22 “Earth Day Every Day” Activities For Your Class

Cover image Earth Day Everyday Activities

Every year on April 22, people around the world celebrate Earth Day. Earth day was started in 1970 as a way to mobilize and inspire people to make a difference for our Earth. On this day people have the opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing our Earth and take action to protect it. However, we don’t need to wait until April to celebrate our planet. Why not pick a project and get started with your class today?

Your Earth Day Every Day activities don’t need to be huge and epic. Some of the best ways to celebrate are small changes that we can make in our everyday lives or classrooms. Of course, if you have the time, energy and resources there are big, one time activities that have a larger impact. However, no matter how you choose to observe celebrate the Earth, providing opportunities to both educate our students and empower them to make a difference is key.

Kids teaching about recycling

22 Earth Day Every Day Activities

1. Earth Day Litter Clean Up​

This is an easy way we can help the Earth and also keep our schools, neighbourhoods, and parks looking clean. All you need is some garbage bags, gloves, and motivation. Choose an area to clean and organize a community, class, or school-wide garbage/litter clean-up day. If you live in an area where there is a lot of snow that has recently melted you will be amazed by what you find. Depending on where you live there might even be some community clean-up incentives, like T-shirts, that you may want to look into. 

Bonus Earth Day points if you sort out the recycling after your clean-up!

2. Plant a Tree ​

Trees are amazing. They provide beauty, shade, shelter, and a play space for kids. The addition of trees to our schoolyards and neighbourhoods helps to create a more welcoming and inviting space. If you want to know a bit more about the magic of trees you should read The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. You will be amazed at what trees do for us and the planet. 

Before you plant your trees, do some research into what trees will thrive in your growing area. Visit a nursery and ask for some advice for what will work best for your needs…whether that’s shade, a fruit tree, or an ornamental tree. 

3. If You Can’t Plant a Tree, Donate to an Organization that Can​

If planting a tree isn’t feasible for you and your class, why not make a donation to an organization that will plant some trees on your behalf? You could host a class fundraiser or event to raise money and see how many trees you can plant. For example, at earthday.org, the Canopy project turns your donations, no matter how big or small, into trees to be planted around the world. 

4. Plant Some Wild Flowers or Some Pollinator-Friendly Flowers​

You don’t have to go big and plant trees…a simple wildflower or pollinator garden or planter box will also have amazing benefits! Native plant species and pollinator friendly species will not only make your space more beautiful, but will provide valuable food and habitat for birds and insects. 

Do some research or talk to someone at a local nursery about what to plant in your area. Be careful if using a seed mix, some of the mixed flower seeds contain species that might be invasive or problematic in your area. 

5. Take Part in a Habitat Restoration Project​

With cities expanding and sprawling, more and more habitat is lost each year. However, there are always opportunities to help restore habitat. If there are habitat restoration projects in your area, ask the organizers what your class could do to help. Habitat restoration might involve planting native species, removal of invasive species, or simply cleaning up an area.

If space is available to you, you can even create small pockets of habitat in your own schoolyard. Planting some native species or creating “no mow zones” provides space and habitat for local animals and insects to make their homes. 

a child planting a tree

6. Start Some Seeds​

Starting seeds is not only a great way to teach your students about the plant lifecycle, it can also help the earth. Choose some flower or garden seeds for your students to start. You can watch the seed-growing process from germination to plant. As the plants grow, the students discover what the plants need to be healthy as well as what hurts the plants. 

7. Build a Bird House (Or Bat House Or Insect Hotel)​

Invite birds into your schoolyard by creating a nesting space for them. Depending on the age of your students and your comfort with building things, you have some different birdhouse options. For young students, ready-made birdhouses that the students can paint are a great way to get started. There are also ready-to-assemble kits for kids who are older and able to use a hammer. For older students, learning the basics of construction and building their own birdhouses can be a fun activity also. 

8. Visit a Local Conservation Area​

There are many great field trip options available for students to learn about local habitats and habitat conservation. Many of the field trips have fantastic interpretive programs that will teach students about the land, our relationship to it, and how we can protect it. 

9. Learn About a Local Species​

Kids love animals. Often learning about an animal is the gateway for students to learn about the Earth and how to look after it. Doing research on a local animal species can help students to understand that nature that is around them all the time. They also begin to understand what this animal needs to survive and what we can do to protect it. Local experts or conservation groups can be a great resource for sharing information about local animals with your students.

