Observed each year on April
22nd, Earth Day celebrates Earth's life and beauty and Earth
Day activities strive to educate and alert people about the
need to preserve and renew the threatened ecological
balances upon which all life on Earth depends.
About the Resources
way to educate kids and adults
about the pressing needs of our planet than to plan some Earth Day
events of your own? Whether you're planning activities for your family, your
school, or a booth at a neighborhood event, we've got some great ideas for
discussion topics and activities! Below you will find our overview
of major Earth Day issues, plus crafts, activities, coloring pages,
online games, book recommendations, and lesson plans. As
usual Earth's Kids has sifted through hundreds of pages of material to
select and present those activities and ideas that we know kids and
educators will really enjoy and benefit from. Why do we do this?
Because we love to help you make a positive difference in the world! And we
know that you can do this best when you're free to use your time for teaching,
creating, and making the world a better place. Enjoy!
Note to parents at home:
hope you'll use the sections below to surf the web with your child.
Discuss the different ideas together, decide on changes you could make
as a family. And don't forget to plan how you will celebrate Earth
Also you will notice various black
and white illustrations below. These are coloring pages!
Click on them to jump to a printable coloring page for your younger
children. Collect all the pages together and your child can color
his own Earth Day book. Use the back side of the coloring page to
write your ideas for changes you can make in your own home or to write
poems or stories about nature.
Spread the Word About Global
Scientists tell us that that the
earth's global climate is warming at an unusual rate. Already we are
seeing changes in rainfall patterns, ice pack thickness, summer heat
levels, and hurricane activity. While some sources still claim
that this is just a natural trend and nothing to be concerned about,
most mainstream scientists agree that the problem is caused by the
greenhouse affect. The greenhouse effect is caused by chemicals
released into the air by air pollution.
This riveting documentary is narrated by
former U. S. Vice President Al Gore and uses striking graphs and
photographs to lay out the all too clear evidence that "global warming"
is a very real phenomenon -- one that cannot be confused with the
natural temperature fluctuations of the past. While the
information can be alarming, especially to those new to the situation,
the positive solutions presented by Gore offer hope and
inspiration. Suitable for middle school kids and older.
Visit the film's official website for
companion materials such as screensavers, email cards, fact sheets, and
guide for educators. Educate yourself and the start
spreading the word. The folks in Washington D.C. are elected by
us, so when they realize we all want them to do something they will.
They know their jobs depend on it!
Plant A Tree
Trees give us oxygen to breathe.
They clean our air and help slow global warming. They shade our
homes and help shelter them from wind and rain. They cut down on
soil erosion, preserving the good topsoil we need for farming and
preventing landslides. They provide homes for birds and other
animals. And they make our homes, schools, and neighborhoods more
beautiful and enjoyable. Planting a tree is a great thing to do
for yourself and for the earth.
There are many who
consider the oceans the largest driving force that makes life possible
on Earth. To begin with they cover 70% of the Earth's surface and,
according to some scientists, they still contain the majority of living
things. And the oceans
are a vital part of the water cycle that brings rain to our crops and
forests and drinking water to our cities. Just as importantly the ocean also produces
much of the oxygen upon which all human beings, and animals, depend.
And the oceans provide fish and shellfish and other vital resources as
well as jobs for millions. In fact in the United States alone,
1 out of 6 jobs is marine related.
But right now,
a variety of
crises threaten our oceans.
Pollution, over fishing, and global warming are the chief threats.
is poisoning people and animals with toxic levels of mercury and other
chemicals that humans have released into the ocean food webs. And
changing the temperature of the seas, causing some animals to die off
because the tiny organisms on which they depend can't survive these
small changes of climate. Some species of dolphins are thought to
be beaching themselves in response to changing temperatures. In other cases, toxic micro organisms
that thrive in the warming waters are multiplying, poisoning humans,
fish, and marine mammals alike.
