15 Earth Day activities for Kids

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Earth Day activities for kids are a great way to celebrate the day and teach children all about environmental issues.

Earth Day will be celebrated on Thursday 22 April in 2021. The annual event sees people around the world, from Extinction Rebellion (opens in new tab) activists to students and children, come together to push for a better, more sustainable world.

Depending on how old your kids are, they're likely to learn a little bit about Earth Day at school. They might cover how greenhouse gases are affecting the world or learn who Greta Thunberg is and about her climate change activism.

These Earth Day activities are a great way of complimenting what kids might already be learning in the classroom. From getting stuck into some rainbow-inspired projects for younger kids (opens in new tab) to zero-waste baking or easy gardening crafts.

Our list of Earth Day activities is packed full of things to do with kids (opens in new tab), both inside and outside the home.

Best Earth Day activities for kids 2021

1. Make some Earth cookies

These simple cookies are easy to make and always go down a treat - especially on Earth Day. A great one to do with younger kids, who might be a little too young to understand all things global warming but want to celebrate the world around them.

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As Instagram user @teachinginstripes days, "They're pretty delish."

All you need to make these is a simple vanilla cookie recipe (opens in new tab), 6 drops of blue and green food colouring and some sugar love hearts. To get the Earth-effect, place some of the dough (about a quarter) into one bowl and dye it with the green colouring, then put the rest of the dough into another bowl and dye it blue. Before putting in the oven, combine the two lots of dough together carefully to create a world-effect shape. Patch the pieces of dough on top of each other and by the sides to prevent them from mixing together too much.

2. Re-vamp old clothes with tie-dye

Fast fashion is another huge contributor to global warming. Did you know that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to make just one pair of jeans? And to grow enough cotton for one t-shirt, it takes 400 gallons of water? That's a whole lot of water that can't be used again.

Girl tie-dying clothes

Credit: Getty

To mark Earth Day, one of the best activities kids can do is to re-use their old clothes! Instead of throwing away an old white t-shirt in favour of a new one (without the one or two stains), re-vamp it using tie-dye and get in on one of this year's biggest crafting trends.

Find out how to how to tie-dye your old clothes (opens in new tab) using our handy tutorial.

3. Vegetable printing

This craft project for kids is perfect for Earth Day, as it reuses the vegetables in your fridge that are a little past their eatable state. Vegetable printing (opens in new tab) is also a great way to decorate fabrics, as well as create beautiful artistic masterpieces.

Use potatoes, cucumbers and whatever else you have to hand to create unique designs and patterns.

4. Grow your own grass heads

This video from Red Ted Art (opens in new tab) teaches kids how to make their own fun grass heads. As well as being fun to decorate in a whole bunch of ways - from goggly eyes to turning your grass head into your favourite animal - they teach kids all about how plants grow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQhLGX0MmpQ

This craft only requires minimal materials as well: some grass seed, soil and an old pair of tights - along with some classic crafting supplies.

5. Make a wormery

Suitable for ages 7 and over, making your own wormery is the perfect craft for kids to celebrate Earth Day.

How to make a wormery:

  • Once you’ve collected your five or so worms, put them in a large Tupperware box or old ice-cream tub with some soil from the garden.
  • Make holes in the top so they can breathe
  • Feed the worms food scraps, like eggshells and vegetable peels

An added bonus is that worms make great compost! So you can fill your garden with compost created from your own wormery.

Our selection of Earth Day 2020 activities for kids are bound to keep little (and big!) hands busy, while encouraging everyone to focus more on the environment.

6. Go on a rainbow scavenger hunt

Take the kids on a scavenger hunt like they've never been on before! Whether they're learning all about the colours of the rainbow at school or are already brushed up on the colours, get them to pick out items that represent each colour of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple). Take a picture of each thing - everything from red letterboxes to orange road cones, trees and flowers - and upload them to the computer to create a rainbow picture.

Mother and child in the park

Credit: Getty

There are also plenty of other rainbow crafts (opens in new tab) you can get stuck into from home.

7. Try out some delicious vegan dishes

Vegan cooking is more popular than ever before, as research comes out about just how much impact animal farming has on increasing global warming. While there are a lot of foods we don't always know are vegan, going completely without animal products is often a lot easier said than done for many people - so trying out some delicious vegan recipes is an ideal way to celebrate Earth Day throughout the week.

And if you like these, be sure to check out the best vegan cookbooks for 2021 (opens in new tab).

Vegan tacos

Credit: Future

8. Make a bird feeder

A great activity for kids to do in honour of Earth Day is one that looks after the wildlife in your garden. This bird feeder craft uses store cupboard ingredients like peanut butter and seeds, as well as cardboard toilet rolls to create a whole meal for the birds outside your window.

