#1 Head to Your Local Science Museum
Take your children to a science museum for the day. Many science museums offer special celebrations, exhibits and even pricing on this special day. It’s a great way for the entire family to get out. And children will be able to engage with the exhibits and learn a variety of things about the earth.
This special day, which is an annual event celebrated each year on April 22nd, is right in the midst of planting season. Your children can learn about the importance of this day by getting their hands dirty. Plant a tree. Plant a vegetable or herb garden. Or consider planting flowers. Use compost, organic fertilizers and natural materials to decorate your garden. The planting teaches children about what the earth can provide. Using organic and natural gardening materials provides you with an opportunity to discuss chemicals, toxins, and other things people do to harm the earth. Many local organizations may have group outdoor planting activities as well, so check in with your local paper or television stations for any special events for the day.
#3 Take your children to a landfill or recycling center (or both)
Landfills are depressing places. However, the experience of visiting a landfill will undoubtedly leave a profound impact on your children. You may find when you return home that they become vigilant about reducing, reusing and recycling. Speaking of recycling, ask if your local recycling center offers tours. Children can learn about the importance of recycling and what a difference it can make.
If you have young children then the importance of this special day can be communicated through stories. For example, The Lorax by Dr Seuss offers a profound message. There are many earth day books to choose from. You might combine reading a book on earth day with watching The Planet Earth DVDs.
#5 Visit your water treatment plant.
Visiting the water treatment plant provides you with an opportunity to teach your children about the importance of conserving water. If the trip isn’t a possibility consider an experiment with water. For an example, grab four clean glass jars and fill them with water from four different sources. A river, a pond, a lake, your local tap water and maybe even a bottled water. Then proceed to label each jar marking each with it’s source. Using a coffee filter, run each jar’s water through a different filter. Make sure you keep the filters organized and label them with the source of the water as well so you know which type of water you’re looking at. Using a magnifying glass your children can examine the particles left in each filter. It’s an opportunity to discuss pollutants and have your child see firsthand what is in our water supply.
Earth day 2011 presents many opportunities to educate your children about caring for our plant. Choose activities that you believe will resonate with them. Make sure they’re age appropriate. And above all make them fun. If learning about earth day is a chore, they won’t enjoy the experience or the message. If it’s fun, the message has more impact.