Earth Day Activities & Crafts for Kids

Did you want to do some fun, educational and engaging Earth Day activities with children?  If so, you have come to the right place!  Our activities are widely used by teachers, moms, dads, child care providers etc. for learning and teaching while being fun for the kids!

Earth Day is one of two observances, both held annually during spring in the northern hemisphere, and autumn in the southern hemisphere. These are intended to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth’s environment.

The United Nations celebrates an Earth Day each year on the March equinox, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969. A second Earth Day, which was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970, is celebrated in many countries each year on April 22.


Earth Day Arts & Crafts

Nature Art
Earthcakes: Cover the work surface with newspaper. Place a tub of each of the following on the art table or floor: sand, dirt, salt, gravel. Have small pitchers of water plus old bowls and spoons nearby. Let each child concoct an earthcake by choosing some of the materials in the tubs, mixing them in a bowl with water. Let the earthcakes dry. Have the children collect items on a walk to decorate their cakes, such as twigs, grass, stones, etc.

Nature Creations
Collect a variety of nature items: sea shells, dried wheat, grasses, and flowers, sand, rocks, pebbles, bark, twigs, and small branches. Put these out with glue and foam trays and let the kids go for it.

Earth’s Colors
To make natural earth colors, you’ll need red cabbage, beets, celery tops, carrot tops, and vinegar.
Simmer each vegetable in water, drain, saving the liquids. Mix one tablespoon of vinegar into each liquid, and let cool. Let the children use the natural colors and brushes to paint a large piece of muslin or cotton fabric. Let dry and hand in the playroom for all to see.

Earth Painting
Fingerpaint with mud indoors or out. Let the children mix dirt with water until it reaches the desired consistancy. Then they can paint on the art table, sidewalk, or even the tile floor if you are brave!

Birthday Cakes
Use playdoh or make sawdust clay, using 2 cups sawdust, 1 cup wallpaper paste, and water. Mix the paste and the sawdust, and add water slowly until you have a thick dough. Model, decorate, and let harden overnight.

Add some of the following materials to the sawdust clay or playdoh to encourage cakemaking: birthday candles or straws cut to candle height, small paper doilies or coffee filters to set the cakes on, and yarn and/or collage material to decorate the cakes.

Little Earths
we make “little earths” with:
Coffee filters and blue and green colored water (with food color) and eyedroppers

Fill a muffin tin with blue water and green colored water The children use the eyedropper to pick up the water and place it on the coffee filter. (great for small motor control), When they dry, they look like the Earth…at times I label…Happy Earth Day 199___.

Marble Painting Earths
Have circles cut out of blue construction paper to fit just inside of a pie pan. Have the children put a marble into some blue paint and into some green paint. Use a spoon to take it out… move the pie pan back and forth and create “an earth”.. We then talk about what the green stands for and what the blue stands for. (I show them a globe first..and we talk about all the different names for the earth.)–ie…world…globe…earth…etc.

Making Recycled Paper
A Step-By-Step Procedure (This is one method, but I think there is an easier way using embroidery hoops as the frames, and just pouring the pulp onto it)

An adult will have to use a food processor and an electric iron. Both can be dangerous. You need: 2 full newspaper pages torn into 2-inch squares, can add construction paper scaps also torn into pieces- old food processor (never to be used for food again) – 2 tablespoons white glue – 2 or 3 cups water – sink with 4 inches water – old panty hose – coat hangers – electric iron Optional: insect screen – strainer – food coloring – dryer lint

1) Undo the coat hanger and use the wire to make a flat square about 6 by 6 inches big. Stretch one leg of the panty hose over it. Take your time; it could snag. If you put tape on the ends of the wire, it will snag less. Make sure it is tight and flat.

Tie knots in the hose. Use the other leg for another piece of paper. You will need one frame for every piece of paper you make. You might want to make more than one or two.

2) Put a handful of the paper and some water into the food processor. Close the food processor and turn it on high. Keep adding paper and water until you have a big gray blob. You may have to add a little more water to keep things moving smoothly. Keep the food processor on until all the paper has disappeared. Then leave it on for 2 whole minutes.

Put the glue in the sink water and add all of the paper pulp you just made. Mix it really well. Use your hands.

Mix up the sink water again and then scoop the frame to the bottom of the sink. Lift it real slow. Count to 20 slowly while you are lifting. Let the water drain out for about a minute. Mix up the sink every time you make a new piece.

3) Try other things like the screen or a strainer. Try adding lots of food coloring, or lint, or leaves, to the food processor.

Now you have to hang the frames on a clothesline or put them out in the sun. Wait until they are completely dry with no dampness at all. You Can then gently peel off the paper.

Have a grown-up use the iron – set on the hottest setting – to steam out your paper. You can keep making paper until the pulp is all strained out of the sink. See how strong your paper is. Trim it with scissors. Write on it. It is strong.

P.S. from Beakman: Don’t be fooled. When a bag or a box says that it is
100% recyclable that means that you can recycle it. It does not mean that it
is made out of recycled paper.

