How to Celebrate Earth Day With Little Kids

by Meghan Fitzgerald

Earth Day is upon us again! What a great opportunity for us parents to teach our kids about the importance of honoring our planet in all of its beauty and wonder. It can be hard, though, to find the right clean up or community project that feels like a fit for the whole family, especially when kids are still young. But, we are thrilled to share our favorite way to engage young kids in celebrating on this special day: throw the Earth a birthday party!

The celebration of the Earth during this time of year is engrained in our history as humans. For as long as spring has awoken the ground from the slumber of winter, and people have worked the land, we’ve found ways to honor and thank our planet. Many cultures have long looked at springtime as the Earth’s birthday, celebrating this time of rebirth and renewal. 

During the 1970s, April 22nd was declared as the official Earth Day, and a national movement toward environmentalism was born. While there are many meaningful ways to celebrate Earth Day, we like to spend this special day with our kiddos at Tinkergarten by throwing a birthday party for the Earth. 

Photo: Jennifer A. Johnson, Cahoots Media

Photo: Jennifer A. Johnson, Cahoots Media

One of the reasons we like to celebrate the Earth this way is because birthday parties are a concept that really resonates with all children—what toddler does not know and love a good birthday party?! So, throwing a birthday party for the Earth is not only a really accessible and engaging play scenario, it’s also an age-appropriate way to establish a genuinely positive association with our planet. 

If the concept seems a bit goofy to you, remember, children move effortlessly between reality and fantasy, and the blending of the two supports their developing sense of the world. So, for them it is an easy leap to personify our Earth just enough to throw the planet a party. And, when they do, they activate their imaginations while building a greater, more personal connection to the natural world.

Not to mention, it’s great, messy and creative fun. When kids to prepare a birthday party for the Earth, they can create all kinds of treats and decorations—whatever they think they need for a great party—using the natural objects and materials around them. This kind of open-ended purposeful play is the perfect way to support creativity

Even if young children spend their time just manipulating just materials like dirt, water and sticks, they engage multiple senses and have positive chances to explore messy play. The chance to act messy in these early years gives a foundation to a young person to “think messy” or flexibly and creatively later on. 

Photo: Jennifer A. Johnson, Cahoots Media

Photo: Jennifer A. Johnson, Cahoots Media

So, start getting your kids ready for a great big Earth Day birthday celebration! You can start collecting ideas today for what your kids think you’ll need for the party. Whether they desire mud pies, cakes or other treats, grab some water, find a spot outdoors this April 22nd, and celebrate the Earth. If you’d like some more ideas or suggestions, check out our Earth Day activity at Tinkergarten. Then, share your birthday party photos with us at #Tinkergarten #EarthDay2018 and #Tinkergarten. We can’t wait to see and share in your celebration, and we could not be more grateful for our shared home! 

Happy Birthday, Earth!