Earth Day: 5 CREATIVE Ways Your Family Can Help Our Planet

Earth Day is April 22nd. Quick: how will you be celebrating? For many of us, Earth Day comes and goes each year with barely an acknowledgement, but it can be a great (and important!) holiday that both celebrates the beauty of our home planet and raises awareness about things we can do to help it.

There are many traditional ways to celebrate Earth Day: Plant something, hike something, clean something up, which are all great ideas. However, if those fail to inspire you this year, here are five fun and meaningful ways your family can mark Earth Day together:

1) Ban Plastic for a Day

Pick a day when every member of the family learns about plastics in our environment and tries not to touch any plastic. Yes, it will be impossible. If you need to apply sunscreen, you’ll be grabbing a plastic bottle. If you ride on a bus, you may very well sit upon a hard plastic seat. And you’ll really run into plastic when you try to prepare a meal. But the effort you spend trying to avoid plastic will help your family understand how truly ubiquitous the stuff is. Make it into a game and consider going so far as to give up certain activities or foods for the day if they require contact with plastic. Wind down the day by looking at photos online of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and discussing how plastic never really goes away. Brainstorm together one way that your family can reduce your plastic use.

2) Host an Earth Day Party

Invite your friends, family, and/or neighbors for this celebration. Ask each guest to bring a special dish in honor of Earth Day. Maybe it’s organic, maybe it’s local, maybe it’s an unusual fruit or vegetable. You could even create an edible, earth-themed sculpture with interesting fruits and vegetables. Break out some fun kitchen tools and get creative! Before your guests dig in, ask each person to talk about their contribution to the meal and what makes it earth-friendly. You could even incorporate some fun taste tests: organic vs. not organic, or free range eggs vs. commercial eggs.

3) Hold a Council of All Beings

Ask each family member to choose a favorite life form (plant or animal) and make a mask or costume for it. Come together for a special feast and ask each being to share how they contribute to the Earth and also what challenges they face. Some ideas to make this event extra special: gather outside around a candle or campfire, only eat foraged foods (dandelions, edible flowers – but be careful! No poisonous berries!), finish with an Earth Dance. Children will love both the solemnity of the council meeting and the silliness of their parents role playing in masks.

4) Launch a Family Fundraiser

Choose an earth cause that is close to your family’s heart, then work together to raise money for it. You could plan a garage sale, a bake sale, a lemonade stand, a penny drive. The possibilities are endless. Kids love the responsibility of working toward a goal and feel a real sense of accomplishment when they have been able to contribute money to a cause they care about.

5) Get Outside and Make an Earthy Craft

Start with a dollar store birdhouse, then embellish it with nature items to make a fairy house in the corner of your garden. Scavenge for interesting seeds, leaves and flower petals, then glue them onto a sheet of paper to create your own fairy portrait. Use your imagination to build a shelter for the worms, birds, bugs or any other critter you think might call your yard home. Make a sign for your house by arranging stones, sticks, or flowers to spell out your family name. Photograph it and you will have a nice souvenir of your time outdoors enjoying Mother Earth on her special day.