Mural Forest
To make a tree, press a child’s hand into green tempera paint. Keeping the fingers & thumb close together, press the hand on a roll piece of white butcher paper, making the tree, leaves and branches. Have the children print their hands as many times as they would like on the same paper to make a forest. Use a brown maker sideways, print the child’s names under their trees to make the trunks.

Trash Collage:
Use throw away paper, labels, scraps cut from junk mail, everything you can find that is typically thrown away – to make a collage.

Keeping the aluminum theme, we painted on tin foil wrapped around card board with a mixture of washable paint and white glue. Then we put out different objects for etching the paint like craft sticks and spatulas. The children painted and etched and then painted over the etching and etched again. They loved it!


Earth Day Games & Activities

Find out if your community is planning to celebrate Earth Day. Could the children take part in some of the celebrations, or even help with some of the preparations? You may want to do something as simple as a parade around the block carrying or wearing Earth Day messages.

Sit down under a tree and think of all the good things trees do for us. Examples: many trees provide pulp for paper, lumber for our homes and furniture, other trees give us food, some give us medicines, trees prevent erosion and reduce flooding, all trees produce oxygen for us to breathe.

Experiment with Earth Jars
Gather the following: 4 jars with lids, dirt, sand, salt, gravel and a large pitcher of warm water. Have the kids help pour the warm water into each jar. Add one of the elements to each jar, and cover it tightly. Let them predict what will happen when you shake each jar. Shake them one at a time.

What happens in each instance? Which of the elements dissolve in water and which ones sink to the bottom? The children may want to bring in other nature items/substances to continue this experiment.

Earth’s Wonders
Display natural earth wonders, such as : sea shells, rocks, crystals, geodes, pine cones, seeds, twigs, etc. Encourage the children to add to the collection. Provide magnifying glasses to study the wonders. Have books nearby that picture earth’s natural resources. Many may be available at your local library. Some good choices are:

Earth Namer, Margery Berstein
Our World is Earth, Sylvia Engdahl
The Little Park, Dale Fife
Earth, Alfred Leutscher
Beneath your Feet Earth, Seymour Simon
The Beaver Pond, Alvin. R. Treselt

Day-time, Night-time
Have the kids describe what happens on the earth during the day, and then at night. What do they like to do during the day and at night? Urge them to use all their senses when describing.

Earth View
Ask the children to pretend that they are birds flying high over the earth. Let them take turns telling what they see. Encourage them to use as much detail as possible. What do they encounter in the sky as they’re flying?

Trash Hike
We go on a trash hike…and “help clean up our Earth”

Litter Brigade….
Clean Up Parade
Make banners, signs, etc. stating what the Clean-Up parade is. Gather wagons, sacks, bags and boxes to put the litter in. Go for a walk in the neighborhood and collect litter (being very careful what the children pick up). When the containers are full, go back to the classroom and sort out the litter. Separate the paper, cans and other junk. The kids love the parade idea to help clean up their play yard!

Talk About Trees
I have taken pieces of tree (a slice cut horizontal through the tree) and we have counted the rings to find out how old the tree is. Great counting experience!

Bean Bag Game
Then we played a game using bean bags as cans and a hoola hoop as the recycling bin. We stood in a circle around our “recycling bin” and sang a song that was looped last year. The tune is 5 In The Bed and the little one said roll over etc.

There’s a can in the bin and another goes in Recycle ! Recycle!
So ____________ (child’s name ) recycled and threw in a can.
There’s 2 cans in the bin etc.

Continue the song until all children have had their names called to
throw a bean bag. Great for large motor and counting and math.


Earth Day Songs, Poems & Fingerplays

Ten Little Candles
Ten little candles on an Earth Day cake.
“Wh! Wh!” Now there are eight.

Eight little candles on a candlestick.
“Wh! Wh!” Now there are six.

Six little candles, and not one more.
“Wh Wh!” Now there are four.

Four little candles, red, white, and blue.
“Wh Wh!” Now there are two.

Two little candles standing in the sun.
“Wh Wh!” Now there are none.

Recycling In My Home
(tune: Wheels on the Bus)
Recycling in my home goes round and round,
Round and round, round and round.
Recycling in my home goes round and round,
All through the day.

Tie up the papers and take them back,
Take them back, take them back.
Tie up the papers and take them back,
All through the day.

Crush the cans and take them back…..
Rinse the milk bottles and take them back….
Save the glass and take it back……

This Old Earth
(tune: This Old Man)
This old earth
Needs our help
To stay fresh and clean and green
With a pick it up; pitch it in; and throw it in the can–
This old earth needs a helping hand!

This Land
(tune: This Land is Your Land)
This land is your land
This land is my land,
Let’s work together
To make it better
From tall green forests to clear blue waters
This land depends on you and me!

Clean Up
(Tune: Twinkle, twinkle, Little Star)
Twinkle twinkle little star
Time to clean up where you are.
Put litter back in its’ place,
Keep a smile upon your face.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Time to clean up where you are.
External Earth Day Links




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