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10 Fun & Free Earth Day Activities for Families: From Local Events to At-Home Eco Adventures!

If you know Tangie, you know we LOVE Earth Day! After all, we choose to use no plastic packaging as a great way to help the health of our planet. Yes, less plastic is good for everyone, but it is GREAT for planet Earth. So, we want to share with you some great ideas to celebrate this Earth Day, either by attending events or simply staying home. We even snuck in some good conversation starters towards the end of the article, which will take you no longer than 10 minutes to read. 

Earth Day started way back in the 1970’s to bring awareness to environmental issues.  Here we are in 2024, STILL needing to discuss and implement actions that stress the importance of how we treat our planet is ultimately how we treat ourselves.

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22nd, is a global reminder of the importance of environmental stewardship and conservation. Across the United States, cities come alive with events and activities aimed at raising awareness and inspiring action to protect our planet. From Orlando, Florida, to Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate Earth Day and make a positive impact on our environment. 

At the end of this article are five meaningful and cost-effective activities you can enjoy alone, with friends, family, and kids to commemorate Earth Day and encourage candid conversations about environmental preservation.   

Orlando, Florida: 

    1. Earth Day at Lake Eola Park: Orlando’s iconic Lake Eola Park hosts a vibrant Earth Day celebration that draws locals and visitors alike. On April 22nd, the park transforms into a hub of environmental education and activism, featuring interactive exhibits, live music, eco-friendly vendors, and family-friendly activities. Attendees can participate in tree plantings, wildlife demonstrations, and educational workshops focused on sustainability and conservation efforts in Central Florida. A family-friendly, dog-friendly, and smoke-free event, Central Florida Earth Day is the biggest and best Earth Day festival in Central Florida.

Lake Eola fountain in Orlando, Florida

  

  1. Clean Up Orlando: Join local environmental organizations and community groups for a city-wide cleanup initiative on Earth Day. Volunteers can register to participate in litter cleanups at parks, trails, and waterways throughout Orlando. By taking part in this hands-on activity, residents can contribute to keeping their city clean and protecting natural habitats for wildlife.
  2. Farmers’ Market Earth Day Special: Visit one of Orlando’s farmers’ markets on April 22nd for a special Earth Day edition featuring eco-conscious vendors, sustainable products, and organic produce. Enjoy live music, cooking demonstrations, and opportunities to learn about the importance of supporting local agriculture and reducing food waste. Use sites like https://farmersmarkettoolkit.org/ to find an open market in your area.

  

Chicago, Illinois: 

  1. Earth Day Festival at Millennium Park: Millennium Park hosts a dynamic Earth Day Festival that showcases Chicago’s commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. On April 22nd, the park welcomes visitors to participate in a variety of green initiatives, including recycling drives, energy-saving demonstrations, and eco-friendly art installations. Attendees can also enjoy live performances, eco-themed workshops, and interactive exhibits highlighting local environmental initiatives and organizations.

    Millennium Park in Chicago, IL

  

  1. Community Garden Planting: Join a community garden planting event on Earth Day to support urban agriculture and green spaces in Chicago. Volunteers can roll up their sleeves and help plant vegetables, flowers, and herbs in neighborhood gardens, fostering community connections and promoting access to fresh, locally grown produce.
  2. Uptown Earth Day Celebration 2024: On Saturday, April 20th, Buttercup Park (located at Sheridan and Ainslie) from 12 PM to 3 PM for an Earth Day event by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) and McCutcheon Elementary. We’re coming together to address the pressing issue of climate change and specifically focus on raising awareness about the impact of plastic waste. This event serves as an educational platform to empower individuals, families, and communities with the knowledge and tools to combat climate change effectively. This event is not just about learning; it’s also an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who share concerns about the environment and its effects on our communities. 

