So…today is Earth Day. It’s not a surprise, it’s been on the calendar, it happens every year. However, every year I wake up on Earth Day and think, “Huh, how did this sneak up on me again? How can I have nothing planned for this?” When the Underling was a younger child, we would plant flowers that attracted butterflies and bees, we would read the Lorax or sometimes watch it. So it should surprise no one, especially me, that today I woke up and thought, “Seriously, Earth Day is today? How did this get away from me?” I would say it is embarrassing, but frankly, that ship sailed a long time ago. Today I am going to embrace this last minute adventure. Earth Day kicks of Earth Week, so we can spend the next week (and let’s not kid ourselves here, I mean weeks) supplementing our days with some Earth Day activities. This year, I am trying to look for more meaningful and engaging activities and lesson plans that will appeal to a variety of ages and interests (including the Underling’s). Hopefully you will find something useful below. There are no affiliate links in this post, but there are ads. You can find my disclosure policy here.
ONLINE ARTICLES AND VIDEOS
- For the history of how and when Earth Day came to be, check out Earth Day from history.com.
- Three Decades of Earth Seen From Space is an interesting time-lapsed video. It is short and definitely worth watching.
- International Business Time’s article Earth Day 2017: Top Tips for a “Greener” Home.
- For articles on conservation, climate change, water, and wildlife check out World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
- Engineering for Good is designed for middle school ages, but I think high school age could benefit from it as well. This lesson plan is designed for a classroom setting, so you can use it over several weeks at co-op or adapt it for home use. PBS Learning Media and KQED is free, though registration is required for both.
- Check out PBS Teachers Lounge’s lesson plan resource post, Lasting Ways to Spring Into Action for Earth Week. Links to lesson plans for grades 3 to 12 are at the bottom.
- Zero Waste lessons are for grades 3 to 6 from Kid Science Challenge.
- Nature Works Everywhere is the rabbit hole of all resources for lesson plans: multiple grades, multiple topics, videos, activities, lesson plans, and teachers resources.
- Exploring Solar Power Unit from Teach Engineering is geared towards middle school ages, but can be extended into high school. Teach Engineering is worth exploring further, they offer a lot of resources and lesson plans for a wide variety of engineering related topics.
GAMES AND ACTIVITIES (table top and online)
- The National Park Service has an online junior ranger program available called Webrangers for ages 5 to 12.
- EPA’s Recycle City has online games, an activity book, resources for teachers, and links to more resources.
- Make the Water Cycle with LEGOs. Learn more from KCEdventures.
- Animal Tracks is for ages 5 and up. Younger kids will enjoy this game, older kids who have completed several rounds of game play will out grow it. It is a matching based game, with three games within the box: concentration, bingo, and guess the tracks.
- Wildcraft! is one of my favorite table top games for young children. I wrote a review you can find here if you want to learn more.
- Into the Forest, a Food Chain game by Ampersend Press is a family favorite. It is a card game for ages 7 and up.
- Hit the Habitat Trail states it is for ages 8 and up; however, I recommend ages 12 and up. Younger children can play with some adaptation or with partners, but some questions may be too difficult for younger children. I love this game for the wide range of information it covers. It is a must have game for homeschooling science, in my opinion.
- Swirl by Swirl by Joyce Sidman, illustrator Beth Krommes for ages 4 to 7 combines poetry, nature, and math.
- Audubon, On the Wings of the World by Fabien Grolleau, illustrator Jeremie Royer, is a graphic novel. I’m not in the habit of recommending a book I haven’t read, but I’m putting this one here because I think it is going to be a winner. I ordered my copy today.
- Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet by Harriet Rohmer is written for ages 10 to 14.