Let’s be real- Earth Day is every day! However, it’s still exciting to have some fun Earth Day activities on hand to celebrate the actual day. As we celebrate this special day dedicated to our planet, let’s dive into some exciting activities that not only honor Mother Earth but also educate and engage people of all ages. Whether you’re a seasoned environmental enthusiast or just starting to explore ways to care for our planet, there’s something here for everyone.

When is Earth Day?

Earth Day occurs every year on April 22nd. The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22nd, 1970, largely in response to a Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969. The first Earth Day is still the largest secular protest that has ever occured!

Like I said earlier, Earth Day is every day! Seriously, we honor and respect our planet Earth every single day by tossing paper and plastic in the recycling bin and doing simple things to take care of our planet.

Earth Day Theme for 2024

Did you know that every year there is a theme for Earth Day!? The theme for 2024 is “Planet vs. Plastics”.

There are so many easy ways to fit this theme into your daily life. Consider cutting out single use plastics and switching to a reusable water bottle in favor of ditching plastic water bottles. Put a reusable bags in your car and cut out plastic bags. This is the perfect time to come up with an eco-friendly goal for the year.

Check out this ultimate list of easy Earth Day activities for all ages

Fun and Free Ways to celebrate Earth Day

1. Calculate your environmental footprint

This is my favorite one, which is why I put it first.  Calculating your environmental or ecological footprint is a fun way to make yourself aware off all the ways you could be more environmentally friendly.  After all, Earth Day is all about awareness.  I like to use Earth Day as a way to self reflect and see how I could improve.

Global Footprint Network is my favorite way to calculate my environmental footprint.  I find it entertaining for middle school kids and up.  Here is my footprint, and I think I live pretty sustainable compared to most people.  It’s eye-opening to realize that if everyone lived like me we would need 4 Earths to sustain us!

ecological footprint

Here is another one called Eco Footprint Calculator that is a little easier for elementary aged kids and still equally as fun for me!

2. Grow new plants from the waste of fruits and vegetables

Growing new plants from food waste is always fun for me.

Check out this book to help you get started.  Find some scraps in your fridge and start growing something on Earth Day.

If you find yourself really interested in food waste, check out my sister site, The Compost Culture. It’s an entire site devoted to composting! You can see my most popular post on electric composters here.

3. Plant seeds from fruits and vegetables

This is a tricky one and can easily turn into a science project.  Got kids who need to do a science fair project?  This could be a fun start!

Many genetically modified fruits and vegetables can not always be used.  Part of the point of most genetically modified organisms is that you have to pay a big company for their seeds.  It would defeat the point if the seeds could reproduce on their own.  This isn’t the case for all genetically modified plants which is why I think this is a fun science experiment.  Save seeds from an organic fruit or vegetable while also saving seeds from the same fruit or vegetable that is not organic.  Google the proper way to germinate the seed and see which one will grow.  Maybe both will! This is also really fun if you have a school garden.

Don’t feel like you have to buy specific fruits or vegetables for this one.  Just save the seeds of your tomatoes, squash, melons, garlic, apples, beans, grains and even some spices!   Keep in mind that these seeds may not turn into a real garden, but it is still fun to watch something grow from your waste.

For more information, check out Mother Nature Network.  I’d also recommend a specific Google search for your particular seed instead of a general search of “plant seeds from produce”.  You’ll get better results!

4. Get Outside and Celebrate Nature’s Beauty

I don’t think I need to explain myself here!  Earth Day is the perfect day to plan an outdoor adventure.  Go on a bike ride, a hike, or head to the park.  Do anything that gets you outside and appreciating the Earth.

Take time to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and its diverse ecosystems. Plan a special outing to observe wildlife in their natural habitats, whether it’s birdwatching in a nearby park or exploring a local nature reserve. Capture the beauty of Earth’s landscapes through photography or plein air painting, and share your appreciation for the environment with others.

5. Have an “Ort Report”

Don’t know what an ort report is?  You’re missing out!  Merriam Webster dictionary defines ort as “a morsel left at a meal”.  Even Urban Dictionary knows about ort reports.

I was first introduced to ort as a camp counselor at Camp Beckwith in Fairhope, AL.  After every meal we would have the kids dump their uneaten food from their plates into a bucket that we would weigh.  We charted the results and challenged the kids to have less waste throughout the week.

An ort report is a fun way to reduce food waste, especially for kids.  I like it because it offers a visual of wasted food.  This can be done at home too, even if you don’t have a family of kids.  Take notice of the food that is left on your plate and challenge yourself to be part of “the clean plate club”.

