Three Indoor Earth Day Activities for Kids

6:00 AM

I love to celebrate Earth Day in the classroom. It is important to get kids thinking of how they can take better care of the planet they live in and there are so many things you can do to get them really thinking. Also, these activities here will work with a variety of elementary grades. You can adopt and accommodate these activities to fit the needs of your students; however, they will still be learning about taking care of our planet in a hands-on way. These three activities were popular with my elementary students that will engage your students to celebrate this national holiday.

Activity 1 Importance of Recycling

Have students draw a house on a piece of paper. They will need to include the basic needs for living. For example, including a lake, river, garden, or farm. Once everyone has finished creating their house with their basic needs line them all up to make a street!

Once your class street is ready take a bunch of recyclable trash and throw it in the middle of the entire street. Next, ask them questions like “What happened to our street? What about your water source? What do you think will happen if the trash pile keeps growing? What can we do to clean it up?”

With this activity my students were able to see the impact of throwing trash around and not recycling. This activity lead into activity number two.

Activity 2 Reusing and Repurposing Items

I gave each student one of the recyclable items from our street. These varied from cereal boxes, plastic water bottles, scratch paper, broken pencils etc. During this time, we discussed the importance of reusing and repurposing old materials and turning it into new creations. I showed them this video to inspire them.

Finally, I had each student devise a plan to reuse or repurpose the recyclable item I gave them. To watch their imaginations and plans to make the world a better place was truly inspiring. They came up with all different ideas and this was a great activity to focus on a main component we often teach about Earth Day.

Activity 3 Reducing Water Waste

For this activity you will need a large bucket, a sink, hand soap (optional) and measuring cups. In front of the class you will need to wash your hands (hand soap optional just pretend) with the water running. However, leave the bucket in the sink to catch the water you would be wasting while washing your hands. Make sure to wash your seconds for the full twenty-six seconds like we are supposed to do!
Once you have finished washing your hands show the class the bucket of water. As a class measure it out into cups. You can do several math add-ons here! For example, older students can multiply the amount of cups used during one wash to however many times a day you should wash your hands. For example, if you had 6 cups of water in the basket and you wash your hands 6 times a day, students can see you’ve wasted 36 cups of water. Also, you can challenge students to convert to different ways to measure such as quarts, gallons, etc. With younger students you can have them add multiple hand washing sessions to see the total you would waste in a day. For a further extension have students calculate the amount of water wasted if every student in the classroom wasted that much water in a day.

Next, look up lakes in your area and see how many gallons of water is in that lake on an average year. Students can then calculate how long it would take until they filled up a lake as a class with the water they wasted.

Finally, discuss with your class on not only how to reduce the water waste but also other things they waste too!

These activities are great for Earth Day and since these are hands-on and engaging your students will learn about the three R’s and how to make our planet a better place.

Written by: Nicole Senden from Crafty Curriculum

by Crafty Curriculum

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