  

Los Angeles, California: 

  1. Earth Day LA: Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles is the site of Earth Day LA, an annual event that brings together Angelenos to celebrate environmental sustainability and green living. On April 22nd, the park hosts a variety of eco-friendly activities, including eco-art installations, recycling workshops, and electric vehicle demonstrations. Attendees can also enjoy live music, organic food vendors, and opportunities to connect with local environmental organizations.  
  1. Beach Cleanup: Join Heal the Bay and other environmental groups for a beach cleanup initiative on Earth Day. Volunteers can help remove litter and debris from Los Angeles beaches, promoting water conservation and protecting marine habitats for wildlife. After the cleanup, participants can enjoy educational activities and learn about the importance of reducing plastic pollution in our oceans.

    kids picking up trash on the beach

  

  1. Urban Nature Walk: Take a guided urban nature walk on Earth Day to explore Los Angeles’ natural beauty and learn about local ecosystems. Led by experienced naturalists, these walks offer a unique opportunity to discover hidden green spaces, native plants, and urban wildlife habitats throughout the city. Participants can gain a greater appreciation for the importance of preserving urban biodiversity and promoting green spaces in metropolitan areas.

  

Three More Earth Day Events Around the Nation: 

  

  1. National Mall Earth Day Celebration (Washington, D.C.): The National Mall hosts one of the largest Earth Day celebrations in the country, featuring environmental exhibits, live performances, and interactive activities for all ages.
  2. San Francisco Earth Day Street Festival: San Francisco’s Earth Day Street Festival on April 21st brings together thousands of attendees for a day of environmental education, green technology showcases, and eco-friendly vendors.
  3. New York City Earth Day: Friends of Inwood Hill Park’s 9th Annual Earth Day Festival! Held on Fri, Apr 19, 2024 and Sat, Apr 20, 2024 at Inwood Hill Park for a two-day fun-filled series of events celebrating our planet. Enjoy live music and interactive activities for all ages. A place to get together as a community to appreciate and protect our environment. 

From April 19th through April 21st , communities across the United States will come together to celebrate Earth Day and demonstrate their commitment to protecting our planet. Whether you’re in Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles, or beyond, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved, make a difference, and inspire positive change for the environment. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO (for free or almost free) 

Low-cost fun options exist!

Here are five impactful and budget-friendly activities you can do on your own or with friends, family and kids to celebrate Earth Day and foster open and honest discussions about environmental conservation: 

  • Nature Walk and Clean-up: Take a nature walk in a local park, trail, or beach. Pack a bag with gloves and a trash bag to pick up litter along the way. This is a perfect opportunity to discuss the importance of keeping our natural spaces clean and the impact of pollution on wildlife and ecosystems. Encourage kids to ask questions and share their thoughts about how they can help protect the environment. Here are three open ended questions to help you get that conversation started: 
        1. What are some ways you think we can help keep our environment clean and healthy?
        2. How do you think using less plastic and recycling more can make a difference for the Earth?
        3. Can you think of any fun games or activities we could do together that would also help protect nature?

 

  • Plant a Tree or Start a Garden: Planting trees or starting a garden is a hands-on way to connect with nature and promote biodiversity. You can either plant a tree in your yard or participate in a community tree-planting event. For those without access to outdoor space, consider starting an indoor herb garden or container garden. Use this activity to talk to kids about the benefits of trees and plants for the environment, such as reducing carbon dioxide levels and providing habitat for wildlife.

    Planting a tree for Earth Day can be fun and become a family tradition!

Explaining carbon dioxide to a child can be done in a simple and engaging way: 

Hey there! Imagine you’re breathing out, right? Well, when we breathe out, we actually release something called carbon dioxide.
It’s like a special kind of air that’s made up of carbon and oxygen.
 

Now, think of cars, factories, and even when we burn things like wood or coal. They also make carbon dioxide.
When too much of it gets into the air, it can act a bit like a blanket around the Earth.
This ‘blanket’ traps heat from the sun, and that’s what we call ‘global warming.’
 

