How to Celebrate Earth Day

What You Need:

  • Thick paper or card stock (one sheet per invitation)
  • Coffee can or similar round object (for tracing)
  • Pencil
  • Tempera paint in blue, green, and white
  • Paint brushes
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Old newspapers cut or torn into 1" wide strips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Large balloon
  • Clear drying, non-toxic glue
  • Small bowl
  • Tissue paper reused from gifts or retail packaging torn or cut into small shapes or strips
  • Found natural materials such as fallen leaves or fallen twigs
  • Plastic soda or water bottles, washed well and dried

What You Do:

  1. Start by creating Earth-shaped invitations.
    1. Ask your child to fold a sheet of thick paper or card stock in half width-wise.
    2. Have him place the folded card stock in front of him with the folded edge on the left and the open end on the right, just like a card or book. Place the coffee can on top of the paper, lining it up against the folded edge. Help him trace around the can with the pencil.
    3. Have him carefully cut out the circle, keeping the sheet folded so he cuts through both halves. Leave about 1" of the folded edge uncut, so the two halves are still connected at the end. You should now have a circle-shaped card!
    4. Invite him to decorate the front of the card by painting an Earth design with tempera paint. Use green paint for the continents and blue paint for the oceans. Set the card aside to dry.
    5. Once the paint is dry, open the card and write important party information inside with a marker: the party's theme (Earth Day), location, date and time, RSVP phone number, and any special instructions.
    6. Repeat steps 1-5 for each invitation.
  2. Now make the party decorations. For a fun centerpiece, make a big papier-mâché globe out of old newspapers. For extra decoration, make recycled flower vases out of old plastic soda bottles.
    1. Start with the globe. To make the papier-mâché paste, have your child measure out the flour and add it to the mixing bowl. Gradually add the water, asking him to stir as you do. Keep adding water until the paste is thick and gooey but not lumpy.
    2. Blow up the balloon nice and big.
    3. Dip a newspaper strip into the papier-mâché paste, then carefully lay it on the balloon. Make sure the strips are well-coated, but not overly heavy with paste. Encourage your child to keep laying newspaper strips on the balloon until the balloon is completely covered, then set it aside to dry.
    4. Once the globe is dry, invite him to paint it into a globe with the tempera paint. Try painting a coat of blue over the entire globe, then painting on the land with green paint once the blue coat is dry.
    5. Now make the flower vases. Pour a little glue into the small bowl and add a tiny amount of water to thin it. Stir until the water is incorporated.
    6. Help him brush a thin coat of glue onto a plastic soda or water bottle and cover with strips and shapes of tissue paper for a stained glass look. Set aside to dry.
    7. Repeat steps 5 for each bottle.
  3. Once you have your invitations and decorations, it's time to plan "green" activities for kids to do at the party. Here are some fun ideas:
    • Play an "I Promise" game. Have guests stand in a circle. Start the game by saying one thing you pledge to do to help the environment, such as using less water or planting a tree. Go around the circle and have each person say what he'll do to be more environmentally conscious.
    • Plant a container garden. Cut the tops off clean pint-sized milk cartons or 20-oz soda bottles and fill with soil to create the planters. Make one planter for each guest. During the party, give each guest a container and a handful of seeds to plant. Offer a variety of vegetable and flower seeds and let guests choose what they want. These also make great party favors!
    • Host an eco book reading. Read fun books about the environment such as The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, inviting kids to act out the story as you read.
    • Try an eco-friendly craft. Make multimedia collages using old magazines, newspapers, and cardboard packaging, or create stylish cuff bracelets using toilet paper tubes decorated with fabric scraps and old buttons.
    • Enjoy the environment by spending time outside. Have a picnic on the lawn, walk to a nearby park, or even go on a nature scavenger hunt!
    • Finally, plan your menu. Focus on healthy dishes made with locally-grown fruits and vegetables from your neighborhood farmer's market, or, even better, your own garden!
      • Prepare a fresh fruit and vegetable platter and serve with homemade herb dips.
      • Make nature-inspired food. Craft bird nest snacks out of shredded wheat and coconut.
      • Blend up scrumptious fruit smoothies or freeze fruit juice popsicles.
      • Host a potluck. Instead of providing all the food yourself, invite guests to each bring a dish. Encourage them to whip up their favorite veggie-heavy recipe and bring it in to share.

On the day of the party, set up your globe centerpiece and fill your soda bottle vases with fresh flowers. Let guests in, and let the eco fun begin!

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