It’s like the sex talk – best not to explain everything all at once. Bite size pieces along the way are preferable and easier to digest.
Showing Our Love of the Earth All Year Long
Celebrating the seasons is one way that my family celebrates the Earth all year long. In Snowshoeing in an Avalanche I described how we tie the winter solstice celebrations into Hannukah and Christmas. We strive to do this sort of thing in the beginning of each new season. We talk about the ever-changing amounts of light and dark (or day and night).
This spring we talked about there being equal parts light and dark on the equinox. We noticed the budding leaves on the trees trees and spring flowers. The spring bunnies brought baskets for my kids on the first day of spring. We wove in conversations about how bunnies, lambs, and eggs were once a symbol of spring, but have been commercialized into symbols of Easter. By the way, eggs and lambs are also symbols of Passover.
Another way to celebrate the earth is to always be mindful of our consumption and waste. Sometimes we talk about what we choose to throw away, compost, or recycle. We also try to bring awareness to cleaning up litter. We especially like to do this when we visit the ocean. Nothing makes trash look more, well, trashy than when it is on a pristine beach.
Because my husband and I are hippies at heart, caring for Mother Earth is ingrained in us. It’s a passion, a commitment, a lifestyle. We’re mindful to educate our children around this necessity too.
Ways to Begin Acknowledging the Earth to Kids
- Observe or study living things. Talk about the cycle of plants from seed to plant. Dig in the dirt. Find bugs. Look for animals. Listen for birds. Find their habitats.
- Show respect for all living things. This isn’t about being a vegetarian or a gardener. It’s simply a child’s first lessons that there are other living things sharing Earth and we need to share well.
- Hold a globe. Talk about the planet. Talk about the shape. Talk about it spinning and rotating. Show the land and the water. Introduce the importance of clean water and how the waterways connect to the oceans.
- Discuss waste. Talk about where our trash goes. Talk about recycling and composting. Make a list of ways to reduce your waste. Recycle used goods by donating.
- Make a family resolution. Choose something everyone in the family can do all year long to help the earth (great family meeting topic!)
- Earth Day crafts. If you are looking for crafty ideas, I’ll link you to some creative folks. Feel free to share your favorite links in the comment section.
Treat Earth Day Like a Birthday Party for the Earth
I love Earth Day. It’s like a birthday party. It’s a day to celebrate, but certainly not the only day to reflect on and pay attention to our planet. How will you celebrate Earth Day with your kids?