37 Earth Day Activities for Kids

Whether you want to head outdoors or stay in

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

earth day activities for kids: child cleaning litter off the ground at a park
FG Trade/Getty Images

Monday, April 22nd marks Earth Day 2024, and while we aren’t limiting our pledge to live a little greener to a single day, it’s a great opportunity to teach our kids about living sustainably. (And, perhaps, in a more fun way than, “Hey, throw that in the recycling bin, not the floor!”)

Need a refresher? Well, it’s been 54 years since the world’s first Earth Day in 1970, which kicked off a righteous revolution and a collaborative mission for all citizens of the world to champion “creativity, innovation, ambition and [the] bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future,” according to

Meeting these lofty goals doesn’t happen in one day, and it surely hasn’t happened in 54 years. But it’s a benchmark that we can keep working towards with consistent lifestyle changes and choices that are deliberate and ever-evolving.

So, whether you color yourself a conservationist, have a green thumb or are simply looking to teach your kids something about sustainability, there are tons of ways to get involved. Read on for 37 of the best Earth Day activities for kids, from taking care of plants to participating in cleanups to recycling and upcycling toys and clothes.

earth day activities for kids reconsider your toothbrush
Kelvin Murray/Getty Images

1. Reconsider Your Toothbrush

One billion plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills every year (and can take over 400 years to decompose), but skipping the plastic and introducing a sleeker, reusable brush is definitely something to smile about. Companies like MamaP create bamboo toothbrushes for the whole family, all sold in recyclable Kraft paper boxes, with ergonomic, compostable handles. They also donate 5 percent of sales to different environmental organizations (determined by the color of each handle).

earth day activities for kids sustainable recipes
AnVr/Getty Images

2. Fuel Up for Breakfast with a Sustainable Recipe

One of the biggest ways to pay Earth Day (and the Earth, overall) the respect it deserves is to really consider where your food comes from and what it costs (think: carbon emissions, water and land use) to bring it to your table. Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but instead of going big with the fare, pare down and prepare something that still packs a punch, sustainably. Sweet potato pancakes are festive in all the right ways: they can make use of leftovers from the night before and they’re made with spelt flour which doesn’t require toxic pesticides to grow.

earth day activities for kids ride a bike
koldo studio/Getty Images

3. Ride Before You Drive

Wherever you need to go on Earth Day, from point A to point B, make it a priority to leave a little earlier and trade your tires for some wheels. Cars can easily emit up to 20 pounds of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere for each gallon of gasoline burned, so transportation means and modes need serious tweaking.

earth day activities for kids dog walk
ferrantraite/Getty Images

4. Take the Dogs for a Longer Walk

Yes, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, but if we’re speaking for at-wits-end parents everywhere, we have no plans to stay beholden to his beyond-the-burrow predictions. At the first signs of warmer weather, we’ll be pushing our own little groundhogs (human and canine) out the door for some fresh air. Lean into a longer walk to stretch your legs and lap up all of that sunshine and Vitamin D.

earth day activities for kids plants
yaoinlove/Getty Images

5. Bring Some Plant Life Home

Maybe you don’t have a dog yet, but if your kids are showing major interest in a pet (or more than one), start with easy houseplants first and encourage their sense of responsibility with practice, practice, practice (feeding them, making sure they’re well lit, etc.). Not only do plants add indoor appeal and happy vibes, they can help regulate the temperature in your house through the moisture they release into the air.

earth day activities for kids collecting rainwater
yaoinlove/Getty Images

6. Start Collecting Rainwater

While you should always try to cut down shower time and turn the faucets off while brushing your teeth and washing your hands, you can also do something impactful with all the water that falls outside. Sure, you can look into rainwater collection systems (spoiler alert, they’re v. expensive), but for an easier approach, have the kiddos collect drips in beach buckets or their spring and summer-use water tables, which can double as Earth Day sensory bins. Then repurpose the non-drinkable water for cleaning or watering plants.

earth day activities for kids spring cleaning
Rawpixel/Getty Images

7. Spring Clean for an (Earth Day) Cause

Donate old clothes to local shelters or Goodwill (contact them first, to adhere to COVID safety protocol) and recycle anything else (say old electronics, or furniture no one’s using) if it’s not particularly sparking joy at home.

