One thing I love about kids is their unwavering enthusiasm. Give a child a task – a way to make a difference – and they will jump at it.

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That’s why Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to get kids involved and foster a sense of responsibility for our planet.

To quote Nelson Mandela, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”

In the spirit of those wise words, here are some easy, kid-friendly ways to celebrate Earth Day!

1. Put reminders on light switches
Using a label maker, print off labels with “Please turn off the lights”, and then have your kids stick them on switch plates in every room of the house.

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2. Plant something that cleans the air
What kid doesn’t like to get dirty? This is a fun activity that kids can take the lead on. All you have to do is get the materials needed to do the planting! We know that trees purify our air, but there are also lots of plants that do the same. Check out this article on David Suzuki’s website to help determine the best air-cleaning plants for your environment.

3. Go meatless
A few weeks ago my daughter suggested having “Meatless Mondays” and I thought it was a great suggestion. We love meat, but going vegetarian for one meal a week is an easy, manageable way to reduce our environmental footprint. Get kids involved by having them help with meal planning and grocery shopping; their creative suggestions might surprise you!

4. Raise money for a conservation charity
There are lots of ways for kids to earn money – a lemonade stand, bake sale or garage sale are just a few of them. If you’ve got enterprising older children, why not foster their entrepreneurial spirit to raise money for a registered charity such as The Nature Conservancy of Canada or Earth Rangers?

5. Make Earth Day every day!
Take time to teach your kids about conservation and show them by example that it’s important to:

  • reduce our use of the earth’s resources, such as energy consumption and manufactured goods
  • always recycle (and try to buy goods with recyclable packaging)
  • find new uses for items so they don’t end up as landfill (upcycling)

We all know that little actions, done by many, can make a big difference so let’s empower our kids to be a force for change and train them to be thoughtful caretakers of this wonderful planet of ours.

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