Apr 16

On Earth Day (& Every Day), Help Kids Be Earth Helpers

by Meghan Fitzgerald

It can feel really big to help our planet, especially with all that our planet is facing. This Earth Day—and every day—we can engage kids in starting with simple, small actions in service of the living things and environment right where we live. Imagine what would happen if everyone helped in that way—and all of those actions added up?!

Kids today can't help but feel the concern we all share for our planet. Helping them to take action and to feel like they are part of a world in which people, big and small, care and take action can really help counter balance their worries and lay the foundation for a lifetime of stewardship for our planet. Considering the needs of other creatures and doing something to meet those needs develops both compassionate and cognitive empathy. Finally, family projects designed around helping others are wonderful ways to reinforce both family and community values. We hope these ideas can help you and your Earth helpers get or stay in the game!

Step 1: Watch an Earth Helpers video lesson.

Watch our 13-minute "Earth Helpers" lesson from the Problem Solving series of Tinkergarten Home. Kids (and grown ups) can take inspiration from how explorers around the country and I take small steps to care for the planet and the creatures, living things and even non living things that make Earth so special. Then, you can choose from those ideas, more ideas below or your own imaginations to take action like Earth helpers in your homes and community spaces!

Learn more about Tinkergarten Home here.

Step 2: Problem solve together.

Wonder with kids, "How could we be helpers to the living things and the environment around us?" Invite kids to share ideas and share some of your own, too. Wonder together about the plants and creatures who live in your area and what they might need to thrive. Look through some of the ideas below together, too and talk about how these actions could help, and if everyone helped in their communities, how that could surely help the planet!

Step 3: Pick one action and make a plan.

Work with kids to pick one small action that you can do as a family on Earth Day—or whenever you can—to help care for the earth. Make a plan together for when and how you will take this step and what materials you might need. Want ideas? Here are some of our favorite ways to engage kids in being helpers to our earth and its creatures:

Pick up one bag of trash.

What would happen if every person picked up just one bag of trash? Enjoy these tips for picking up trash with little kids in tow, and join in the earth-loving, gratifying fun! Engage your circle of family and friends, too. Check out our One Bag of Trash DIY activity for tips and ideas. 

Cut out plastic.

Much of the plastic we use and throw away ends up in our oceans, and animals like sea turtles can mistake the plastic for food and get entangled in it. We can each help by finding ways to use less or even no plastic at home! Check out our Cut Out Plastic DIY Activity for ways that kids can really help!

Be a water protector.

Each of us can be a water protector! Try out some of these simple ways kids and their grown-ups can take action to conserve water in their homes and make a positive impact on water supply in their community.

Make compost. 

Composting helps reduce the impact of wasted food on the environment, while enhancing soil and helping plants thrive. One way to get kids right into the action is to engage them in adding food scraps right into soil. Read our Make Compost DIY for tips on how to involve kids in composting and give them an introduction into the rather elegant cycle that underlies how we all survive!

Plant for pollinators.

Picking out plants that support the pollinators in your area is a great family activity, and you can help kids understand how important the pollinators are, how many of them are in danger, and that we can all help give them what they need. Read here for tips on how to find out which plants are ideal for pollinators in your area and how to get kids involved in helping our pollinating friends.

Save the dandelions. 

Early in the spring, dandelions pop up to entice and offer pollinators like bees and flies a source of food while other plants take their time in producing nourishing flowers. These amazing flowers are often weeded out in pursuit of the perfect lawn or over picked for play, taking that important early food source away from our friends, the bees—friends who are increasingly in danger and need our help! Take the dandelion challenge with kids, spread the word and help save the bees! Read here to learn how.

Make a water fountain for bees.

Bees need to drink water, just like us! Bees use water to digest their food, feed their babies and dilute honey that has become too thick or crystalized. Bees also add water to their hive and fan it with their wings to cool down the hive when it becomes too hot.  The pollen and nectar that bees eat don't contain much water, though, so bees must have a water source. Read our Water Fountain for Bees DIY for tips on how kids can create a water source for bees.

Care for migrating birds.

Some experts estimate that there are more than 2,000 species of bird in North America, and many of those birds travel long distances as they migrate with the changing of the seasons. These travelers burn tremendous amounts of energy, and they can really benefit when we put out safe sources of nutrition to support them on their way. Learn how to make a pine cone feeder with kids here. Or, read here to learn how to turn an orange into a feeder for migrating birds.

Step 4: Celebrate!


Throw a birthday party for the Earth.

No matter where you are in the country, spring is time of transformation. Through the ages, many cultures have looked at springtime as the Earth’s birthday, celebrating this time of rebirth and renewal. That makes it the perfect time to throw the Earth a birthday party, full of mud pies, nature decorations and joy. The chance to stage a birthday party for the Earth is a marvelous, age appropriate way to celebrate Earth Day and a new season while you also inspire creative mess-making, pretend play and a genuine connection to and appreciation for our planet. To kids, it’s just a good old time. And, though it may not feel like the typical way to "do service," it is a wonderful way to welcome kids to reflect on all of the reasons why we can be grateful for our planet, fall even more in love with the natural world, and plant the seeds for a lifelong promise to protect it!

Step 5: Share and Inspire!

Share ideas, stories and photos of whatever you do as Earth Helpers with as many people as you can. When you share, tag @tinkergarten and #EarthHelpers so we can share, too! So many of us feel overwhelmed by where to even begin to help address our planet's growing needs that every idea and bit of inspiration can help. And, as Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has."


Meghan Fitzgerald


After 20+ years as an educator, curriculum developer and school leader, I have my dream gig—an entrepreneur/educator/mom who helps families everywhere, including my own, learn outside. Prior to Tinkergarten®, I worked as an Elementary School Principal, a Math/Science Specialist & and a teacher in public and private schools in NY, MA and CA. I earned a BA with majors in English and Developmental Psychology at Amherst College, an MS in Educational Leadership at Bank Street College, and was trained to become a Forest School leader at Bridgwater College, UK. My worldview is formed in response to my environment, culture, family, identity and experiences. What I write in this blog will inevitably betray the blind spots I have as a result—we all have them! Please reach out if there are other perspectives or world views I could consider in anything I write about. I welcome the chance to learn and update any pieces to broaden our shared perspective!

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