The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is coming up on April 22, 2020 and there’s no better time to start (or continue) teaching children about keeping our planet healthy.
We know it’s not so easy to get outside these days as we are sheltering in place safely inside due the widespread COVID-19, but there are ways we can honor the great outdoors from our homes. If you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space like a lawn or backyard, there are ways you can play and learn about nature with outdoor toys and games. If you don’t have a backyard, don’t worry, there are amazing indoor planters, arts and crafts projects, and books you can read.
Once we are able to go back to safely explore our parks and wildlife, author Maria Dolan suggests some great activities that families can enjoy together:
- Make the most of walks. Park a few blocks away from school or a birthday party. On the way in, ask your child what he sees, hears, and smells, or challenge him to a game of “I Spy” (“I spy two things that are puffy and white!”).
- Plant a mini-garden. Even a small pot on a back porch or windowsill can do the trick. Peas and catnip are notoriously good sprouters.
- Invest in a few tools. For under 20 bucks, you can buy a toy-store bug viewer. Or try a pair of binoculars turned around, which magnify.
- Visit the water’s edge. Find the nearest beach, pond, lake, or puddle and plant yourselves beside it — you’ll be surprised how a pool of water sparks kids’ curiosity.
- Find nature near you. At GreenHour.com, a new site from the National Wildlife Federation, you’ll find easy suggestions — many from other parents — for activities kids can do right outside your door, no matter what the season, whether you live in a suburb or a city. Click on “NatureFind” to locate a park or recreational area near you.
In the meantime, we rounded up some wonderful green activities and books to help kids learn about our planet. Check them out below.