Posted Mar 29, 2019
Once just celebrated in the U.S., Earth Day has become the most popular non-religious holiday in the world recognizing the importance of taking care of our Earth. And it all began because one person, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, believed it was important to address and correct troubling environmental issues happening in the United States. Earth Day is proof that one individual can inspire positive change worldwide.
Earth Day is also an excellent time to encourage awareness and appreciation for our Earth by teaching your family to reduce, reuse, and recycle. There are many simple ways you can help—from bringing reusable bags to the store and ditching the plastic bags, to replacing disposable water bottles with refillable ones.
Our friends at SignUp.com have some great suggestions to get the whole family involved.
Children of all ages can learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Start early in order to teach kids that even small changes can have a big impact on the environment. They may also encourage older adults like aunts, uncles, and grandparents to do their part to help!
Pre-readers can learn to sort recyclables into color-coded bins. Enlist their help in decorating the bins themselves with pictures of cans, plastics, and papers so everyone knows what goes where.
Have older children collect books, DVDs, games, CDs, and magazines to be donated and reused by others.
High school-aged children can create a recycling-themed service project (some schools require a service project for graduation) like collecting coffee grounds to use in composting. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen which provides the energy needed to turn organic matter into compost.
Kids of all ages can collect used athletic shoes and donate them to Nike’s Reuse-a-shoe program, giving them new life as running tracks, courts, turf fields, gym floors, carpet padding, and playgrounds.
Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle
Brainstorm ideas as a family on ways you can cut down on the use of disposables. Switch to cloth napkins, reusable snack bags, digital subscriptions of newspapers and magazines–all of these reduce your carbon footprint as a family.
Make a pledge to do one earth-sustaining thing every week.
- Pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers.
- Do not purchase single-serve products.
- Give up bottled water for one day, or better yet, purchase refillable water bottles and give up plastic water bottles for good.
- Organize a carpool or if possible, walk or ride bikes to school/work.
- Purchase items in bulk to reduce packaging waste.
- Wrap gifts using newspaper or other recyclable materials like decorated brown paper bags
- Turn used paper and junk mail into art supplies or scrap paper (better idea: opt out of receiving junk mail all together)
Get creative! Decorate canvas shopping bags with paint or permanent markers and store them in the car for shopping trips. Create ‘found art’ sculptures out of packing Styrofoam, plastic bottles, and other discarded items. Make simple bird feeders by rolling toilet paper tubes in peanut butter and birdseed, hang with string.
Commit to recycling as a family. Research your area’s recycling program to find out what can and cannot be recycled. Some take all cardboard while others will not accept pizza boxes because of the food residue. Recycling as much as possible greatly reduces the amount of trash your family adds to the landfill.
Explore earth-saving options for recycling, reusing, and reducing waste by starting a school-wide green team. Up to 80% of school waste is recyclable and a school recycling program is a hands-on lesson that educates students about the environment, personal responsibility and community action. Kids can see first-hand how much of a difference they can make.
One of the best and simplest ways to celebrate Earth Day with your kids is to get out into nature!
- Unplug the whole family and have a picnic dinner at a local park, or even in the backyard.
- Plan a hike in a local green space or ride bikes together.
- Take a walk around the neighborhood, on the beach, or around a nature trail and bring along a trash bag to clean up any litter found along the way.
- Plant a vegetable garden or a tree together, or plant flowers in pots for the windowsill.
As a family outing, participate in a park clean-up day, or if none exists, organize a neighborhood-wide event using SignUp.com. Create a free SignUp listing clean up times, supplies and refreshments needed. SignUp sends automatic reminders and provides real-time eCalendar syncing. On the big day, simply take advantage of the teachable moment to help your younger kids gather trash and deposit in the proper bins. Older children can take charge of the refreshment station or hand out trash bags. SignUp.com even helps send out thank-yous after the event is over!
All of these small changes can have a huge impact on the environment. And getting your children involved from the time they are small helps ensure that they will grow up to be environmentally conscious!
This Earth Day, celebrate our planet in real and measurable ways. Start small or go big for lasting impact!
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