So, while we need some carbon dioxide to keep the Earth warm enough for us to live, too much of it can cause problems.
That’s why it’s important to try to use energy wisely, like turning off lights when we’re not using them or walking
or biking instead of always driving. That way, we can help keep the Earth happy and healthy!
 

Remember to use simple language and relate it to everyday activities to help make the concept easier for them to understand. 

  • Upcycling Crafts: Get creative with upcycling crafts using materials you already have at home. Repurpose old jars into candle holders, turn cardboard tubes into bird feeders, or transform plastic bottles into planters. Encourage kids to use their imagination and think about how they can give new life to items that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Use this opportunity to discuss the importance of reducing waste and the environmental impact of consumerism. 
  • Family Volunteer Day: Spend Earth Day volunteering as a family for a local environmental organization or community clean-up event. Whether it’s planting trees, restoring habitats, or participating in a beach clean-up, volunteering together allows families to make a tangible difference in their community while bonding over shared values. Use this experience to talk about the concept of stewardship and the importance of taking care of our planet for future generations. 

Use VolunteerMatch.org to find something you will enjoy in your area. VolunteerMatch is a platform that connects individuals with volunteer opportunities in their communities, including eco-friendly and environmental organizations. You can search for volunteer opportunities by location and area of interest, such as conservation, recycling, or sustainable agriculture. 

 ENJOY IT WITHOUT LEAVING HOME!

  • Documentary Night: Host a documentary night at home featuring films or documentaries focused on environmental issues and sustainability. There are plenty of informative and engaging documentaries available on streaming platforms that cover topics such as climate change, plastic pollution, and renewable energy. After watching the documentary, facilitate a discussion with your family about what they learned, how they feel about the issues presented, what actions they can take to make a positive impact, and ways to use reduce waste at home through the food they eat and the products they use.  

Here are three environmental documentaries or movies suitable for fifth graders that will open their mind and eyes to the environment without giving them anxiety about our current situation with global warming:

  1. The Lorax (2012) – This animated film, based on the book by Dr. Seuss, follows the story of a young boy named Ted who goes on a quest to find a real tree to impress a girl he likes. Along the way, he learns about the consequences of deforestation and the importance of protecting the environment. “The Lorax” delivers its message in a colorful and entertaining way that is both educational and engaging for young audiences. 
  2. Wall-E (2008) – This beloved Pixar film is set in a dystopian future where Earth has been abandoned by humans due to pollution and overconsumption. The story follows a robot named Wall-E who embarks on a journey to clean up the planet and restore it to its former glory. “Wall-E” offers a thought-provoking exploration of environmental themes such as waste management, consumerism, and the importance of sustainability, all while captivating audiences with its heartwarming story and stunning animation. 
  3. Planet Earth II (2016) – This documentary series, produced by the BBC, takes viewers on a breathtaking journey to explore the diversity of life on Earth. Through stunning cinematography and captivating storytelling, “Planet Earth II” showcases the beauty of our planet’s natural landscapes and the incredible creatures that inhabit them. Each episode covers different ecosystems, from mountains to deserts to jungles, providing valuable insights into the interconnectedness of life on Earth and the importance of preserving biodiversity. 

These documentaries and movies offer valuable lessons about environmental conservation and sustainability in a way that is accessible and age-appropriate for most kids aged 6 and older, without overwhelming them with complex concepts or frightening information about global warming. 

These activities provide opportunities for families to connect with nature, learn about environmental issues, and take action to protect the planet—all without breaking the bank.  By involving kids in discussions about the environment and encouraging them to participate in hands-on activities, parents can instill a sense of responsibility and stewardship for the Earth from a young age. 

Happy Earth Day! 

With love for you and planet Earth,
the Tangie Team

Author:

Angie Ringler

A lifelong learner with an entrepreneurial spirit inside long before I knew the word entrepreneurial. I care about what goes around me almost to a detriment. Very empathetic and sometimes find it hard to take in and remove the sadness that I feel around me. I'm a big believer in gratitude and love and respect

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