Did you celebrate Earth Day this year? Kristi reflects on how we can positively impact our environment and encourage our children to become stewards of the Earth.

This Earth is truly a magnificent place. Its resources are unique to this planet. As the only known planet habitable for humans, we must take care of it. Every year, on April 22, the importance of this is brought to the center stage. But what if we took further action? If we can take a stand for one day and put forth action in ways that will protect our precious planet, then imagine what we can do with a whole year.  Moreover, what if we took those changes we made in a year and passed them onto our children? Imagine the change we could initiate. Here are some ideas to continue this cause throughout the year.
Picture of infant girl on a table with the words "I want you to make earth day last all year"
 

Make a Recycling Pact With Your Family

A great place to start is to begin recycling at home. As a family, sit down and make a list of what can be recycled. Learn about the different ways the recyclables are turned into new items. This is a great way to get everyone involved. Teach kids how to separate items and create a bin for each group. As the amount of trash in the can is decreased and the recyclables increase, point out to the kids the difference they are making. They’ll feel accomplished and proud.

 

Plant a Tree

This can be done right in your own backyard. Gather up the family and head to your local nursery.  They’ll have different trees to choose from and the kids will love being involved in the decision making. Once you’ve decided on the chosen one, take that gorgeous tree home and make an afternoon of it.  Kids love to dig. Let one dig the hole. Others can assist in its placement…and done. You can make a plan to plant a couple trees each year. And as you gaze out your window, not only will you have beautiful trees to look at, but precious memories of planting them as a family.
Child holding a garbage bag on a hike with the words "Only you can pick up trash while you hike"

 

Do a Clean-up Hike

We love this idea because it can be done often throughout the year. Anytime you plan to head outdoors with the family, make a goal to clean up the trails. You can make this into a game with the kids also. Whoever gathers the most pieces of trash gets a prize! Maybe organize some group clean-up hikes in your area every couple months. This is a great way to gather the community and get other families involved.

 

Plant a Garden

Sit down and plan out what you want to grow in your garden. What works in your area? What is most likely to be used in meals? Make a garden plan and set out to make it happen. This is another one to get the kids involved with. Let them get down in the dirt prepping the area and planting seeds with you. This can be a great learning experience. And as you’re gazing out at the beautiful trees you’ve planted as a family, you can admire the freshly picked tomatoes and onions right there from your very own garden.  No room for a garden? No problem! Find the local community garden or join in a co-op with some friends! What a delicious way to help keep it all local!
Two toddler boys on an earth day hike surrounded by flowers
 

Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference

Small changes can be made in every purchase. You can buy refillable water bottles. Purchase reusable baggies and straws to use on hikes. Buy eco-friendly toys for your kiddos or as gifts. There are so many options out there, and they are only a Google search away. You matter. What you do matters. Pass these on to your children and make those small changes, on April 22nd, and every other day of the year.

Photos courtesy of Ashton Miyako, Ashley Scheider and Yanna Bennett

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