The first Earth Day happened in April 1970. Since then, it has been an annual event celebrated in countries around the world. Earth Day is a great time to teach children about the importance of caring for the environment. You can make Earth Day a fun time for children of all ages by incorporating arts and crafts into an Earth Day lesson.
Teach children the importance of reusing materials by turning objects that would normally go in the trash or recycle bin into useful objects. For instance, cover empty juice concentrate cans with construction paper and decorate them to make pencil cups. Cut the tops off large plastic juice or laundry detergent bottles and decorate them to make storage containers for plastic bags or pet food. Empty cracker boxes or cereal boxes can be made into magazine holders. You can also turn empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls as well as empty egg cartons into creative works of art.
Art for Plants
Help children make small planters for herbs or flowers. Drill holes in the bottoms of empty coffee or tomato cans and add a coat of paint for a small plant pot. You’ll not only be re-using materials, but you’ll get to teach a child about gardening and botany as well. Truly industrious children can start a small herb garden from their homemade planters and sell any extra herbs to friends and family members.
Teach children about ecosystems by having them build a diorama of an ocean or other wildlife setting. Pick wildlife that is endangered and have them do background research on the species they’ve chosen. Use a shoe box as the diorama base and modeling clay or construction paper for the animals and plants. If you are working with a group of children, have each child present his diorama on Earth Day and share what she learned about the endangered species she chose.
Make a large representation of the Earth with a group of children. When children can see what the planet looks like, they may be more likely to want to protect it. Building a large globe also helps children to learn geography and the location of the oceans and continents. You can make a large Earth by covering a round balloon in paper mache or by cutting a larger circle and decorating it with green and blue tissue paper.
You can make Earth Day art projects with materials you’ll most likely have around your house. A few weeks before Earth Day, have children save any empty boxes, paper rolls or cans at their house. Set aside a special area in your home to store the supplies. You may want to place an extra bin next to your trash bin and recycling bin, so that children can just drop the cereal boxes or cans into the bins when empty. Save old newspapers for a paper mache Earth. Use flour and water to make the past for the paper mache.