Earth Day is all about caring for the environment. It started with a desire to protect air, water, and endangered species for generations to come. It has grown to include a focus on the dangers of global warming and the need for clean energy. All of these can feel like a tall order, and our first job as parents is to bring awareness to our children in an age-appropriate way.
One way to do this is to first inspire a love of the earth and all the wonderful diversity of our world. We can also foster the idea of tending as a way of showing respect for nature and of honoring the many gifts that surround us.
For Earth Day, we have put together a scavenger hunt. The idea is first to be outside, whatever the weather. Next, it’s to perform some act of service for the spaces dear to you. This might be clearing litter from the roadside, prepping the garden for the growing season, or just cleaning up the backyard. We have found that such tasks can lose their joy quickly for little ones, so having another activity in your pocket to just keep a child engaged and outside can extend the celebration.
Below is a list we put together of things you might look for while you’re outside. Make it fun, be lighthearted, and maybe add a little party to the end of your work.
- 1 bag of litter (remember bags come in all sizes, so pick the right sized bag for each participant)
- 4 types of trees
- 2 friendly dogs
- earthworms (How many can you find without disturbing their work?)
- 1 busy bee
- 1 butterfly (Are they even awake where you live?)
- 1 blue jay
- 1 robin (Are the birds singing today?)
- 1 tree to climb
- 4 neighbors
- 3 types of grass
- 1 wildflower (Have any started to bloom?)
- An ideal spot for a break
- 1 hill to roll down
- 1 anthill
- 1 caterpillar
- 1 perfect stone
- 1 spider
At the end of the day, reflect with your child on all you’ve accomplished; perhaps you can draw their attention to any observable changes like a tidier walkway or garden beds ready to be planted. And for Earth Day, you might commit to yourself and the generation at your knee to keep doing your own small part to make our world a little better for a little longer.