Bird sitting on a bird feeder, one of the Earth Day activities for kids

Credit: Getty

You will need:

  • Peanut butter
  • Mixed bird seed

How to make a toilet roll bird feeder:

  • Cover the outside of your toilet roll with peanut butter.
  • Spread the birdseed out on a flat surface and roll the tube through it’s completely covered, then pat down to make sure the seed is firmly stuck in place.
  • Loop your feeder over a branch of a tree in the garden.
  • Now find a quiet place to sit and watch as the birds fly in!

Follow these great steps to welcome more bees and butterflies into your garden (opens in new tab).

9. Take them to forest school

With more and more activities opening up again as the lockdown lifts in the UK, the chance to go to forest school for a day (or longer) is back on the table.

Forest schools (opens in new tab) offer children unique opportunities to learn, develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Along with keeping them busy for a couple of days over the weekend or holidays, forest schools help to teach children about the world around them and the importance of looking after it.

Children at forest school

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If you've missed the boat on enrolling or want something to do with the kids right now, check out our list of forest school activities (opens in new tab) you can do from home.

10. Go for a bike ride or a long walk

It might sound simple but if you were planning to jump in the car for a trip this weekend, going by bike or walking is a great idea to celebrate Earth Day.

Man and son riding bikes together

Credit: Getty

As well as soaking up that vital vitamin D and getting some exercise, a bike ride helps kids to appreciate the nature around them as they go zooming down by the river, across parks and woodland areas. You could even take a picnic with you and go for a longer trip - just don't forget to take your litter with you when you go!

11. Zero-waste baking

Although baking with kids might produce a whole lot of kitchen mess, there doesn’t need to be lots of waste to go with it.

Rocky road bars, one of things to make as part of Earth Day activities

Credit: Getty

This is how you can bake with zero-waste in three easy steps…

  • Simply by baking from scratch you are reducing the waste you produce. By not using packaged cake mixes, cookie doughs and tubed frosting, you are saving plastic waste which often is just thrown in the bin.
  • Remember that bag that your caster sugar came in? Use it to pipe your homemade frosting (opens in new tab). Simply cut off the corner of the packet and fill with your icing.
  • Instead of using zip-lock bags, cling-film, tin foil and other single use storage options, store your cakes and biscuits in washable, reusable storage containers like Tupperware or Bees Wax wrap.

Here are some our favourite baking recipes that produce minimal waste as they don't use any single use packaging (like cupcake holders) and you can make them all from scratch. Some don't even require you turn the oven on - perfect for Earth Day-inspired baking…

Baking is one of our favourite Earth Day 2020 activities for kids as not only does it does it produce zero-waste, but it's a great way to get kids in the kitchen.

12. Start your own vegetable garden

The number one way to reduce household waste is to grow your own vegetables! Think of all the plastic packaging and cardboard you’ll be saving, plus the ease of just heading outside into the garden or onto the balcony and picking your own produce.

earth day activities for kids

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Start with this easy method for growing cucumbers, great for teaching kids about where their food comes from as well.

You will need:

  • Some cucumber seeds
  • An empty 2-litre plastic bottle
  • A little garden space with soil
  • Some newspaper
  • Elastic bands

How to make your own vegetable garden:

  • Plant your cucumber seeds somewhere in your garden.
  • Water them regularly and the little cucumbers will start to grow.
  • Look out for when one of the flowers has dried. At this point push the little cucumber and a bit of the vine through the hole in the bottle and let it sit inside.
  • Cover the bottle with newspaper and tie it on with elastic bands so that the light can't damage it as it grows.
  • When the cucumber has grown to a size you're happy with, cut the vine.
  • Get your kids to show their friends- they'll be wondering how a cucumber ever got through such a tiny hole!

After they've mastered this activity, they can start growing all kinds of vegetables and fruit - like tomatoes, courgettes, potatoes, you name it!

13. Make a paper mache globe

Reuse and recycle some old newspaper or magazines to create a brand new items for your home with this easy way to paper mache (opens in new tab).

Follow this link to truly get involved in the Earth Day crafting spirit and learn how to make a paper mache globe.

14. Make your own crayons

As well as learning all about the layers of the earth with this fun craft from thismommakes.com, you can reuse broken old crayons to create something entirely new.

Find out what the earth is made and why it’s so important to protect it with this fun Journey to the Centre of the Earth craft for kids to celebrate Earth Day.

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15. Teach kids how to recycle at home

It all starts at home! If your kids are old enough, it's a great idea to get them recycling and understanding how the home recycling system works. Make the house recycling bins easy for little ones to access first of all, then make sure they know where they are.

Family recycling together

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But this can be fun! Create a game with the kids (such as 'guess which bin this item goes in') and ask them to put cans, bottles, paper and other materials in the correct bin when the opportunity comes up. Together you can make pictures of some of the items that go in each bin, using lots of colour and potentially even materials from the items themselves - like used card and milk carton tops.

Before long, they'll be doing it without even thinking!

Grace Walsh
Grace Walsh

Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics.  She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.