16 Earth Day activities for kids to educate and inspire

Family-friendly and fun tasks with an important message!

a young boy looking for bugs in the soil as part of a fun earth day activity for kids
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

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

Earth Day falls on April 22 in 2024 and it's an important annual event that sees people around the world, from Extinction Rebellion 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. Outside of the classroom though, we've got a host of activities to continue their eco-learning. From getting stuck into some rainbow-inspired projects for younger kids to zero-waste baking or easy gardening crafts - our list of Earth Day activities is packed full of fun things to do with kids, both inside and outside the home.

Best Earth Day activities for kids:

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.

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

A post shared by Lauren Maiorino

A photo posted by teachinginstripes on

All you need to make these is a simple vanilla cookie recipe, 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.

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 using our handy tutorial.

7 Colors Tie Dye Kit - $24.84 | Amazon

7 Colors Tie Dye Kit - $24.84 | Amazon

Simply fill the bottles with regular tap water, shake and dye the fabric.

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 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 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.

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

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

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.

There are also plenty of other rainbow crafts 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.

Try these easy and kid-friendly vegan recipes:

Vegan tacos

Credit: Future
(Image 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.

You'll need peanut butter and some mixed bird seed and to follow these simple instructions.

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!
Copdock Mill Wild Bird Supreme Mix (3.8kg) - $13.03 | Amazon

Copdock Mill Wild Bird Supreme Mix (3.8kg) - $13.03 | Amazon

This one's an all-round favourite with a variety of birds due to its tasty and nutritional mix of seed base, flaked maize, red dari, soya bean oil, cut maize and whole wheat.

9. Take them to forest school

Forest schools 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.

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 you can do from home.

10. Go for a bike ride or a long walk

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!

This is one of our tried-and-tested picks from our best balance bikes for kids round-up.

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike (Yellow) - $121.76 | Amazon

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike (Yellow) - $121.76 | Amazon

Suitable for ages 18 Months to 5 Years. Super lightweight, this bike is easy for both kids to ride and adults to carry when the little ones get tired – a huge bonus! The seat and handlebars are adjustable, so the bike can grow with your child and the lightweight wheels are made especially to resist punctures.

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.

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. Simply cut off the corner of the packet and fill with your icing.

Finally, 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…

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.

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

You'll need: Some cucumber seeds, an empty 2-litre plastic bottle, a little garden space with soil, some newspaper and elastic bands.

Simply Garden Cucumber Seeds - $2.86 | Amazon

Simply Garden Cucumber Seeds - $2.86 | Amazon

A popular variety producing heavy yields of smooth, dark green fruits. Perfect for salads. You'll find planting guidance provided on each pack.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

16. Get litter-picking

According to Litter Bins, the amount of litter dropped each year in the UK has increased by a whopping 500% since the 1960s. This figure is shocking, especially given what we know about the impact litter has on the planet - killing wildlife and destroying precious ecosystems.

Rally the troops with bin bags and gloves and set off for a local park or beach that could benefit from a litter-pick. Kids will enjoy the hands on activity and will appreciate the before and after effect of their efforts.

It's also a nice reminder for young ones that litter dropping is never okay. An important message to highlight this Earth Day.

Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a health and wellbeing writer, working across the subjects of family, relationships, and LGBT topics, as well as sleep and mental health. A digital journalist with over six years  experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace is currently Health Editor for womanandhome.com and has also worked with Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more. After graduating from the University of Warwick, she started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness.