Earth Day Activities and Resources

Earth day resources and activities EYFS KS1 KS2

As teachers, we have a unique opportunity to instil in our pupils a deep appreciation for the planet and empower them to become responsible guardians of the environment. With Earth Day approaching, it’s the perfect time to engage our pupils in meaningful discussions and activities centred around sustainability, conservation, and environmental awareness. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical strategies and resources to help you teach your pupils all about Earth Day in a way that is engaging, informative, and impactful.

What's the Significance of Earth Day?

Start by discussing the history and significance of Earth Day with your pupils. Explain how it originated in 1970 as a day to raise awareness about environmental issues and advocate for positive change. Encourage pupils to research and share facts about the environmental challenges our planet faces, such as climate change, pollution, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity. Discuss the importance of taking action to protect the environment and the role that individuals and communities can play in making a positive impact. Use our All About Earth Day information PowerPoint to help explain a little more about the background of Earth Day, in an age-appropriate way.

How to teach about Earth Day

Integrate environmental themes into various subjects across the curriculum. For example, in science lessons, explore climate change using our handy experiments. In geography lessons, study the impact of human activity on the environment, including deforestation, urbanisation, and the effects of climate change on different regions. Incorporate environmental literature into English lessons, such as books and articles that raise awareness about environmental issues and inspire a sense of environmental responsibility.

Suggested Earth Day related books include: 

1. “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss – This classic tale vividly illustrates the consequences of environmental destruction and the importance of conservation through the story of the Lorax and the Once-ler.

2. “Our House is on Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet” by Jeanette Winter – This picture book tells the story of Greta Thunberg’s journey from a lone climate activist to a global leader, inspiring children to take action against climate change.

3. “Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth” by Oliver Jeffers – Through beautiful illustrations and simple yet profound messages, this book introduces young readers to the wonders of the Earth and the importance of caring for it.

4. “The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest” by Lynne Cherry – In this captivating story, a man who is sent to cut down a giant kapok tree in the Amazon rainforest learns about the interconnectedness of all living beings and the importance of preserving nature.

5. “One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia” by Miranda Paul – Based on a true story, this book follows Isatou Ceesay as she leads her community in recycling plastic bags to create beautiful objects, highlighting the importance of recycling and caring for the environment.

6. “The Curious Garden” by Peter Brown – This charming story follows a boy named Liam who discovers a neglected garden and works to bring it back to life, inspiring his community to transform their city into a green oasis.

7. “The Water Princess” by Susan Verde – Inspired by the childhood of supermodel Georgie Badiel, this book tells the story of a young girl who dreams of bringing clean water to her village, highlighting the importance of access to clean water and the impact of water scarcity on communities.

8. “Me…Jane” by Patrick McDonnell – This biography of renowned primatologist Jane Goodall introduces young readers to her early life and her lifelong dedication to studying and protecting chimpanzees and their habitats.

9. “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer – Based on a true story, this picture book adaptation tells the inspiring story of a young boy in Malawi who builds a windmill from scraps to bring electricity to his village, showcasing the power of innovation and renewable energy.

10. “The Earth Book” by Todd Parr – Through colourful illustrations and simple text, this book encourages children to take small actions to help protect the Earth, such as conserving water, recycling, and planting trees.

These books offer valuable insights into environmental issues while inspiring children to appreciate and care for the world around them.

Engaging Hands-On Activities for Earth Day

Plan hands-on activities and projects that allow your pupils to actively participate in Earth Day celebrations. For example, organise a community clean-up day where pupils can collect litter and learn about the importance of keeping our environment clean. Create a school garden where pupils can plant trees, flowers, or vegetables, promoting biodiversity and providing a hands-on learning experience. Host a recycling competition to encourage pupils to reduce waste and recycle materials creatively. Encourage pupils to use their creativity to design posters, artwork, or make crafts using recycled materials – all raising  awareness about environmental issues. Other ideas are:

  • Use Earth Day as an opportunity to recap/teach the children about climate change and global warming using our climate change editable lesson presentation. The PowerPoint explains what climate change is in an age-appropriate way and is a great starting point for exploring this topic.
  • Carry out some climate change science experiments.
  • Think about different ways we are affected by climate change. Ask children to research how different animals are affected and design a poster or create a fact file.
  • Encourage children to design a packed lunch with as little waste as possible! What would they include?
  • Using a leaf template, each child writes one thing they will do on Earth Day. When the children are finished, use the completed leaves to create a “Change Tree”.
  • Make planters using old plastic pots of bottles. Plant seeds or pips from left over or eaten fruit and vegetables. Children can then take plants home or plant in school grounds.

Connecting with Nature on Earth Day

Take advantage of opportunities to connect with nature and explore outdoor learning experiences. Plan field trips to local parks, nature reserves, or environmental education centres where pupils can observe wildlife, explore ecosystems, and learn about conservation efforts. Incorporate nature walks and outdoor observations into your lessons, encouraging pupils to observe and appreciate the beauty of the natural world around them. Use nature-based activities, such as Nature Scavenger Hunts, nature journaling, and outdoor games, to engage pupils in experiential learning and foster a deeper connection with the environment. You can also explore our Outdoor Learning Ideas, and I Spy Senses Game – something for everyone!

Empowering Pupils for Earth Day

Encourage your pupils to take responsibility for the environment. Encourage them to identify environmental issues in their community and develop action plans to address them. Provide opportunities for pupils to get involved in environmental initiatives, such as tree planting campaigns, recycling programmes, or community clean-up events. Support pupil-led projects and initiatives that promote sustainability and environmental awareness within the school and local community. 

A nice activity, is to encourage children to take part in a nature hunt using our Nature Hunt Mindfulness Cards. Take children outdoors and give them one of the cards, encouraging them to hunt for the object. When everyone has found something, go through the prompts and questions included.

Conclusion

Teaching our pupils about Earth Day is not just about imparting knowledge; it’s about inspiring a sense of responsibility and empowering them to make a positive impact on the world around them. By integrating environmental themes into the curriculum, engaging in hands-on activities, connecting with nature, and encouraging action and advocacy, we can equip our pupils with the skills and knowledge they need to become informed and active global citizens committed to protecting our planet for future generations. Let’s seize the opportunity this Earth Day to inspire and educate our pupils about the importance of environmental guardianship and the role they can play in creating a more sustainable and resilient world.

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