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Earth Day Activities for the Whole Family

Earth Day Activities for the Whole Family (and Submit Your Own Ideas!)

Are you looking for Earth Day activities that are unique and fun for the whole family? We've got several ideas here as well as contributions from readers below (and please feel free to share your own activities as well).

Cooking with the Sun

This craft has the added benefit of feeding everyone after it's been created! I personally think every child, at some point in their life, should experience the novelty, creativity, and resourcefulness that comes with solar cooking. It can be as simple or complex as you'd like, a full-blown homemade solar oven, or an easy box oven made from scrap material. For this activity I'm going to demonstrate the latter.

For this Earth Day activity, you'll need:

  • An old box. The size and shape will depend on what you want to make. Choose one that would have otherwise ended up in the trash.
  • Aluminum foil or black matte spray paint (yes, used and cleaned foil is great for this)
  • Optionally: a piece of glass

You'll need to decide how you'd like to orient your box. In the photo above, a lid was cut in the top of the box. You may choose to have no lid at all (it's not always necessary, although you can use it to reflect more light into the box.

Line your box with the foil, or paint it completely in black matte paint. If you choose the black matte, you may wish to experiment with one or more sides or a lid covered in foil to reflect light in, but ultimately the black paint will draw the heat.

Find an open spot with full sun for your solar oven. You might want to tilt your box toward the orientation of the sun in the sky to get direct rays. Pop a thermometer in there for reference and curiosities sake.

To reach a higher temperature, cover your solar oven opening with a clear piece of glass (plastic can be used, but I wouldn't suggest it).

Next step: Add the food!

Some simple foods to try:

  • Nachos
  • Cookies
  • Hot tea or cocoa
  • Hot dogs (Applegate has some great organic hot dogs)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Bread or muffins
  • Baked veggies, such as broccoli or sweet potatoes
  • Rice
  • Baked fish or chicken
  • Just about anything!

Cooking times may vary, and especially dense foods (such as thick soups or roasts) may be challenging, all depending on the heat generated and the wind and cloud cover, but part of the fun is experimenting, and finding ways to work with Nature to fuel our bodies.

Creating ZERO Waste with Bottle Bricks

First there's reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting. But what about the rest of it? The things that can't be composted or recycled but that we can't seem to avoid? (Or maybe just the things we're still working on avoiding?) What do we do with the constant plastic wrap and bits of styrofoam that seem to sneak in?

The answer: Bottle bricks. A bottle brick, simply put, is a plastic bottle turned into a brick by tightly compacting little bits of un-reusable, un-recyclable trash into it. Once it's completely compacted, it becomes brick hard (actually harder and stronger than a brick) and then becomes a reusable product - a brick that can be used to build simple structures, such as a bench, garden walls, etc.

For this Earth Day activity, you'll need:

  • 1 or more plastic bottles (any size)
  • Your composting bin and recycling bin
  • Something to "stuff" the bottles, like a broom handle or similar
  • Your trash can

Sort through your trash can as a family. As you do, discuss things that can be composted and recycled and sort them accordingly. Everything else can be placed aside. You'll want to make sure it's all clean and dry before you stuff it into a bottle brick to avoid mold.

With the clean and dry materials, allow littler kids to stuff first (since this will be the easiest materials to get in). Older kids can use the broom or wooden spoon handle to really cram stuff in there. Adults may want to compact it further to make any extra room. See how much trash you can get into each brick - a day's worth, week's worth, month's worth? Make plans to do this regularly and talk about what you can do with your saved bricks.

Looking for more Earth Day Activities?

Scroll down for more activities submitted by readers, and please consider submitting your own idea as well! You can also rate your favorite ones!

Share Your Earth Day Activities!

Do you have some fun Earth Day activities you can share with others? We'd love to hear!

Please be sure to include as many details, resources, and photos as you can, and please place multiple activities in separate submissions so readers can easily find what they are looking for. After approval (usually 1-3 business days) you will see your submission below.

(For all our submission guidelines, please click here.)

Earth Day Activities from the Whole Community

Click below to see the Earth Day activities submitted from other readers. You can click each link to open it, comment, and even rate your favorite!

Hiking Local National Parks or Other Areas 
We love to find a national park or local area to hike as a family. As we drive there we try to spot different things (Car Bingo with things like "deer" …

Making an outdoor classroom Not rated yet
The Creslane School Garden program sustains an organic garden and landscape. Students engage in hands on lessons that connect principles in gardening, …

Trying to save in more ways than one Not rated yet
So I can not give an excuse as to why I have not been recycling or composting, or why my water heater has been set so high for so long. My family now thinks …

Nature Mandala Activity for Earth Day Not rated yet
Ok, so this is a Earth Day activity that could include a walk and eco art in one, and is something the whole family can take part in. A Nature Mandala …

How To Organize a Neighborhood Cleanup! Not rated yet
Every Earth Day we love to organize a neighborhood cleanup. We start by contacting our neighbors the week before and letting them know what's being …

Click here to write your own.

Looking for More Earth Day Goodness?

There are more Earth Day activities at the link below, as well as some background on how Earth Day began.

Earth Day History, Crafts, and Activities for the Whole Family
Earth Day History, Crafts, and Activities for the Whole Family

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