Enjoy These Family-Friendly Earth Day Activities Every Day
Although we consider every day to be earth day, the official Earth Day this year is set for April 22, 2021. Thankfully, there are plenty of Earth Day activities you can do with your family today, and every day.
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. This year marks the 50th anniversary!
This year seems like a particularly good opportunity to get out and make a difference for our planet. What better way to do so then to encourage children to do good deeds to help conserve earth and enjoy being outside in nature.
Plant A Tree
Planting a tree symbolizes hope and optimism. After all, it can take decades for a tree to mature from a seedling.
There are multiple good reasons to plant a tree.
The most obvious one is that trees are beautiful to look at. Whether the tree one chooses has colorful flowers, bears fruit, has brilliant fall color or interesting bark, trees are pretty to look at in all seasons.
Trees provide shade when it is hot. How delightful it is to sit under the shade of a tree on a hot day. Shading the south side of a house with a tree can result in saving money on the air conditioning bill.
Trees also produce oxygen, which we humans need to breathe. A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year. A 100-foot tree, 18 inches diameter at its base, produces 6,000 pounds of oxygen. On average, one tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four.
Go For A Hike
With the gyms closed and kids going stir crazy (not to mention parents), now is a great time to hit the trails. Besides working off excess energy, hiking in nature benefits the mind, body and soul. Among the many benefits, a vigorous hike can:
- Lower your risk of heart disease
- Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
- Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
- Strengthen your core
- Improve balance
- Help control your weight
- Boost your mood.
Help Out Pollinators
No pollinators, no food. It is really that simple.
A pollinator is an animal that moves pollen from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma of a flower. When hearing the term “pollinator”, most people think of butterflies and bees but many animals are pollinators. Without pollinators, the plants that produce our food would not bear fruits and vegetables.
Worldwide there is disturbing evidence that pollinating animals have suffered from loss of habitat, chemical misuse, introduced and invasive plant and animal species, and diseases and parasites.
One of the best ways to help is to plant a pollinator garden. A pollinator garden is one which has many different flowering plants that attract pollinators. It is important to attract both butterflies and feed caterpillars. Using native plants is adventitious because they are used to the local climate and stand a better chance of thriving.
The really nice thing about pollinator gardens is not only are they beautiful, the butterflies, bees and birds they attract are also beautiful.
Grow Your Own Veggies
There is something satisfying in growing one’s own healthy food.
Consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. When you pick vegetables right from your garden, the vitamin content will be at its highest. Also, you are reducing the risk of eating vegetables that contain harmful chemicals–you know exactly what you're eating. In addition, getting kids involved in the gardening process will make it more likely for them to try the vegetables and develop healthy eating habits.
Not only is it one way of ensure your family eats healthier, it can save you money as well. It is possible to grow organic for a fraction of what the cost at the store.
Growing vegetables is also a great workout! Gardening is a physical activity and pulling weeds, planting, and digging can burn up to 400 calories per hour. Gardening is also a good mental exercise and helps keep your mind sharp. Nothing beats getting the heart rate up outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
Build A Compost Bin
If you are going to have a vegetable garden, or any garden for that matter, you need to compost. Composting provides a free source of nutrient rich soil that your plants are going to love. It also keeps unnecessary waste out of the landfill.
Organic wastes, such as food waste and yard waste, make up 25 to 50% of what people throw away. While you may not be able to compost all of the organic waste you generate, composting can significantly cut down on your overall trash.
Composting at home not only keeps the material out of the landfill; it keeps the material from being transported too! Because many organic wastes contain a lot of water, they are some of the heaviest wastes. Not transporting these heavy wastes saves fuel and energy.
Make A Bat Box
Bats are our friends despite their bad image.
Having bats around can mean a reduction in mosquitoes. Some bat species eat an incredible number of night-flying insects including mosquitoes. By some accounts, they can eat as many as 1,200 insects in an hour of feeding!
Bats are also important pollinators of many of the plants that we eat and, as we have already discussed, increasing pollinators is very critical. Many bats also help disperse seeds, increasing overall plant populations.
Building bat houses is simple (there are many plans available online) and a great activity to do with children.
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