You may wonder why this is important.  Once food is on your plate, it isn’t exactly sanitary to box it up as leftovers.  It is much better to box up leftovers that stayed in the serving dish.  Of course, when it is just the three of us at home I always box up leftovers from our plates.  However, this isn’t allowed everywhere.  Just think of food at a buffet.  If you put it on your plate and don’t eat it, that food is now wasted.  Had you left it where it was it could have been packaged up for a homeless shelter or even helped the staff realize that they have less demand than supply, allowing them to order less next time.  It’s all part of a chain.  Food takes a lot of energy to make and it is a shame to waste it.

Learn more about ways to reduce food waste here.

6. Reduce your energy usage and have dinner by candlelight

Challenge yourself or your family to use less energy during the day.  Turn off the lights as you leave a room and have fun eating a meal over candlelight.

7. Unplug for a day and ditch the hair dryer

Ready for a messy hair day?  Use less energy by unplugging the hair dryer for a day.  Or forever if you happen to be me.  But that is another story.

If you don’t use a hair dryer, try unplugging something else for the day.  Maybe you could unplug your phone charger, your coffee pot.  Anything just to see if you can do it.  Unplugging your devices when they are not in use saves you money on your energy bill!

8. Waste less water

For one day, time your shower to one song.  Bring some music into the bathroom with you and limit yourself to one song only.  You may find that it isn’t as hard as you think!

Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or scrubbing your face.

9. Create Earth Day Crafts:

Get crafty and unleash your creativity with Earth Day-themed art projects. Use recycled materials like old magazines, paper bags, and egg cartons to make unique decorations, sculptures, or even homemade bird feeders. Not only does crafting promote sustainability by repurposing materials, but it also provides a fun way to express appreciation for the beauty of nature.

10. Attend a Local Earth Day Event in Your Community

Many communities have Earth Day events the weekend before Earth Day. You can find activities such as tree planting ceremonies, environmental clean-ups, or educational workshops on topics like composting and energy conservation. By fostering a sense of environmental stewardship and community engagement, you can make a positive impact on the world around you.

11. Explore Renewable Energy

Learn about the power of renewable energy sources and how they contribute to a sustainable future. Visit a nearby solar or wind farm to see renewable energy technology in action, or conduct simple experiments at home to understand concepts like solar power and wind energy. Engaging with renewable energy initiatives can inspire individuals and communities to transition towards cleaner, greener alternatives.

12. Support Environmental Causes

Take action to support organizations and initiatives dedicated to protecting the environment and combating climate change. Consider volunteering your time with local conservation groups, participating in fundraising events for environmental causes, or advocating for policy changes that promote sustainability and conservation efforts. Every contribution, no matter how small, makes a difference in safeguarding our planet for future generations.

Even simply writing to your local politicians and telling them how you feel about the environment can make a different.

13. Practice Mindful Consumption

Reflect on your consumption habits and explore ways to reduce your environmental impact. Choose products with minimal packaging, opt for organic and locally sourced foods, and prioritize sustainable alternatives whenever possible. By making conscious choices as consumers, we can reduce waste, conserve resources, and support businesses that prioritize environmental responsibility.

14. Plan an Eco-Friendly Picnic

Celebrate Earth Day with a picnic that’s both delicious and environmentally friendly. Pack your meal in reusable containers and cloth napkins, and opt for locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Minimize waste by avoiding single-use plastics and bringing along reusable utensils and water bottles. Enjoying a sustainable picnic outdoors is a great way to connect with nature while reducing your ecological footprint.

15. Take a Virtual Tour of Natural Wonders

Explore the wonders of the natural world from the comfort of your own home by taking virtual tours of national parks, botanical gardens, and wildlife reserves. Many organizations offer immersive online experiences that allow you to discover stunning landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and endangered species habitats. Virtual tours provide opportunities for environmental education and inspiration, highlighting the importance of preserving our planet’s natural heritage.

16. Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

Remember that Earth Day is not just a single day of observance but a reminder to prioritize environmental stewardship every day. Incorporate eco-friendly practices into your daily routine, such as recycling, conserving energy and water, and supporting sustainable businesses. By making sustainable choices year-round, you can contribute to a healthier planet and a brighter future for all living beings.

Free Earth Day Activities for all ages

These additional activities offer a variety of ways to celebrate Earth Day while promoting environmental awareness, conservation, and sustainability. Whether you’re exploring nature, engaging in educational activities, or taking action to protect the planet, every effort counts towards creating a more sustainable world for current and future generations. Let’s continue to honor and care for our planet today and every day!

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