If you're anything like me, your day is packed full of reading and math - without much time to learn about holidays. But we should all take at least a few minutes to teach our students about Earth Day. It's so important for kids to know how to take care of the Earth, both for themselves and future generations.
So here are a few free Earth Day activities that you can include in your lesson plans.
These fun Earth Day worksheets and printables are an easy way to incorporate this holiday into your day. You can access each free download in the Resource Library (or just click on the image to go there). These are free for personal use and can be shared with your friends and colleagues.
Earth Day Word Search
This is a great way to incorporate important vocabulary words into your day and is simple enough for young children (first grade to second grade). It can be used in your reading centers because it involves literacy skills - building vocab and spelling.
Earth Day Mini-Book
This cute little book about planet Earth and taking care of it is a simple way to build environmental awareness in your young learners. It is written for beginning readers with simple text and sight words. They can also color the pictures.
Earth Day Coloring Pages
There are so many of these available online that I'm just going to link to a few that have a lot of options to choose from. Download a free coloring page for a quick time filler activity:
Other Fun Activities
Here are a few more Earth Day ideas that don't require a printer:
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt
This is a quick and easy activity you can do during recess. Make a list of items that are often found on the playground that shouldn't be there - pencils, erasers, candy wrappers, water bottles, paper, etc. Write the list on your board. When you get outside, set a timer for 2 minutes. Have your class scour the playground for any items that were on your list and bring them to you. (I suggest bringing a plastic grocery bag outside with you to hold their "treasures".) When you go back inside, tally up how many items they found that were on the list. As a reward, give them extra recess minutes for however many items they found!
Acrostic Poem Posters
All your students need for this activity is a pencil and piece of paper. First, have them select a word to work off of. I give my students two words to choose from to make it easy: EARTH or CLEAN. Then I let them partner up with someone else who chose the same word. I give each pair a BIG sheet of paper and they get to work writing their acrostic poem. We also get out markers and crayons so they can decorate their poem poster. My students always have a great time with this one! If you have hallway space available, you can hang their finished masterpieces in the hall for everyone to admire.
Earth Day Pledge
Most kids really do have caring hearts and want to do good in the world. Tap into this by having your class come up with their own Earth Day pledge. This is a quick little activity you can do at the end of the day to wrap up your Earth Day activities. First, brainstorm a bunch of ways to help protect the Earth. Ask students what they can do to help. Then have them contribute their own ideas and words to develop a pledge. Write it on your board and read it all together.
Classroom Recycling Center
This one requires a little more time and planning but is a super fun way to get kids thinking about how to take care of our earth by recycling and reusing. First, give each child a bag to take home (paper lunch sack or plastic grocery bag will do). Tell them to fill it with any recyclable CLEAN trash they can find such as toilet paper tubes, bits of string, empty Pringles cans, plastic caps, cardboard, egg cartons, etc. Just make sure they don't bring in anything dirty or unwashed.
Once they all return with their bags of items, put it all into one big box labeled "Recycling Center". Now it's time to get creative! Get out your glue and markers and let your students become trash artists. The goal is for them to use items from the recycling center in the most creative way possible to make something amazing. It can be a piece of art or an "invention" of some sort. This is a fun activity for students of all ages! If there is any leftover "junk" when you're done, it can be saved or passed on to another teacher to be used for stem challenges.
I hope some of these ideas inspire you and your students to take care of our planet this April 22nd. Happy Earth Day!
To aid your learners with their Earth Day writing, check out these Earth Day word wall vocabulary cards.
Includes 20 illustrated cards and Earth Day heading card.