And over all these
concerns looms the growing problem of
the capture of so many fish that there are not enough left to spawn
sufficient new fish. Over fishing is creating an alarming downward
spiral that is already causing fishing industries in many parts of the
world to crash. The end result: not enough fish and
shellfish to feed humans or the other creatures that depend upon them --
creatures like whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins, birds, and of course polar
bears (already in danger from disappearing polar ice).
But it's not too late
to reverse these problems! We can work together with
scientists, activists, and government leaders to create strategies that
resolve the threats to our oceans and marine life -- now.
To become part of
the solution, Visit the Earth's Kids Marine Science Page or just follow the links below, to learn what you can do to learn,
to educate others, and to make your voice heard!
Northwest Salmon Factsheet In one way or another, our
oceans are an integral part of every other biome on Earth. In
these online "book" you can learn about the interconnection of river
and ocean through the life cycle of the salmon.
Many animals on our
Earth are in danger of becoming extinct due to climate change, habitat
destruction, and because of being killed by human poachers.
We can help endangered animals by supporting habitat preservation and
measures to halt global warming, and by refusing to buy products made
from endangered animals (fur coats, ivory trinkets, etc.). But we
can also help by donating to groups who are working on behalf of these
animals. One fun way to donate is to "adopt" an animal!
Click on one of the
links below to find out what you need to do to adopt an animal of that
The animal won't come to your home, but you'll have the satisfaction of
knowing that your donated money will help it and others like it to
thrive and, hopefully, bring forth another generation.
Help continue Dian Fossey's legendary work to save the mountain
gorilla. Adopt your own gorilla and be a long
distance gorilla foster parent. You will get a
special profile on your gorilla and a framed photo. Visit
the site to learn more or to learn what else you can do to help
these very special animals. (Be sure to visit the
web site for even more about gorillas.)
Visit for more ideas on what
you can do to help both wild and domesticated animals!
leave the water running needlessly.
Install a water-saving shower head
(you'll use about 1/3 as much water).
Fix leaky faucets!
Install a low flush toilet or
just install a special floater on the mechanism in the tank that
restricts tank refill to a lower level (saves water with each flush).
Another option is to simply place a brick in the toilet tank, to raise
the water level and decrease tank volume.
Wash only full loads of clothes.
And don't wash your clothes unless they actually need it (not if you
just wore them for an hour or two).
Water your yard at night, or very
early in the morning, so the water doesn't just evaporate away in
produced primarily by power plants that burn fossil fuels like coal or
petroleum. So the more electricity we use, the more Co2 is
released into the atmosphere, causing pollution and... global warming.
Also, digging or drilling for fossil fuels destroys threatens wild
animals and fish and their habitats.
So turn off lights
and electronics when you leave the room or don't really need them on.
Avoid using electric
spotlights on motion detectors, so they turn on as needed rather than
staying on all the time.
guzzling appliances, like that old refrigerator, with ones that are
energy efficient (look for the star rating sticker).
And change your light
bulbs to high efficiency fluorescents.
Over use of pesticide
is becoming a big problem. Scientists are even worrying that
we might have future food shortages because so many bees and other
pollinating insects have been killed off because of routine pesticide
use on farms and in backyards. As early as 1996 the U.S.
Department of Agriculture was reporting the death of as much as 90% of
the honey bees in some areas. Wild bees and other pollinators,
like butterflies, are
So take this day to
learn and talk about all the useful jobs that insects do in our world.
Then discuss other ways to handle the problems with bugs that
often cause us to reach for the insecticide.
Growing something in the garden is
a great way to feel closer to nature, and a fun way to grow your own
organic fruits and vegetables! It can also be good exercise.
But there are a few things to keep in mind:
use herbicides or pesticides (pull out the weeds from around your home
and learn about natural and chemical-free pest control).
Try to plant native
shrubs and trees instead of fussy, water guzzling plants adapted to grow
Use mulch in your garden to conserve water.
Use organic fertilizers whenever
possible. Manufacturing non-organic fertilizer creates a shocking
amount of toxic waste.
