Are you ready for Earth Hour? Every year on a Saturday near the end of March, governments, businesses, residential homes and cities large and small turn out their lights for one hour beginning at 8:30 p.m. to show their support for environmentally sustainable action.

The brainchild of the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights. Now millions of peoples in 178 countries and territories and every continent take part. Iconic buildings and national landmarks all around the globe, from the Parthenon to Las Vegas Strip to Mount Rushmore participate in the worldwide event.

So are you ready to get involved this year? All you have to do to participate is turn out the lights. But there's also so much more you can do if you're interested. For starters, talk to your family about the global significance of Earth Hour. Offer up some fun activities to try during your hour in the dark, such as:

1. Tell stories. Grab a candle and some blankets and tell stories in the living room. Fact or fiction, these stories and the snuggly surroundings are sure to make a memory with your kids.

2. Play flashlight tag. Don't want to sit still? Play a fun round of flashlight tag or hide and go seek in the dark.

3. Take a walk. Enjoy the night sounds and scenes of your neighborhood by taking an evening stroll with your kids.

4. Make shadow puppets. Gather the family and a candle and put on a shadow puppet show on a blank wall. Keep it simple with free hand designs or get creative with these intricate shadow puppet designs.

5. Star gaze. Hopefully, all of your neighbors will have their lights off for Earth Hour as well, so this could be the perfect evening to grab a telescope or some binoculars and head out to see the stars.

6. Set up camp. If your kids are little, Earth Hour might hit right around bedtime. Get the most out of the event by making it part of special campout bedtime, either in the backyard or right in the living room.

7. Go beyond the hour. Keeping the lights off for an hour is great, but maybe the best way to spend that time is to talk with your family about the things you can all do after Earth Hour is over to help the planet. Now that could really shed some light in the dark.

7 family activities for Earth Hour
7 great ways to spend the time and spread the message of Earth Hour with your kids. On Saturday, March 26, 2011, governments, businesses, residential homes, and