So many of us are teaching our children how to be connected in a responsible way to this beautiful, troubled planet. Our special Earth Day activity combines playful creativity and practical activism in a way the whole family will enjoy. The indoor part of the day is spent learning about our own trash habits, using household refuse to create a striking symbol of our effect on the earth and asking some important questions in the process. Then we go outdoors to do something constructive for our own neighborhood.
It feels so hopeful to help the earth and at the same time have a little messy and inspiring fun. Everyone can get involved!
1. Go through household wastebaskets and gather things that aren’t food items, or potentially germy or decomposed; children love to ransack the trash for treasures, and now’s their chance to turn their finds into a visual reminder of your responsibility to our planet.
2. Have the family sit in a circle, if you like, or at a table, around this pile of salvaged stuff. Now each family member closes their eyes and grabs something from the pile. Open your eyes. What is it? Where did it come from? Who used it? How could its trip to the trash have been avoided? How could it have been reused?
3. Next, with everyone working together, using string, twist-ties, or some other item from the trash, crumple and bind the salvaged items together in the rough shape of a ball or globe. Hang this masterpiece somewhere to remind yourselves that this is what could happen to the earth if we don’t change our habits. Respect for the earth begins at home!
4. Then, take your earth-honoring zeal outside: put on washable gloves, take a bag for each family member and organize a clean-up expedition. Pick up any bottles and cans, papers or trash you find, being careful to watch for traffic if you’re cleaning up a roadway. If your roads are too busy for comfort, perhaps a local park could use a helping hand. At the end of your expedition, be sure to separate your finds and recycle them.
Adapted from Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw (Inner Traditions, 1995). Copyright (c) 1995 by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw. Reprinted by permission of Inner Traditions.
Adapted from Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw (Inner Traditions, 1995).