Get together with other kids and
adults to organize a big clean up project. It could be at your
local park or playground, your school, a local business, or even
someone's home. Don't forget to discuss how to keep things looking
nice there in the years to come.
The great thing
is, you can go for a walk around the block, or in the local park -- or
really go for it and plan a trip into a state park. Take the whole
family and carpool it. That way, you're not wasting gasoline.
If you have young
kids along, you will probably have to remind them to stay on the trails that are already
created. Tell them that tromping off path may seem more exciting,
but it stomps down the little plants trying to grow. And if we all
Also, remind kids to be
considerate of all wildlife, and to leave things as they were when they
arrived. As the saying goes: take only pictures and leave
Try to look on
this as an opportunity to discuss the different ways that humans can
affect nature. Expeditions like this make a much more lasting
impression than a plain discussion delivered at home.
if you visit a gift shop, please
purchase environmentally friendly souvenirs only. (You can ask where it
came from and how it was made.)
Learn to meditate! Did you
know: meditation isn't just some hooky "new age" kind of
thing -- nor is it just something for people from the exotic orient.
In fact, meditation has been practiced in some form or another in just about
every religion on Earth! Christian Catholics count the
beads on their rosary, Jewish people silently repeat the "shemoneh
esrei" prayer, Muslims practice
tafakkur (contemplation on the universe),
Sufis perform a whirling meditative dance, Zen Buddhists count their
breaths as they breathe in and out-- and these are but a few out of
hundreds of examples!
it doesn't matter what your
spiritual tradition is -- or if you have one. All you
really have to
do is be caring enough to sit down, quiet down, and practice tuning
into your inner nature in a
way that allows your own deepest inspiration to come forth.
You can use a traditional technique that makes sense to you (many
people like some form of breath counting, although others like to
just sit quietly in nature) or you can develop your own practice.
One person we know recites the ABC song at a slow pace-- breathe in
"A", breathe out "B", and so on. Whatever works
to quiet your mind and let go of the usual chatter!
Of course other people find that special
exercise techniques like yoga or tai chi, or listening to certain kinds of sounds help them
settle down and get in touch with the place within that unifies, that acts
as the center hub for all that we are. Kids do this all
the time by cuddling with their stuffed animals...or chanting a favorite
tune over and over endlessly... Even cuddling up to read a
book at bedtime can bring parents and children back into attunement
with each other and themselves.
Become An Environmental Activist or
There are all kinds of ways to become
an environmental activist, from casually talking to friends at work or school, to
volunteering your time with an environmental organization or sending a
modest donation to a group who's doing great things. There are
even great ways to make a difference by signing online petitions or
sending some ready-made email to important politicians.
Donate to Wild-Aid
Wild-Aid's driving goal is simple and specific: to decimate the
illegal wildlife trade within our lifetime, allowing threatened
species to recover to safe levels.
Just as young people once clamored
to become part of the team trying to get humankind to the moon and
beyond (thus discovering all kinds of revolutionary new products and
technologies along the way), it's time for us to get excited about
creating technologies for a greener planet!
One focus is to help our nations
become more energy independent. How can we end our reliance on
dirty fossil fuels? What new energy sources could we create?
What known clean energy sources could we make work better?
And how can we make all the products we use much more energy
If you can
excited about these issues,
check into them. Learn what you can. And play with the
gadgets, gizmos, and science concepts that relate to them.
Reach inside yourself for inspiration. You might just become
part of a team of new engineers that saves the Earth from
environmental disaster....and makes life cleaner, healthier, and
easier for everyone.
Check out this Recycled Plastic Lumber
durable and can be nailed, drilled, sawn and bolted -- just like wood.
But...it will never crack, rot or
discolor! Not only does it use material that might have
ended up in the garbage dump (if not for recycling), but it cuts down
on the need to cut down trees! Maybe you could invent cool
stuff like this!
Do Your Part to Reduce Pollution
Polluting is basically anything we
do that makes the Earth dirtier, uglier, or sicker. Look over
the suggestions below and ask yourself what changes you might need
to make to help out in this area. Talk to your friends and family
and explain why these changes are important.