On that note, here are a few other things you can do:

  • Opt for a whole new arsenal of non-toxic, plant-based cleaning products like this one or this one.
  • Knock down the plastic detergent bottle buildup in your laundry room with 100% biodegradable laundry detergent sheets that use simple, naturally derived ingredients in an ultra-compact, easy-to-use application.
  • Consider a wardrobe overhaul for everyone in your family and shop for sustainable clothing that can be worn, washed, put through the wringer and then handed down. Stores like Hanna Andersson and Pact are among our faves.
earth day activities for kids rock climbing
Don Mason/Getty Images

8. Power Down and Let Mother Nature Be Your Guide

Nature-inspired outings are a great way to get kids to put down their tablets and turn their attention to mother Earth, and there are opportunities to be had no matter where you live. Do some research on local nature trails and make a day of it—an Earth Day, that is.

earth day activities for kids local zoo
Taha Sayeh/Getty Images

9. Visit a Local Zoo and Learn About the Animals

We’re not alone on this Earth, and an occasion like Earth Day is a great reminder to get to know our sisters and brothers from another mother—and not just the mammal ones! So, if you have a zoo nearby, check and see if they’re open on weekdays.

earth day activities for kids adopt endangered animals
Riccardo Maywald/Getty Images

10. Adopt an Endangered Animal

Speaking of animals, Earth Day is a terrific time to get up to speed with the endangered animal species in our world. While it’s not really a holiday that warrants gifts, adopting an animal for yourself, your kids, a friend, niece, nephew, etc. is a sweet way to give back while also learning and growing as a global citizen. When you donate through WWFGifts and adopt an animal (from a three-toed sloth to a sea turtle hatchling), you help create a safer world for wildlife, protect amazing places and build a sustainable future where people live in harmony with nature.

earth day activities for kids recycle crayons
Jai Azzard/Getty Images

11. Recycle the Crayons That Aren’t the Sharpest in the Box

We all have them, the crayons that our kids have loved SO hard that they’ve been reduced to nubs at the back of our craft drawers. On Earth Day, it’s the perfect time to round up your old, broken, unwrapped or all-tapped-out and retired crayons and donate them to a place like The Crayon Initiative or The National Crayon Recycling Program where they can be given life anew. Alternatively, you can melt them down yourself and turn them into a jumbo crayon or work of art.

earth day activities for kids nearby creek
DonaldBowers/Getty Images

12. Clean a Nearby Creek

Join a community clean-up effort, gather a small crew or go it alone at your local creek or neighboring park—just be sure to bring a pair of gloves and survey the stream before disposing of any floating debris or pollutants you encounter. And don’t forget to have some fun exploring the native water dwellers while you’re there.

earth day activities for kids composting
Alistair Berg/Getty Images

13. Start Composting

If you’ve got a garden, spring is the right time to get started on your outdoor composting. But even if you don’t have a ton of outdoor space, you can start a small worm compost bin just about anywhere. All you need to get going is a plastic bin, some shredded paper and, of course, worms (which you can pick up at most pet stores or bait shops). Then start saving food scraps to drop in there for your little squirmers.

earth day activities for kids earth rangers
Mint Images/Getty Images

14. Go on an Adventure with the Earth Rangers

Lunii, a French startup known for its totally screen and emission-free “Fabulous Storyteller” device that lets children craft their own audio stories joined forces with kids’ conservation organization, Earth Rangers. Based on their popular ‘Earth Rangers’ podcast, listeners can tune into Earth Rangers Animal Discovery, make friends with ER Emma, and learn all about our planet’s diverse, adorable and fascinating creatures, from animals close-to-home to those we barely see in person.

earth day activities for kids donate old books
SDI Productions/Getty Images

15. Donate Old Books to a Local Library

As wonderful as they are, books have a way of becoming filler in every family’s house. Plus, let’s be honest: Is anybody really still reading Pat the Bunny over there? Have your kids gather up all of the books from their baby days, and bring them to the library or local book drive—or post to your neighborhood listserv, since you never know who is in the market for those old Nancy Drews you’ve been holding onto.

earth day activities for kids picnic
FatCamera/Getty Images

16. Have a Picnic on Your Deck or Front Yard

Put your commitment to sustainable eating to work with a picnic on your own turf. That way, you don’t even have to worry about getting “to-go” or travel-ready items, and can instead reuse utensils, dishes, bowls and blankets from home and then just throw them into the wash when you’re done. Plus, there’s nothing quite like laying out a blanket and dining in the grass as the sun goes down. (Psst…if the weather doesn’t cooperate with your plans for al fresco dining, you can always opt for an indoor picnic instead.)

