Around the world, people celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd. Earth Day offers an opportunity to motivate and educate children about topics like climate change, waste pollution, and recycling.
Having knowledge of why this holiday is observed and understanding the role of every individual in keeping our planet clean should be the main objectives when explaining this crucial holiday to children. Even if environmental conservation issues are complex, using simple examples such as picking up litter gives a child the required framework to comprehend what the day is all about.
This article offers vital information about how Earth Day can be explained to preschoolers, the importance of teaching them about this holiday, and some Earth Day lesson plans to incorporate in your classroom.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day is an annual event bringing awareness to caring for our planet and preserving our environment. Since preschoolers are too young to fully comprehend what Earth Day is all about, focus on teaching the basic aspects of our natural environment and how it plays an important role in our daily lives.
For example, you could teach about planting and caring for trees and plants or bring awareness to a local animal or plant that is endangered. Simple things like reading books about Earth Day can be a visual way of explaining these complex concepts.
Ways to make Earth Day fun
Once children hear stories and see how our Earth requires individual support, they might start wondering how to offer their help. Teachers can help them brainstorm on how to be active and bring about positive change. A list of things that can be done will aid them in achieving this, and it provides the opportunity for children to make fun art with stickers, crayons, markers, and paint.
Come up with incentives such as gifts or small prizes. Outside, preschoolers can be taken for nature walks or simple hikes to have them enjoy what they see. They should be introduced to plants, wildlife, and other resources for a great learning opportunity. When children are introduced to nature, their desire to help it survive grows.
Other important activities that can help children understand Earth Day include planting trees or flowers. The importance of trees, like giving oxygen, should be explained in simple terms that preschoolers can easily understand. This will help them gain an appreciation for nature as they watch their plants grow.
Teachers can also show love for animals in the wild by building small birdhouses with the children. This fun activity allows children to see birds hanging around during the day, further strengthening their desire to conserve nature and understand Earth Day.
Engage children in a classroom or neighborhood clean-up and help them use small trash bags and gloves to collect trash and separate recyclables. These can be great activities as they are not a single day's work but an ongoing process you can incorporate into your classroom.
Importance of teaching children about Earth Day
Teaching children about Earth Day instills a lasting desire and passion for ensuring the planet is clean and safe.
When the importance of recycling is explained during Earth Day, it can give children a sense of responsibility for reducing ground pollution and helping the planet remain safe and clean, a message that can be passed to future generations.
Other adversities like a limited supply of water and access to safe drinking water should be taught to children to encourage them to turn their faucets off when not being used, among many other water conservation methods.
Earth Day preschool activities
Earth Day preschool activities don’t have to be complex; as such, be careful with your choice of words and explain this concept as simply as you can with facts and visuals. Here are some Earth Day preschool activities to incorporate into your classroom.
This great activity will teach children the entire process of growing plants and even help them understand where the food they eat comes from. Using a simple container with your children, fill it with damp soil and plant a seed. Place it in an area with good lighting and keep watering it occasionally. As you do this, engage children and ask questions like, “Why do we water the seed?” or “Can you see the plant sprouting?”
Paper plate weaving
Paper plate weaving will spark conversations with children, such as stewardship of the Earth and the importance of keeping our planet green. Weaving the yarn and passing the weave will also challenge children’s fine motor skills and coordination. You will need scissors, paper plates, and green and blue yarn. Here is a simple tutorial to take you through the process.
Clean up alphabet
This activity helps instill the importance of not littering and keeping the environment clean. This activity aims to make “a mess” and teach your children how to clean it up. You will need a marker, flashcards or scraps of paper, and one container. Write each letter of the alphabet on a flashcard and spread the cards out on the floor. Have children pick up the flashcards and put them in the container. This activity teaches children how to clean up after themselves while also building knowledge of the alphabet.
Incorporate the Earth Day topic with an animal sensory activity to engage children's senses while discussing Earth's creatures at the same time. You will need different animal figures, green and blue food coloring, shaving cream, and a pan. Divide the shaving cream into two separate bowls and stir in blue food coloring in one bowl and green in the other. Spread the shaving cream in the pan to resemble the Earth. Place the animals in different positions. The children will be allowed to choose where the animals live and also discuss how they can be helped in their habitats.
Earth Day children's songs are a great tool to use to teach about important topics such as recycling and climate change. They can also help develop preschoolers’ vocabulary skills.
Painting using recycled items
This is an open-ended activity that allows children to be creative and teaches them to find new uses for old materials. Use recycled materials like toilet paper rolls and plastic bottles to paint and explore different textures and colors. Here is a tutorial for inspiration.
Provide children with books that are geared towards educating them on the importance of conserving the environment or keeping the planet safe and clean. The books should have illustrations and be easy to read and understand. Allow children to ask questions about what you have read and the importance of various activities that relate to environmental conservation.
Making your own crayons can be exciting and teach children about the importance of using readily available materials in the environment that are often thrown away. Follow these instructions to make homemade crayons.
For more activity ideas and tips on how to meaningfully engage families, download our calendar template for early education programs.
FAQs about Earth Day activities
How should you introduce Earth Day to preschoolers?
The most common methods to teach Earth Day to children are through crafts, reading stories about the Earth, participating in local events and scavenger hunts, teaching them about natural resources like water, and spending time outdoors.
What activities can preschoolers do on Earth Day?
Some of the activities that can be done include planting flowers, taking children on nature walks, and using recycled materials in arts and crafts projects. Activities that incorporate picking up trash can help teach about the importance of keeping our planet clean. Reading books and singing songs about the Earth can also introduce children to meaningful Earth Day concepts.
What can preschoolers do in the process of helping the Earth?
While at home or school, children should be encouraged to turn off the lights or running water when not in use, pick up litter, help in recycling plastic and cans, and donate their toys.
What can children plant during Earth Day?
Children can plant trees, flowers, or even vegetables. There are many simple gardening activities you can do with young children to teach them about plants and how to care for them.
How important is Earth Day for children?
Earth Day is vital for preschoolers as it helps them understand the need to protect the planet for themselves and future generations.
Celebrate Earth Day year-round
Simple Earth Day preschool activities help explain basic environmental concepts to children and instill an appreciation for our natural world. While Earth Day is a one-day event in April, teachers can continue to integrate topics like recycling, pollution, reusing, and planting year-round in their lesson plans.