Teach children about keeping the Earth clean with these engaging Earth Day ideas, bulletin boards, and arts and craft activities. This post includes a free writing and Earth Day art project, book suggestions, and writing prompts for your celebration.
This post includes fantastic Earth Day ideas, activities, and ways to teach children about caring for the Earth.
Earth Day Ideas & Classroom Activities
Every year I teach my students that they can make a difference in the world by doing small things daily. I believe that educating our children and students about caring for our Earth is extremely important in today’s world. The children of today are the ones who will make a real difference in how the Earth continues to evolve in the future.
In my classroom, I spend the two weeks before Earth Day (April 22nd) teaching my students how they can care for the Earth and completing Earth Day activities. We discuss what they can do in their classroom, at home, and on the playground.
It’s fun to brainstorm ideas, go on a nature scavenger hunt, and have great discussions on how we can keep the classroom and playground clean, save energy, and do our part to keep the Earth green and beautiful.
We practice reusing items instead of throwing them away, and we recycle our containers and paper when we finish with them every day. Creating an Earth Day craft using recycled materials (i.e., turning plastic water bottles into glitter bottles) and sorting it into compost and recycle bins are a few of our favorite activities. Also, we reduce how much energy we spend by turning off our classroom lights, and we go outside to pick up trash left out on the playground.
Earth Day Ideas: Great Books
We read many helpful books that remind us and teach us about recycling, conversation, and the planet Earth. Add a few of these beautiful books to your Earth Day lesson plans and have kids write about them afterward. At the end of this post, you can grab a free set of writing prompts to go with some of these books!
A few of my favorite books are:
Earth Day Books
The Earth and I by Frank Asch – One child has a relationship with Earth that is friendly and fun, but when the Earth is sad, the child feels empathy and wants to make it happy.
10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh – This book teaches kids how to care for the Earth while doing everyday tasks such as brushing their teeth and using writing/drawing paper.
Green by Laura Vacaro Seeger – The color green is found in many parts of the child’s life and nature, and this book points out the many kinds of green that exist.
These books give kids some great, simple ideas of things they can do to help every day!
You can find these Earth Day books here, alongside other excellent books about taking care of the Earth!
Earth Day Ideas: Poetry & Writing
We read a poem of the week called “Earth Day Every Day!” and we completed our follow-up poetry activities. This poem and activities, plus many more, are available here.
We write about why every day should be Earth Day using the ideas we have brainstormed on a chart. I give my students a template that they may wish to follow for ideas.
Earth Day Ideas: Art Activities
1. Holding the Earth Art Activity
With any classroom unit or theme, I love to incorporate art to illustrate our learning.
For the student “Holding the Earth” art activity, I start by taking a photo of each student pretending to hold a ball over their heads.
I print them out in black and white off the computer.
We each color a coffee filter with green and blue markers to look like the Earth, and we spray the filters with water and let them dry.
Lastly, we assemble and glue our writing, photos, and Earth onto a green tag. We include the “Every Day is Earth Day!” writing with our photo and water-sprayed Earth to create a lovely display. We post each of the displays together on a bulletin board.
This display is my favorite bulletin board of the year. We have the parents in to show off our writing and how cute their children look holding up the Earth!
2. Recycled Paper Self-Portraits & Bulletin Board
We also make “Recycle Kids” self-portraits on newspaper print. First, we start by drawing a self-portrait with a pencil and then use sharpies to trace the lines. Next, we color our clothes and hair (not skin). We glue it onto white cardstock for durability and cut it out. It was an exciting activity because my students had never reused a newspaper this way before. They said it seemed strange to have newspaper print as their skin color.
This art activity creates a meaningful result and a special bulletin board with an important message.
I add an earth cut-out to the bulletin board. My class made it a previous year by tearing out pieces of blue and green paper from old National Geographic magazines and gluing them down to look like the Earth. What a great project of teamwork that was. I enjoy REUSING the Earth again each year!
Earth day is a great day to remind yourself and your students about the importance of keeping our Earth clean and healthy.
I had a parent come and tell me today that her daughter no longer wants to have baths but “quick showers that save water!” It makes everything we do to teach our students worth it when it improves our attitude or behavior.
Earth Day Ideas and Resources
Earth Day Teaching Unit
If you are looking for Earth day ideas, this Earth Day unit includes writing, reading, science, and more hands-on learning activities.
FREE Earth Day Writing Activity
Grab a copy of the FREE “Ways I Help the Earth” mini-book, children’s book list, and writing prompts by clicking the image below!
More Spring Classroom Ideas
Spring-themed Ideas and Activities
I remember seeing that Earth project and wanting to try it, but I forgot again this year! There's always next year I guess. So glad you reminded me about it! I'm going to stick it in my plans now and maybe I won't forget next year!! Thanks for sharing- they turned out to be adorable!!
Keep Calm and Love First Grade
Thanks for stopping by…yes you must add these ideas to your plans for next year. I wish earth day was a week instead (even though I did activities for 2 weeks…it was worth it!).
I would absolutely love the “everyday is earth day” writing paper! Anyone know where I can find it? I cannot wait to do the holding the Earth activity with my 2nd graders this year.
Hi, I love your Earth Day packet. I bought it. Now I’m looking for the “Everyday is Earth Day” dotted/ lined sheet that goes along with the coffee filter project. Is it in there? Or did I miss it?
Proud to be Primary
Hi Sarah. Please give us a quick email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request and we will send that template your way!