Drive less. Walk, bike, take
a bus-- or just try to consolidate your errands (do more things in
one trip). Carpool!
Turn off lights. Try to use the
heater or air conditioner a little less. Turn off radios, TVs,
and other electronics when you're not really using them.
Get rid of that old car that fogs
up the air with too much exhaust. Sure it's "throwing away"
something that might have a bit of life left in it, but in this
case... it's all for the best.
Try to cut back or eliminate
cleaning products, fertilizers, solvents and other things that are
not safe for the environment.
Put litter in it's place.
Don't buy things you don't
really need (it'll probably end up in the garbage, and
then the landfill).
Don't buy fish and other seafood
from fish "farms". Environmental experts tells us these are
actually worse for the environment than harvesting wild fish.
Reason? All the toxic yuck these "farms" produce! (Which
ends up in the fish meat AND in water run-off that goes into
streams and the ocean.) What's more, some of these farms
actually catch tons of smaller wild fish (sometimes wastefully) to
feed the bigger fish in their farms! So just buy wild --
and stop encouraging unhealthy practices.
Go easy on the toilet paper
(embarrassing perhaps, but significant over time) -- and other
non-recyclable paper products.
Learn about companies that don't
respect the Earth and buy from someone else!
recycle packing materials.
You can recycle materials like packing
“peanuts”—simply call 1-800-828-2214 for the
Plastic Loose Fill Council’s
“Peanut Hotline” and they’ll tell you the nearest recycling
just throw out old magazines and catalogs! You can donate them
to schools, doctor's offices, or other businesses with waiting rooms
-- or share them with your neighbors. They can also be used by
preschool kids (or older) for making collage art. Small
children love to rip and glue, and older kids love to illustrate
stories and reports. If all else fails, remember to put them
in the recycling bin.
We all know about putting plastic
bottles and aluminum cans in the recycling bin, to go eventually to
the recycling center (and from there get shredded up or melted down
to be used again). But there are other ways to recycle too.
Packing peanuts can be used over and over again, or even turned into
something new -- like part of an art collage. Donating things
we're not using anymore (clothes, toys, furniture and etc.) to those
who will use them is also a kind of recycling. Or taking
something that's worn out and fixing it up so we can still use it.
Recycling and re-using means we will need
less raw resources (like timber, petroleum, metals, etc.) and will
need to use less energy to harvest and process them. It also
helps other people and can even save us a lot of money. Plus
it cuts down on the amount of stuff piling up in landfills.
Try to think of ways to cut down on how
much stuff you throw out each day, each week, each year. One
way is to avoid buying things you don't really need. Others
include writing to senders of junk mail and asking them to remove
you from their mailing
lists, and trying to buy products that don't come with a lot of extra
packaging (wrappers, boxes, packing materials). You might also
try our craft idea below for turning old paper
bags into wrapping paper (after you've re-used them once or twice). What else can
you think of? Be sure to send us an email about your fun idea,
so we can try it ourselves.
What a great day
to talk about all that the Earth gives us! Hold an Earth Day
"thanks giving" feast -- with fresh fruits and vegetables. Go
to a farmer's market this week and fill your basket (or whatever
your brought to fill) with beautiful plant food that's fresh from
a sampling feast! Talk about the foods, where they come from
and what they do for your body, and what it takes to produce them --
and most of all, how glad you are for them.
To do more:
draw pictures, write poems, start a vegetable garden (even if it has
to be in one pot).
have to become a vegetarian to help out in this area. Just cut
back a bit and try new things. The simple truth is that a
plant-based diet requires much less energy, land, and other
resources to produce the same protein and calories a diet based
heavily on animal products. So just like we've figured
out it's a bad idea to live on fast food value meals all the
time, now it's time to pay attention to how much healthier we'd be
if we were eating more fresh fruits and veggies and more wholesome complex
carbohydrates. It helps our bodies, our pocket books,
and the planet. Everybody wins!
Spread the Word!
Earth Day card!
