- Written by Lea Hanson Lea Hanson
Make Earth Day an opportunity to appreciate and be grateful Earth Day was created in 1970, an idea from, by then U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Celebrating Earth Day as a family brings opportunities to teach and learn about various concepts including grassroots movements, impact of elected leaders, and, of course, environmental wellness and conservation.
Too often, we view Earth Day as a simple and fun springtime holiday to finally get the kids outdoors after a long winter. And while there's nothing wrong with having fun on a day on which we can celebrate our values of conservation and love the outdoors, it is also important to help our kids learn about the deeper meaning of this important day. Teaching our kids to care about the planet at a young age is giving them a gift: a gift of gratefulness and appreciation of the environment.
Leading by example
As parents, we know our kids learn by watching what we do; and this includes both our good and bad behaviors. This piece of parenting has a big impact on our lives every day, and Earth Day is no different. Challenge yourself so when your kids watch you, they are watching you work to protect and preserve the environment.
Here are some easy ways to show kids what Earth Day is about:
- Not littering
- Taking recyclable materials to a recycling center
- Turning out lights when not in use
- Not wasting water
- Program the thermostat to be more energy efficient
- Reusing and repurposing rather than using disposable items
It’s essential to not only do these things but also talk about why these practices are important and align with your family values. Kids will follow in your footsteps once they understand the value in what they're doing.
Fort Collins Earth Day Celebration
This year, Earth Day is Saturday, April 22. In Fort Collins, one of the bigger outing destinations is the Sustainable Living Fair at Civic Center Park from 11am – 5pm. The event is free and donations of non-perishable items for donation to the Food Bank of Larimer County will be collected. This year’s event includes: Informational booths and displays, a Kids Zone with Arts & Crafts, live music including Ginger Whale, speakers, and local food and a beer garden.
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt
Send the kids outside or to the park to compete and Earth Day scavenger hunt. Or, bring the hunt on a hike and encourage kids to notice new things about nature, assist in making their neighborhood/environment a cleaner place, and simply enjoy being outside. Create something using some of the following ideas based on your child’s age or interest.
- Pick up ten pieces of litter
- Two types of yellow flowers
- Five different types of leaves
- A spider (don’t touch it!)
- Frog, toad, or lizard (keep it safe!)
- Three types of birds (describe them)
- Heart-shaped rock
- Three types of pinecones
- A feather
- Draw four different tress
- A white rock
- A mushroom (don’t touch it!)
- A bird’s nest (leave it alone!)
- Four different colored flowers
- Two types of insects