Taking care of the Earth is frequently on our minds, but in honor of Earth Day on April 22, people often look to take that responsibility more seriously. What better way to commemorate the 41st anniversary of what is considered the birth of the modern environmental movement than to teach the next generation about the Earth? Since children tend to learn well through play, here are some Earth Day games the whole family can enjoy together that boost your planet awareness and build eco-friendly values:
HOW TO PLAY: Set up three or four containers at one end of the room or yard, labeled with different types of recycling (i.e. one container labeled “Paper,” one labeled “Plastic” and one labeled “Aluminum”). At the other end are two piles, each with the same number of objects that need to be recycled. Players form teams and line up behind the recyclable piles. At the start, each player picks something from his/her pile and runs it up to deposit in the proper bin. Instead of a race, you could set a timer and have players “beat the clock.”
LESSONS: Sorting, recycling
Earth Obstacle Course
HOW TO PLAY: Set up an obstacle course outside that includes various activities that help the planet. Ideas include sorting recyclables into proper bins, then running to another station to toss earth beach balls into trash cans, then another station at which players have to dig through compost to find a (fake or real) worm, then another to water plants. Players can race against each other or be timed to see who can get through it the fastest.
LESSONS: Gross and fine motor skills, various activities that support the environment
Earth Day Ball Toss
HOW TO PLAY: Online, you can find several manufacturers of earth-printed inflatable and other balls, and use them to play many games you would traditionally play with regular balls. Or, to add an Earth Day twist to, say, a game of catch or dodge ball, have the person who catches the ball or gets tagged say something they love about the earth.
LESSONS: Gross and fine motor skills, being outdoors, teamwork
HOW TO PLAY: Write out several questions about the earth (such as, how hot is the earth’s core? How many continents are there? BONUS: Name them.) onto cards. Each player picks a card and tries to answer the question. If he/she cannot answer, she has 60 or 90 seconds to find the answer (by looking it up on the computer or in a book). And if the player still cannot find the answer? Make him/her do a funny dance!
LESSONS: Earth facts, teamwork, how to research
Know of other fun Earth Day games? Leave us a note in the comments below.