To underscore our commitment, OXO has partnered with 1% for the Planet, a global group of brands that give back to environmental nonprofits focusing on sustainable food systems, cleaner water and air, and increased funding for environmental educational programs.
“By learning about the environment, children develop a connection and deep appreciation for the natural world and the resources upon which we all depend,” says Rafael Woldeab, executive director of City Blossoms, a Washington, DC-based kid-driven gardening nonprofit that serves neighborhoods where children may not have access to safe, community-led green space. City Blossoms is also one of more than a dozen grantees whose work is supported by the donations from 1% for the Planet program.
Ready to do your part? We’ve got you covered. Here are 10 Earth Day projects for kids you can try this weekend. Even doing just one or two will make a difference and can help teach children that taking small steps and working together to protect our planet does have a big impact.
1. Make a bird feeder. Bird watching right outside your window can be thrilling for little kids, especially when you can attract them with a homemade feeder. To make one, tie a piece of yarn or string securely to a pinecone and then slather it in peanut butter. Roll the creation in birdseed to coat the outside and then tie the feeder to a branch in the yard.
2. Volunteer at a community garden. Do a little research to find out if there are established gardening programs, such as City Blossoms, in your area. “Coming together as a community to care for our common ground is so rewarding—not only are our spaces cared for, but we gain so much by getting to know our neighbors through this effort,” says Woldeab.
3. Go camping. Of all the Earth Day activities for kids, camping is bound to be a crowd-pleaser. Even if you just pitch a tent in the backyard, you’ll have a chance to gaze at the stars, name the constellations, and listen to the spring peepers. And if you can build a fire at your site, don’t forget to pack s’mores fixings to truly make it an epic night out.
4. Try composting. A small compost bin under the sink makes quick work of table scraps and soiled paper. Put the kids in charge of scraping plates into the bin and checking the regular garbage to make sure nothing compostable was misplaced. Once the bin is full, fertilize your flower beds or donate it to a public garden or farmer’s market in your community.
5. Plant seeds. Digging in the dirt is an easy and fun way for kids to connect with nature and understand how things grow. Microgreens are fast-sprouting—the payoff comes in just a few weeks—plus, “the tiny shoots of these plants, like kale, spinach, beet or broccoli, are very nutritious,” says Woldeab. When it’s time to harvest, store the greens in this shallow container set. Or try your hand at growing herbs. Basil, mint, chives and thyme also come up quickly and can be kept in this herb keeper to prevent premature wilting.
6. Host a toy swap. How many discarded toys are strewn about your house? Fix this situation by having your children set aside four or five toys they’re ready to let go. Ask a few friends to do the same with their kids and then get together to swap. It’ll be a fun teachable moment about recycling and giving things we no longer need a new home.
7. Visit a park. Whether it’s your local greenspace, a nearby nature or bird conservancy, or one of our national parks like Acadia, Zion, or the Grand Canyon, spending time in the wonder of our country’s landscape will make a great impression on young kids. Learn about the plants and animals in your area and how to volunteer to help preserve the park for generations to come.
8. Get crafty. Art projects are an easy go-to when you and the kids are faced with a rainy day. The green fix here is to use what you have on hand. Challenge your kids to craft something using only what’s in your recycle bin, no new paper allowed. They could clip old magazines to make collages, use brown paper grocery bags as their next canvas, or turn old bottles into a DIY sculpture.
9. Create a scavenger hunt. Make a list of nature items that can be easily found in your backyard, such as acorns, flowers, and various leaves. Then have your kids hunt around for them. Offer up a divided container to store their haul as they search and learn more about the items they find.
10. Throw a litter pick-up party. Ask your kids to rally their friends to help tidy up their local community in one weekend. Choose a few blocks around your neighborhood or a local park, playground, or school that could use a little TLC.
Want to live more sustainably at home? Check out these smart kitchen tips that’ll make your cooking and food prep eco-friendlier.