earth day activities for kids solar oven smores
InkkStudios/Getty Images

17. Make Solar Oven S’mores

Everyone loves the campfire-famous snack, but how much cooler would it be to cook them in a DIY’ed solar-powered oven? Here’s a nifty tutorial. Gooey, golden-brown goodness, but make it green…

earth day activities for kids catch fireflies
huePhotography/Getty Images

18. Catch Fireflies for the First Time This Season

Once your tummies are full, the sky is dark and the stars are sparkling, take time out to run around and catch fireflies as a family. Full transparency: Firefly populations are disappearing all over the world, due in large part to increased light pollution. In order to keep these winged wonders in our neighborhoods and backyards, it’s up to all of us to help. That means ditching our flashlights, dimming the lights or drawing the blinds inside and turning off all of the exterior lights around our houses. Let the fireflies provide their glow as a guide.

earth day activities for kids book characters
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

19. Take a Page from Book Characters Your Kids Know and Love

Keeping the Earth safe isn’t a hard concept, especially when you can impart adaptable lessons from your childrens’ favorite stories. Some good reads to get you going? The Berenstain Bears Go Green, The Earth and I and The Lorax.

earth day activities for kids put parameters
Motortion/Getty Images

20. Put Some Parameters on Their Endless Scrolls

For parents with tweens or teens at home, pre-bedtime has the potential to be a series of endless scrolling into oblivion. If a “no phones at night” routine seems too strict, then instead assert some influence over the influencers they’re listening to. For all you know, following one of these youth climate activists on social media might be just the thing that interrupts their feed and activates their eco-consciousness.

earth day activities for kids earth pledge
Ivan Pantic/Getty Images

21. Make a Family Earth Pledge

There have been a lot of changes in our world as of late, but this year’s Earth Day is all about making sure we move forward and continue the work even on the personal scale. Some pledges your family might make:

  • Try to fill up your trash can only once per week
  • Walk to soccer practice every Sunday instead of driving
  • Never leave the house with any lights on
  • Go one month without buying any new clothes.

Bottom line: When we work together, we all win.

earth day activities for kids make a bird feeder
Cavan Images/Getty Images

22. Make a Bird Feeder

This fun, kid-friendly craft promises to make your backyard a more beautiful and inviting space, whilst having a significant positive impact on birdlife to boot. According to the National Audubon Society, feeders can actually help the birds in your neck of the woods survive, nest and procreate—provided you follow best practices, that is. Plus, it takes little more than a few minutes of research, a trip to the craft store and some Pinterest inspo to tackle this difference-making DIY project with your kid.

earth day activities for kids pick up litter at the park
Alistair Berg/Getty Images

23. Pick Up Litter at the Park

The environmental threat posed by litter is well-documented; it’s also just a shame to see pleasant public spaces strewn with garbage. Why not ask your child to gather a crew of friends at a cherished park for an afternoon of community service? It might not be the most glamorous activity, but the fresh air, good company and rewarding feeling that comes from doing right by the environment more than makes up for that.

earth day activities for kids volunteer at a community garden
Jupiterimages/Getty Images

24. Volunteer at a Community Garden

Head to a nearby community garden to volunteer by pulling weeds, planting seeds and more. Equal parts calming and physical—gardening is a hands-on activity that kids of all ages will enjoy, and the experience is all the more rewarding when done at a community garden, as these neighborhood spots work to reduce the carbon footprint by minimizing water runoff, cutting food transportation costs and promoting sustainable agriculture, among other things.

earth day activities for kids go on a scavenger hunt
Marc Romanelli/Getty Images

25. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are always a hit with kids and a nature-themed one is an ideal way to get your brood outdoors and in touch with their natural surroundings. This easy-to-plan activity can take place at a nearby nature preserve or in your own backyard—either way, young treasure-seekers will have no trouble finding some pretty fascinating stuff. Once all the participants have shared what they found, you can drive home the Earth Day message with a closing convo about the importance of protecting the environment.

Earth day activities for kids: Make Art out of Recycled Goods like this image of Houses and toy cars made from milk bags.
Alexander Vorotyntsev/Getty Images

26. Make Art out of Recycled Goods

There are a ton of kid-friendly art projects that can be accomplished with just the contents of your recycling bin and a bit of creativity. Cans, wine bottles, milk jugs, egg cartons, cardboard boxes and even old T-shirts—they all boast plenty of crafting potential. Start by browsing the internet for ideas and then get started turning one person’s trash into, er, the same person’s treasure.

Earth day activities for kids Plant a Terrarium
ArtMarie/Getty Images

27. Plant a Terrarium

Why take home just one houseplant in honor of Earth Day when you can create a whole, self-contained indoor landscape? Terrariums are seriously neat, lovely to look at and a lot of fun to put together with the help of a kid. Best of all, the process is creative and blessedly easy, too. (Psst: You can find a step-by-step guide and instructional video here.)

