PlayStation -- and you've got an old exercise bike sitting in your basement -- you will whip your kids into an Earth Day frenzy if you turn it into an energy bike! It's not as hard as you think; a trip to the hardware store for an amp meter and a few other cheap parts will do the trick.
10. Draw Up an Earth Day Bucket List
Kids can even celebrate Earth Day by doing the simplest of things -- like turning off the water when they brush their teeth, or picking up a piece of trash they spot outside. To show kids all the easy ways they can help save the earth, consider drawing up your own Earth Day bucket list of printing out this great sample to-list from Chickabug, which includes things like turning off the lights when you leave the room or donating old clothes to a charity.
Wow, did you know it's so easy to create recycled paper yourself in #6?