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Earth Day for the Ages

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It seems our beloved Earth has been taking a beating what with greenhouse gases and all. We all want to look after her better and teach our kids how to, but where to start? Well we say, who better than a mother to ‘mother’ it back to the best shape it can be?
With Earth Day approaching, it’s a great time for savvy families across the land to celebrate Earth Day (which, btw, we were amazed to learn is observed in 175 countries and is the largest secular holiday in the world). Have some fun (learn some things) and help the earth at the same time. No matter the age of your kid(s), we’ve got some ideas for you.

Baby in the House?
Did you know that for every tree we plant, we can reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere by 13 pounds per year? If you’re just welcoming a new baby (and our congratulations to you), celebrate the arrival of your precious bundle by gathering your extended family together and planting a tree in commemoration of this very special time. Your little tree and your little baby will grow up strong together and when baby is older you can share the story of how you planted the tree to mark his/her birth and be proud of the CO2 reduction your eco-babe saved each year. Consult your local nursery for guidance and choose a local specimen—native to wherever you are—for more hardy growing and less care required.

For the Toddlers and Preschoolers
Kids are always picking up dirty, sticky things off the ground, right? Earth Day is a perfect time to take advantage of that habit! Picking up garbage from local outdoor spaces such as parks and nature sites protects your community’s wildlife and of course makes the place more visually appealing. Choose a small manageable spot close to home (your fave playground makes a great place to start), grab a bag (preferably a recyclable one) and set out to pick up all the garbage. Ensure everyone is wearing gloves for safety and sanitary reasons. Make up some games (Who can pick up three things first? Who can find something red to pick up?) and get out there and de-trash the place!

Reinforce the keep-our-earth-clean message with one of our favourite authors for all ages, Dr. Seuss. The Lorax speaks for the trees (who don’t have voices) and tries to defend them against the Once-ler (all humanity) who is destroying the environment, cutting down the trees and polluting the pond without thinking about the consequences for the future. Read the book, check out the video we found online or play the Lorax Save the Trees Game. Whatever your preference (we love them all), they’re all great green family activities.

5 on Up
We’re hearing a lot of talk about our eco-footprint these days but how do we know how big ours is? Zerofootprint, the not-for-profit organization that helps consumers and businesses reduce their environmental impact has developed a fun tool to help kids learn about their own environmental impact.

Snuggle up together, click on www.zerofootprintkids.com and simply answer 25 fun interactive questions. Your kids will easily discover how much water, carbon, land and trees they use in one year. The tool facilitates a conversation about and understanding of the eco-related choices our families are making such as the size of car we drive or whether we are using reusable packaging for our school lunches and the impact of those choices.

When you’re finished working through the questions, your child can compare their eco-footprint to the Canadian yearly standard, or even find out what kids from other countries produce in the same time-span. The idea is to get them thinking about these choices while their own footprints are still small—and trust us, it works! (Don’t blame us if your kids start shaming you for some of the eco-choices you’re making though!)

So go on and nurture nature with your family. They’ll ‘dig’ these Earth-y ideas, we’re sure.

Earth Day is coordinated by the non-profit Earth Day Network. For more visit www.earthday.org or www.earthday.ca, the official website of Earth Day Canada, the Canadian arm of Earth Day Network

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