In honor of Earth Day, the Mission Society is featuring a series of conversations and tools to help educators and parents promote an understanding of the environment with young people. In this post, dive into a list of fun, family-friendly crafts, experiments, and activities that will both teach young people about the environment and reduce waste.
If you’re looking for ways to teach your little ones about the environment and climate change, all while having fun and sparking enriching educational discussions, look no further! We’re showcasing seven exciting and creative ways to teach children about the natural world– from making eco-friendly crafts, to participating in science experiments, and more. Whether you're a parent, teacher, or caregiver, these activities will bring joyful learning opportunities to your classrooms, households, and beyond.
In the Mission Society’s afterschool programs, hands-on activities have been an invaluable way to reinforce important lessons. By guiding students through scientific experiments and allowing them to express their creativity, we instill an early passion for science, biology, and the arts. We hope these activities can do the same for the young people in your lives, inspiring them to become a new generation of planet protectors.
Your little ones will love getting their hands messy and exploring their creativity while learning important concepts like conservation and being a good global citizen. Mix Elmer's glue, shaving cream, food coloring, essential oils, and glitter to make the puffy paint. Then, let your kids paint away on a paper plate with paint brushes, sponges, or cotton swabs. Add some extra decorations for a fun finishing touch!
This activity is a fun and creative project for preschoolers that involves coloring and cutting. Simply print out the free Earth Day template and use colorful crayons to bring it to life. Then, add velcro dots to attach the features which create your Happy or Sad Earth. Now you can go through scenarios and let your kiddos decide if actions, like littering or recycling, make the earth happy or sad. Your kids will love this activity and learn important lessons about taking care of our planet!
See a step-by-step guide for this craft by Angela Milnes on The Inspiration Edit.
Celebrate Earth Day with some fun and colorful play dough! Just mix flour, water, salt, cream of tartar, and canola oil in a saucepan and cook it over medium heat until it forms a ball. Then, knead it until it's smooth and divide it into two pieces. Add your favorite food coloring to each piece, knead again until the color is uniform, and shape into small balls. You can even put them in cute little cellophane bags and tie them with baker's twine for a perfect Earth Day gift!
See a step-by-step guide for this craft on Simple Homemade by The Gunny Sack.
This awesome recycling craft is not only a great way to encourage creativity, but it's also a fantastic way to reduce waste. All you need are some tin cans, recycled materials - like lids, corks, and bottle caps, colored paper, a marker - and a hot glue gun. Simply glue your robots together, add facial features and control panels, and you've got yourself some adorable tin can robots! You can make enough to display as a collection on a shelf in your home, and enjoy the satisfaction of turning trash into treasure.
See a step-by-step guide for this craft on Creative Jewish Mom.
This is a fun and creative way to talk to your kids about a serious topic - global warming. With just a few simple steps, your kids can paint the earth on a piece of toast and watch how global warming (toasting) affects our planet. Simply add a drop of food coloring to milk to create your own paint and then go to town making your toast look like the earth. Don't forget to have a conversation about what we can do to help save the world while you enjoy your delicious and educational snack!
See a step-by-step guide for this activity on Left Brain Craft Brain.
Try this experiment to explore how particulates in the air are a cause of global warming and climate change. Start by writing "Indoor Air" and "Outdoor Air" on index cards, and smear petroleum jelly or put double-sided tape on a large area in the middle. Place them in their respective locations for a week, checking the sticky areas each day with a magnifying glass. (Spoiler alert!) When you compare the results, you'll see that indoor air has fewer particles than outdoor air!
See a step-by-step guide for this experiment on Education.com.
Using NASA's earth-observing satellites, you can watch how some of our most influential climate indicators have changed over the years. Observe the progression in sea-level rise, carbon dioxide emissions, and global temperature fluctuations with this interactive 3D visualization, and use what you observe to prompt an “out-of-this-world” discussion on these important topics!