Elementary-aged children love to feel they are making a difference. There are so many Earth Day activities and experiences that can make them feel they are an important part of their planet’s future!
Virtual Field Trips
So many of our students have a very limited view of the world. Let’s face it–they’ve only been on the planet for a few years! That being said, with the increased availability of technology, we now have ways to bring the world to our students! Whether you tour national parks, visit a volcano, or peek into an aquarium–we can teach our children about the majesties of our planet. A simple Google search can take you all over the world. Check out a few of these! The Seattle Aquarium has a ton of super cool things including live webcams and lots of cool information for kids. Want to explore some national parks? CLICK HERE to virtually explore! Th world is literally at your fingertips–and what better way to celebrate Earth Day and help students fall in love with our planet.
Earth Day Reading
There are so many amazing books that can used to build awareness of issues related to our planet. Don’t forget to consider both picture books AND informational texts. A quick Google search turns up TONS of books to share with students to help them develop an appreciation of the world around them. (Want me to save you time? Here’s a great starting place!)
I want to remind you that another great approach is to immerse the students in a mini-research project on a topic of their choosing. Whether you use ebooks or paper books, brainstorm a list of topics with your students. Gather those books from the library and turn them loose! From endangered specials to the rainforest to recycling, there are dozens and dozens of topics that can be the source of some great Earth Day reading!
Have students work alone or in partners to read about a topic they love and design a great Earth Day poster to share their learning! Display around your school and celebrate!
Earth Day Math
A huge part of being more aware of what our planet needs invites us to examine some of the very real numbers and statistics associated with our changing planet. From the magnitude of trash we produce every year to the energy savings with improved lightbulbs–there are tons of numbers related to Earth Day that just make good problem solving!
Have students find their own stats and write word problems for their classmates to solve. Or, if you are short on time, CHECK THESE OUT. This set has 12 Earth Day word problems, each with a “challenge” component for 24 total problems. They are available in multiple formats, both print and digital. This is one of eight sets in my seasonal word problem bundle, all of which have both print and digital access. CLICK HERE to check out the reduced bundle!
Help in the Community
Consider taking your students on a trash pick up walk, make signs to post around your school or town to promote recycling, or find any number of ways to make a difference. Getting students engaged and involved as children helps build a community of adults who care! Ask your students to brainstorm projects that you can do both at school and with families. Invite students to report back with what they have done to make their community a better place to be! After all, Earth Day activities don’t have to take place inside school walls!
Earth Day Activities and Art
One of the things we simply don’t give students enough experience within schools involves creativity and the arts. Whether you create sculptures out of recycled materials, paint coffee filters to look like the world (This is actually one of the lessons in my Maps and Globes resource if you are interested!), or creating posters about endangered species, there are tons of art ideas for Earth Day.
Just think of all the ways you could represent the earth itself! Collages of torn paper…watercolors…oil pastels…markers. Have students get creative and then write a “pledge” to the planet and display them! Write Earth Day poems to accompany their art projects. The list goes on and on. A quick internet search can give you hundreds of other ideas!