This goes beyond recyclable -- this card doesn't
require paper of any sort. (You will however need the email
address of the person you're sending it to.)
can even send an e-card celebrating
endangered animals, like the whale, the panda, tiger, wolf, snow
leopard, rhino, and even the shark.
You can also send an
Arbor Day card, encouraging them to "think green" and plant a
Be sure to tell your friends to visit
to check out all the great suggestions for celebrating Earth Day -- and
for making the planet a healthier, safer place.
The founding of Earth day began in San Francisco, California in 1969
at the urging of a
named John Mc Connell who
proposed the idea to the city's board of supervisors.
Approved by the board, the
idea was further supported by U. N. Secretary General U Thant, famed
anthropologist Margaret Mead, and many others who helped it spread
The first Earth Day was held March 21,
1970 (to coincide with the start of spring). Earth Day has helped
generate so much public awareness about the need to
save the environment, help preserve animals species, and protect human
health that it has helped accomplish these important changes:
In 1970 the Environmental Protection
Agency was established and the Clean Air Act was passed in Congress.
In the years immediately following the
first Earth Day important laws were passed to protect people,
animals, and the environment: the Endangered Species Act, the
Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act,
and the The Federal Occupational Health and Safety Act.
In 1990 the UN Earth Summit, held in Rio
de Janeiro, was made up of the biggest group of national political
leaders ever to meet in one place! The summit was an important
meeting that initiated many policies and studies to address issues
of biodiversity and climatic change.
In the 90s many Eastern European nations
conceded to public pressure to create new environmental protection
agencies in those countries.
Earth Day is now celebrated every year on
In addition to its
environmental focus, Earth Day is also a celebration of the power and
importance of peaceful cooperation-- of all people working together to
make a better future.
This year children and adults all over the world will be taking part in
both individual and organized group activities to commemorate this
important time of learning and celebration.
Please note that
Teachers.net has an
Earth Day discussion board
where folks are posting ideas. Be sure to give it a look after you
have browsed the ideas below.
Feel free to email any further news
or ideas to us.
Can you go litterless at lunch?
Hold a contest to see which
classroom makes the least amount of garbage at lunch-time during
Earth Week (April 14th - 29th 2002). From
Ask your family what you can do
together to make your home more environmentally friendly!
Ask your school to hold an
Earth Day assembly.
Go grocery shopping with your
mom or dad this week and see if what goes in the cart is
environmentally friendly (very
little packaging, containers can be recycled, food stuff grown or
raised organically, much more plant-based food than animal products,
Give Earth a
hand -- bulletin board. (Grades K through 8.)
Have each student trace a hand and cut it out. On each
finger, the student can write one way in which he or she can
help Earth. Display the colorful hands around a map of the
world or an art rendering of planet Earth.
vest out of recycled paperstuff.
You'll need some of this: old string, shoelaces,
yarn; gum wrappers, bread tags, bottle caps, old gift wrap, tp
rolls, etc; newspaper. From DLTK.
Make a poster!
a poster about Earth Day or about one of the ways to help the
Earth that you want your class or family to remember.
Earth Day Groceries Project- increase awareness of Earth Day by
making special Earth Day grocery bags for your supermarket. Good
school project. These bags could be used in the grocery
challenge, above, or donated to a local market for customers to
use on Earth Day.
Recycle old paper
bags into wrapping paper. You
will need to carefully cut open the paper bags into flat sheets,
so that you can use the plain, unprinted (in)side for
decorating. Then get out washable paints, markers,
crayons, etc. and get busy! Make pictures or just cool
designs -- or both! You could even use tree leaves to make
rubbings or prints!
Select your country/language, then play along
to find out how much of the planet's resources you take up.
The best part is, this site includes lots of resources to help you
do a better job!
Each unit contains explanatory content, online resource links, book
suggestions, 6-8 lesson plans and 2-10 worksheets. Days and days of
learning and exploration within each unit! Brought to you
directly from the Home School Learning Network - an award-winning
publisher of education content and unit studies on the web.