10. Learn About an Endangered Animal​

Learning about an endangered species is another way to help students understand how humans affect the environment. Through studying an endangered animal and learning about why it is endangered, students begin to gain a sense of empathy for the animal and a desire to help in whatever way they can. 

a group of kids teaching a lesson on recycling

11. Do a Classroom Audit​

As a class take a look at the things that your classroom is already doing to help the Earth. Are you already recycling? Do you turn off the lights when you leave the classroom? What things could you do better? And what aren’t you doing that maybe you should be doing…and what is getting in the way of doing it? Challenge your students to think of things that they can do without a lot of effort to help the Earth? Choose one or two and get started!

12. Look at How We Use Water​

Have your students record how they use water each day. Then do some calculations to see how much water is used in each activity. Students will be surprised and amazed at how much water they use on a daily basis. Challenge your students to come up with ways that they can reduce the amount of water that they use.

13. Make a Recycled or Upcycled Craft​

Get creative and turn something from the trash into something beautiful. There are many great craft ideas out there that involve reusing different items. 

14. Start Some Good “Earth Day Every Day” Habits​

As a class, have each student make an Earth Day pledge. Each student will choose one activity that they will focus on for this year (or a given amount of time) that will help to make a difference for the Earth. 

15. Have a Waste-Free Lunch Day​

Convenience foods and throwaway packaging create a great deal of school lunch waste each day. Challenge your students to a waste-free lunch day on Earth Day. If you have time, have your students compare the amount of garbage produced on their waste-free lunch day, versus a regular lunch day. 

16. Learn About an Environmental Issue​

There are many different issues that are affecting the Earth right now. Having students learn about an environmental issue, such as climate change, plastic in the ocean, or habitat loss can help to empower them to make a difference. Many of these issues not only affect the health of our planet, but also our own health. Arming our students with information can help them to be change-makers. 

In learning about environmental issues, the best way to inspire kids is to give them hope. Giving them doom and gloom scenarios doesn’t necessarily help to inspire them, it just makes them depressed. However, learning about what they can do to make a difference can lead to empowerment.

a group of kids setting up a recycling centre

17. Teach Another Class About that Issue​

Keep the empowerment going by having your class teach another class about an environmental issue. This allows students to take on a leadership role and help to spread the word about what is happening in our world. They can create further impact by challenging the other class to also make a difference. 

18. Lights Out Signs​

Sometimes all we need is a little reminder. Creating reminder signs to turn out the lights when we leave a room can help students make a difference in saving power. Students can create signs to distribute to different classrooms to place above the light switches. This is a very simple way to help make a good habit stick. 

19. Have a Get Outside Day​

Getting outside allows students to create a connection to the Earth. Make Earth Day a get outside day. Plan special outdoor activities, or simply take your regular classroom subjects outdoors. There are tons of great ways to get your students outside and enjoying nature! 

20. Do Some Nature Writing​

Why not use Earth Day to practice writing skills. Make a connection to nature by doing some writing in and about nature. Do some poetry, Earth Day writing, or practice your paragraph writing. Why not try nature journaling. Building a connection to nature helps students to want to look after and protect it. 

21. Take on a Leadership Role​

Give your students the opportunity to be leaders in the school. Create a project, fundraiser, or challenge that your students can take the lead on. You will get the most buy in from your students if it is a project that they develop. I’ve had students as young as first grade take on the leadership role in collecting the recycling in our school. They absolutely loved being in charge, especially when they got to tell the big kids what they needed to improve on. 

22. Plan a Sustainable Earth Day Party or Mini Eco Fair​

Celebrate your achievements and the Earth with a sustainable Earth Day party. Through the party model sustainable habits, such as providing reusable dishes and sustainable entertainment. If available, you might want to source locally grown or produced food/treats. During the party, students could showcase their Earth Day or sustainability projects, writing, art work. 

Depending on how big you want your celebration to be, you could potentially invite families or local government/ business officials. This is a great way to spread the message and also challenge others to make a difference. 

a boy wearing a garbage bag as a cape in a super hero pose

Let’s Get Planning and Celebrate Our Planet….

Little actions make a difference. You don’t need to plan epic adventures or create a conservation area in your schoolyard. We know that teachers are stressed and don’t need one more thing to add to their lists. Small changes in your classroom and students lives will make a big difference over time. These small changes will eventually become habits that you can build on. 

Choose a classroom activity that fits your class and your comfort zone. Get student input as well. Building on what they are already passionate about will empower your students to make an even bigger difference. You may be surprised to see the students continue to build on their interest and passion, even after the project is done. 

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