Happy Earth Day! This celebration gives you a great opportunity to teach your children about what the word RESPECT means when we are talking about Mother Earth. Think about Earth Day from a child’s perspective. What can THEY do to make a difference? Here’s a list of simple acts of kindness children can do all year long to show respect for the earth?

1. Enlist friends, hand out bags and clean up a nearby park.

2. Plant shrubs or a tree in your yard.
3. Start a vegetable garden in pots or a small plot.
4. Organize a cleanup day at your school or in your neighborhood.

5. Recycle while cooking at home.

6. Look for recycling symbols on products you or your parents buy. Purchase items in recyclable packaging whenever possible. Avoid products that use excessive packaging.

7. Encourage your parents to carry a reusable shopping bag, and suggest they buy in bulk to minimize packaging waste.

8. Bicycle or walk to school rather than being driven by your parents (as long as Mom and Dad say it’s safe).

9. Steer your parents toward organic pesticides, such as those made from orange extract.

10. Turn off lights, fans or the TV when you leave the room (unless your little brother is still in


11. Check your home for leaky faucets or toilets, and volunteer to help fix those in need of repair.

12. Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth or washing your face and hands.

13. Take shorter showers.

14. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean the driveway or sidewalk.

15. Remind your parents that washing the car less often saves water (and may get you out of the dreaded chore).

16. Ask your parents to raise (in the summer) or lower (in the winter) the thermostat a few degrees, telling them it will save energy as well as money.

17. Lower the blinds when the sun comes up, which deflects heat from the windows.

18. Offer to replace air filters. A clean filter helps the air-conditioner run more efficiently.

Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Earthday Network (www.earthday.net)

Read: Get this book The Earth Book by Todd Parr to help teach this lesson to children and listen to the song by Jack Johnson above. Todd Parr is one of my favorite authors. His books are super simple with a BIG impact on the lesson they teach.

Craft: I also found this cute craft on pinterest (original link is on the image) that is perfect to do with your toddler or preschooler after reading the book!

Sort: Sorting is a great skill that even toddlers can do with some help. Click on this link for a free sorting activity—to be trashed or recycled?

Snack: Who doesn’t like a fun snack while learning? This cute compost pudding is sure to be a hit!

Pledge: Teach your children what it means to take a stand and sign a pledge to do something!

Cook: We love an excuse to cook a treat in our house. How about these EARTH cupcakes. You simply make a box of white cake mix and divide it into two bowls. Use food coloring to make one bowl green and one blue. Fill the botton of the muffin tin with blue batter with several drops of green on top. Bake and VOILA! Earth cupcakes!

Game: Go on a scavenger hunt for the colors of the earth! Complete directions are here. Basically, grab some free paint chip samples and have your child search for matching colors around the yard. Great idea!