The blooms on the trees seem to be extra beautiful this year and the air is fresh and clear! As Earth Day comes upon us, it was a lot of fun to put this post together with both books and activities that celebrate this amazing and beautiful planet we call home!
With the days gradually lengthening and the colors of spring emerging, it is a great time to get outside and take it all in! It's also a good time to connect with nature, get inspiration from some great books and tap into your creative and nature-loving side!
We've put together both books and activities to go along with Earth Day that are fun for kids and help them feel connected to the earth and stories that round out the experience!
Read on for great books to read and fun ways to appreciate nature and celebrate Earth Day!
1. Go for a Walk or Hike!
Whether it's in your own neighborhood or on a hiking trail, it's a great way to appreciate nature, take in the fresh air and enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the great outdoors!
Sometimes we get organized, pack up the car and head out for a scenic hike!
And sometimes we just keep it local and walk to a pond in the next neighborhood!
Either way, the exercise, fresh air and sunshine are invigorating! Being free of distractions is an added bonus! We walk, talk and just focus on what's right in front of us! It's a great stress release!
2. Wish Boats
We did these several times over the years with different groups of kids and it was such a hit! It really doesn't have an age limit and older kids (teens) loved it just as much, if not more! than the younger kids!
They are made out of all natural materials and are such a symbol of hope and beauty.
Make sure you take photos! This is one for the memory books!
To Make a Wish Boat:
- Find something large to use as the boat - I've used bark and hosta leaves and both made great boats!
- Gather all-natural materials to decorate or put in your boat - flowers, petals, small leaves or twigs.
- Make a wish and 'launch' the boats into the water!!
3. Bird Watching!
Did you know that bird watching is good for your health? Not only is it interesting and a fun hobby, but it also has health benefits.
Researchers from a London University have found that "...bird watching helps people feel relaxed and connected to nature!" Click here for the complete article!
Become a bird mwatcher for the day - or just half an hour or so! Watch those beautiful and captivating winged creatures and feel your stress just fly away!
Franny B. Kranny is one of our very favorite picture books! It's super funny and the illustrations are terrific! It's a great book to go along with this activity!
Love learning about birds? Here is a link to some of the best bird magazines! Our favorite is Birds and Blooms!
4. Build a Fairy House!
It doesn't have to be complicated or super fancy, just a humble little structure will do!
We saw this delightful creation just yesterday while taking a walk!
We've made a few fairy houses in our time and the process is super fun! Just like the wish boats, aim for using all natural materials like bark, twigs, leaves, flowers, pine cones, and small pebbles (for walkways), etc..
Oh, and you can rename this activity if you're aiming for wider appeal and have kids that aren't into fairies!
It could be a home for a frog, chipmunk or some other small creature!
There are so many great books out there to spur on the imagination...!
Be sure to take a picture of your fairy house and tag us @mykidzbookshelf if you post it! We'd love to see your creation!
5. Do a Favorite Outside Activity!
Whether it's going for a bike ride, drawing with chalk or smelling the flowers, celebrate Earth Day by getting outside and enjoying it all!
6. Go On a Scavenger Hunt
There are a few ways to do this. Pick the one that works for you!
Make a list of things to look for in nature and check them off after you see them - a bird, squirrel, pine tree, pink flower, buds on a tree, etc.. The older the kid, the more specific you can be. For a younger child, just have them spot a bird, but for older kids, have them look for a type of bird, or specific tree, etc.
Another way to do a scavenger hunt is bring along a bag/container and have a list of small things to gather such as a leaf, small grey pebble, pine cone, flower, twig, etc..
Lastly, a photo scavenger hunt is a great way to keep the memory too! Make a list - same as above and take a photo of the child with his/her find! Great memories in the making! It also helps expand your scavenger hunt list! You could add 'take a pic of a cloud that looks like an animal,' 'take a pic of the tallest tree,' 'take a pic of a squirrel,' etc..
7. Make an Earth Day Inspired Snack or Dessert!
Whether it's 'Ants on a Log' or 'Dirt and Worms,' sweets and treats are a fun way to celebrate!
I Heart Naptime has some fun variations on the traditional 'Ants on a Log' snack!
Do you have a favorite snack or sweet recipe that goes along with Earth Day? Share in the comments below!
8. Grow or Plant Something!
Every Spring my neighbor plants pansies in her big planter by her front door. Pansies are pretty hardy and can handle the cooler temps of early Spring.
I always admire how beautiful they are! Those flowers really start the season off right with their beautiful colors when everything else is still just starting to bud and turn green!
This was the year the pansies would be planted! I was determined!
Our local co-op had some gorgeous violas (similar to pansies, but with smaller blooms) waiting there for me!
I was super excited! So, several viola plants came home with me and actually made it into to the dirt! Success! See above!
A great picture book that is both an award-winner and a hit with kids and adults, Miss Rumphius is a perfect read for Earth Day!
Click here (it's number 12 in the list) to find out more about this beautiful story!
Given that Earth Day was coming around the corner, we were motivated to get some veggie seeds planted! I was on a roll after the violas!
Well, luckily we found some packets of seeds that were hiding in the basket by our door that was originally put there to hold mail.
(Anyone who knows me (April) can attest that an organized home is an ongoing challenge!).
I was really excited, though, to find the seeds! They were a few years old, and may or may not sprout, but, I figured nothing ventured nothing gained! It couldn't hurt to try and sprout them!
Luckily we had some potting soil left over from last summer- perfect for my three year old seeds! I also had just transplanted some violas and had the leftover packs - so that worked for the nasturtium seeds.
And after searching through my indoor recycle bin, I found a plastic egg carton that would be perfect for the string beans and radish seeds!
A normal flower pot was enlisted for the basil seeds I discovered! The cilantro would have to wait.
If you want an earth-friendly and simple way to start some seedlings, here it is:
Find a plastic egg carton and cut the top off.
Poke a hole in the bottom of each egg cavity for drainage.
Place top of the egg carton underneath like a tray to catch any drained water or runaway dirt.
Fill the cavities with potting soil.
Put two seeds/beans in each cavity. You can put in one, but I had old seeds and wanted to make sure something grew!
Press seeds/beans down into dirt about an inch (check seed packets for specific depth) and cover with soil.
Gently water being careful not to over water.
Place carton on a sunny window sill.
Keep dirt moist- you don't want it to dry out.
In a few days, you should see some sprouting!
Transplant your sprouts to a vegetable bed or container according to your seed packet directions!
9. Stepping Stone
These are so much fun to do and look great in your garden, next to your porch steps or anywhere you want a little bit of natural flair! Made with natural materials, these are perfect for Earth Day!
10. Butterfly Garden
If you enjoy planting and helping out butterflies and other pollinators, consider planting a butterfly garden! There are many sites and resources to help you figure out what flowers and plants to include!