Earth day is just a few days away (April 22), why not plan some fun activities that the whole family can enjoy! Here’s some of our favorite ideas to teach your children to appreciate the world around them & spend some great family time together!
Make & Decorate your own compost container
You’ll need the following supplies: 3-5 gallon plastic storage bin with lid, Craft paint in bright colors, Foam alphabet stamps (letters C, O, M, P, S, T), Foam leaf stamps or other decorations, Clear acrylic sealer spray, Heavy-duty knife or power drill.
Cut the following holes into the storage bin: A series of holes, about a centimeter wide and three centimeters apart, along both edges of the bin. On the bottom of the bin, cut a hole one centimeter wide and three centimeters long in two opposite corners. The compost bin will need ventilation in order to let air and moisture circulate.
Place plastic bin on its side and use the craft paint to create designs. Use bright colors to create simple flowers, stems, leaves and grass. Decorate your bin with insects, foam pieces to spell out compost etc. Let each child in your family personalize their bin, this way everyone share the responsibility.
If you’re using paint, allow to dry completely. Once paint is dry, in a well-ventilated area (preferably outdoors) spray all painted surfaces with acrylic sealer spray. Let dry. Repeat this process for a total of three times. This will help protect your painted surface form the outside elements.
To start your compost, line the bin with a few inches of potting soil. You can also add dry leaves, sand and small pieces of black & white newspaper. Vegetable & fruit scraps are a great addition to your compost bin, these items will add moisture so you’ll also need to add in dry matter such as leaves, straw, grass clippings and even sawdust from untreated wood. Be sure to avoid meats, dairy, fish or bones as they will attract animals. Also avoid magazine paper. (For more composting info you can visit www.organicgardening.com to see a large list of what you can or can not add to your compost).
Add a layer of moist matter covered by a layer of dry matter. Turn & mix your compost bin contents every 4-5 days. If you feel heat coming from the mixture you know your bin is working properly.
Another fun project for the kids is coffee ground fossils. You’ll need the following supplies: 1 cup of used coffee grounds, 1/2 cup of cold coffee, 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, Wax paper, Mixing bowl, some small objects to make impressions in the dough (Shaped cookie cutters work well.), empty can or a butter knife, toothpicks, optional, string to hang your fossil, optional
Stir the together the coffee grounds, cold coffee, flour, and salt until well mixed. Knead the dough together and then flatten it out onto the waxed paper. Use the can to cut out circles of the dough or use the dull knife to cut slabs large enough to fit your “fossil” objects. Press your objects firmly into the dough. When you take the object out, you have your “fossil”. If you want to hang the fossil, poke holes into the edge to hold the string. Let the fossil dry overnight (and up to two days) and then hang it if you wish.
To add some extra fun with your fossils, bury them into the ground or sand box and have the children do a fossil dig.
Some of our other picks to do in your local neighbourhood include:
- Visit your local park – walk to a park near you to enjoy a picnic lunch. Play some games such as I Spy or do a scavenger hunt to see what insects, plants or trees you can find & learn about.
- Go for a bike ride
- Visit a local petting zoo, farm, ranch or aquarium and learn how you can help protect the animals, oceans and land.
- Take a field trip to the local recycling plant to learn what can be recycled and how (you may need to make arrangements for this ahead of time)
- Plant a garden in your yard or see if you can participate in a community garden
- See if you can park the car for the day and walk to your activities or take the bus
- Your local community may also offer some family events & activities you can take part in