Earth Day may be just one day in April, but I like to use the whole month to teach my students ways to take care of our planet. These are some of my favorite Earth Day activities.
Earth Day Activities for Your Classroom
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Looking around your school you will probably see litter on the playground, wasted food in the cafeteria, and recyclable items thrown in the garbage can in your classroom. Earth Day is the perfect time to teach your students ways to solve these problems. These are my favorite Earth Day activities to do with my students.
#1 – Earth Day Books
The Lorax – There are so many amazing books to celebrate Earth Day! The Lorax is one of my favorites. I read it to my students, and we have a discussion about conserving natural resources. We make a chart of ways we can reduce our waste, reuse things we would normally throw away, and recycle. My students keep a journal of all the ways they help our planet for a week.
The Wartville Wizard – This is another one of my favorite books to share with my students. In the story, an old man is tired of cleaning up everyone else’s trash around his neighborhood. He is given “the power over trash”. He is able to point to a piece of garbage, and it gets stuck to the person who littered. After reading the book, we go outside and clean up the area around our school. Be sure to take lots of garbage bags and hand sanitizer!
Miss Rumphius – In this book, Miss Rumphius plants flower seeds everywhere to make the Earth more beautiful. We read it as part of the science plants unit that we do around Earth Day. Then, we plant lettuce seeds in our school garden. By the end of the year, the lettuce grows and everyone gets to take some home.
#2 – No Waste Lunch
One of the biggest problems at my school is the waste in the cafeteria. Every day when I pick my students up, I see full trays of food dumped in the garbage cans. That doesn’t even include all the empty baggies, foil wrappers, and paper lunch bags.
To make my students more aware of this problem, we have a no waste lunch for Earth Day. Everything they bring has to be reusable – the lunchbox, drink thermos, and food containers. We eat outside and don’t bring any trash cans with us, so everything that comes out has to go back inside.
This activity makes my third graders very aware of how much trash they usually make. Many of them try not to waste anything for the rest of the year.
#3 – The Big Backyard Challenge
Earth Day is also the perfect time to encourage your students to put their devices away and go outside after school. The weather is nicer, and there is so much to do and see in nature.
My school created The Big Backyard Challenge to get our students to put away the computers and video games and go out and explore nature. There are five Bingo boards – one for each quarter of the school year and a bonus summer board. The students spend time outside doing the activities and color the boxes as they finish them. Then, they get a prize for getting Bingo or a blackout.
#4 – Recycling Fun
Work with your students to make a list of things they can recycle. Have them look around their houses for the items on the list and bring them to school. Collect things like cereal boxes, plastic soda bottles, and egg cartons.
Once you have a wide variety of recyclable items, have your students use them to create carnival games. Plastic soda bottles are perfect for a ring toss game. Aluminum cans are great for a coin toss game. Let your students be creative and see what other ideas they have.
Once all the carnival games are ready, invite other classes to try them. This is a fun way to get the whole school involved.
Get everything you need to have a Recycling Carnival in this Earth Day Activity Pack. It also includes a themed math activity, reading comprehension questions, and a writing activity.
#5 – Nature Walk and Collage
Take your students on a nature walk around the school. Have them collect unique things in nature – leaves, sticks, pinecones, etc. They could also bring things from home if you don’t have a large school campus.
Once they have collected several things from nature, use the items to create nature collages. You just need some glue and paper. Have your students use the items they collected to create designs. You will be amazed by your students’ creativity!
Earth Day Fun
Using some of these Earth Day activities in your classroom will make your students aware of the role they play in keeping our planet healthy.
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What Do You Think?
What are your favorite Earth Day activities to do in your classroom?
Let me know in the comments below.
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