Earth day activities for kids: A child is holding a Monarch caterpillar
Jodi Jacobson/Getty Images

28. Raise Caterpillars

Go on a nature hunt to find caterpillars in their natural environment—they can be found munching on most plants in the spring and early summer—or buy some online and then set them up in a happy indoor home. These fuzzy creatures are quite easy to care for and if you raise ‘em right, you and your child will get to watch them grow and transform into beautiful monarch butterflies (to be released, of course). Ready to get started? You can find all the information you need in this handy guide.

Earth day activities for kids: Take a Virtual National Park Tour
Cavan Images/Getty Images

29. Take a Virtual National Park Tour

Good news: You can take the whole family on a trip to see some of Earth’s most stunning national wonders without even leaving the couch. Google Arts & Culture, Google Earth and the National Park Service all offer truly incredible interactive video tours of almost every national park, so you’re truly spoiled with choice. Fortunately, we put together a list of favorites to help you get your feet wet.

Earth day activities for kids: A girl holding a paper mache globed ball with a faint image of the world.
Rinelle/Getty Images

30. Make a Paper Mache Globe

Here’s a particularly fitting craft project for the occasion. A paper mache globe is surprisingly easy to make, provided you don’t mind a little mess and a relatively long time commitment (significant drying time is required in between each paper mache application and before painting). On the plus side, this labor of love will keep your kid occupied for a good while, whilst teaching him a thing or two about geography, too. If you’re ready to tackle the task, you can find a full tutorial at The Purposeful Nest.

Earth day activities for kids Build a Bug Hotel
Westend61/Getty Images

31. Build a Bug Hotel

This DIY project, courtesy of Garden Therapy, yields a fascinating piece of garden art that will provide shelter for flying insects (think: bees and ladybugs) and ground dwellers alike. It’s also fairly simple to put together using cedar boards and an array of organic materials from your own backyard—just keep in mind that there’s some construction required in making the wooden box, so kids will need help from a parent to pull it off.

Earth day activities for kids: Plants Hanging in Bottle Garden
Cristian Bortes/EyeEm/Getty Images

32. Create a Hanging Bottle Garden

Plastic bottles are repurposed to make hanging planters in this environmentally-friendly gardening project, which promises to beautify your backyard and bring out your kid’s green thumb. If you’re looking for a hands-on activity with Pinterest-worthy results, this one fits the bill.

Earth day activities for kids Make Your Own Paper
Dziggyfoto/Getty Images

33. Make Your Own Paper

Yet another recycling project that kids can get in on—this simple DIY involves turning paper shreds from old magazines and newspapers (or scrap paper from your kid’s growing stack of unfinished art) into a fresh piece of homemade paper. Just follow this simple tutorial from The Craftaholic Witch and you’ll be rewarded with a rustic and oh-so pretty blank canvas for future art projects.

Earth day activities for kids Visit a Recycling Center
Makiko Tanigawa/Getty Images

34. Visit a Recycling Center

Take your kid to visit a local recycling center—most offer free tours, but be sure to call in advance—so you can both learn what goes on with all those bottles and cans behind the scenes. This is an excellent and educational family field trip that’s sure to inspire a newfound appreciation for the three Rs of waste management.

Earth day activities for kids Tour a Water Treatment Plant
photovs/Getty Images

35. Tour a Water Treatment Plant

Same idea, different angle: Many water treatment plants offer public tours at specified times and some even have visitor centers with interactive educational resources. See what’s on offer at your local facility and check it out with your kid to gain a deeper understanding of the process that allows us to drink one of Earth’s most precious resources from a glass.

earth day activities for kids: child with hands pressed against tree
ArtMarie/Getty Images

36. Adopt a Tree

This concept allows kids to deepen their awareness of trees as living things, as well as helps them appreciate their surroundings. Take your kid on a walk—their favorite park is a great place to start—and ask them to choose a tree to observe. Encourage them to use all their senses to describe the tree, then ask them to look for signs of season (like budding flowers). Finally, they can fill out a journal entry about the tree they chose to adopt and visit it again and again in the future.

earth day activities for kids: mom and child picking wild berries in the forest
J_art/Getty Images

37. Go for a Nature Walk or Hike

Whether you want the walk to be a casual family adventure or more of an activity, it never hurts to get out in nature with your loved ones. Scavenger hunts, berry picking, seed collecting and even cartography are fun options. But if you just want to hit the trails somewhere beautiful, consider investigating kid-friendly state parks near you that can accommodate beginner hikers.

purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor

purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...