10 Ways to Make Earth Day a Part of Your Family All Year ‘Round

April 22nd, 2013 by Dionna | 2 Comments
Posted in Adults, Children, Compassionate Advocacy, Eclectic Learning, Environmentalism, Guest Posts, Healthy Living, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting, Preschoolers, Strive for Balance, Teens, Toddlers

  • Email This Post

earth day
Teaching kids the message of Earth Day is the legacy we leave for all mankind. The most important thing for kids to know is that Earth Day is not one day of celebrating the Earth, but instead a reminder of what we should be doing all year long.  This Earth Day, teach your kids about our wonderful planet and how to create a sustainable world.  It’s the perfect day to start meaningful traditions as a family that will positively impact future generations.

1. Replace Bottled Water with Canteens.

Nearly 90% of plastic bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to decompose.  There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer in the worlds’ oceans.  Also, the bottled water industry is unregulated. 

Invest in a filter and take back the tap.  Retro-fitting your faucets with water filters shows a proven savings for your family.  Klean Kanteen offers baby bottles and sippy cups!  

2. Plant a Garden

Children are natural gardeners. They’re curious and they like to learn by doing and observing. They love to get dirty.  They can experience the satisfaction that comes from taking care of something, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. 

A few easy plants to grow:  sunflowers, tomatoes, radishes, mums, and pumpkins.  Remember to have a paint set handy to decorate garden boxes and gardening pots.  

3. DIY Recycled Gift Wrap

You can reuse gift bags, bows and event paper, but you can also make something unique by using old maps and newspaper. Flip a paper grocery bag inside out and give your child stamps, crayons or markers to create their own wrapping paper that’s environmentally friendly and extra special for the recipient.  Here are some beautiful DIY gift wrapping ideas

4. Use Fewer Napkins

Purchase a set of 4-6 reusable cloth napkins (you can even use washcloths if you’re on a tight budget) for each family member.  You can rotate
them out with each meal, and throw them in with a load of laundry. 

Each year, an American uses approximately 2,200 napkins, which equals 6 per day.  If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.  By using cloth linens each day, your contribution would be even more significant!

5. Compost

Turning yard waste, paper and food scraps into compost means more than creating a useful garden fertilizer. It could potentially divert a huge percentage (14% equaling 34 million tons annually) of municipal solid waste from the nation’s landfills.  Plus it’s good for the Earth. 

Compost feeds diverse life in the soil and helps hold moisture and nutrients which supports healthy plant growth.  Feeling unsure about how to compost in an urban area, city or a small apartment?  It can be done!  You can learn more about it here.

6. Conserve Water

Water is our life force.  Most of us probably don’t think about the source of our drinking water.  Truth be told, our fresh water is not an infinite resource.  Americans have the highest average for daily consumptive water use in the world (150 gallons per person/day.)   A few things we can teach our little ones:

  • Brush your teeth without running the water.  You’ll save 5 gallons of water per person each day.  Daily savings in the U.S.could add up to 1.5 billion per day!
  • Take showers instead of baths.  By foregoing the bath and opting for a 5-10 minute shower, you’ll have a 30-50% savings in water usage.  If your little one is not old enough to shower yet, use the amount of water that you’ll actually need (plus a little more for fun bubbles) instead of filling the tub completely.
  • A great read, Why Should I Save Water by Jen Green, helps kids learn how they can save water every day.

7. Ban Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are horrible for the environment. Between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags, which are not biodegradable, are used worldwide each year.  Millions upon millions of bags have already made their way into our oceans, and subsequently, the food chain.  Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food.  It takes 60-100 million barrels of oil to meet the worldwide demand for producing plastic bags. Canvas bags are a perfect remedy. Making a commitment to do away with plastic bags is one of the easiest changes we can make.

8. Support local farmers

Bring a local farm to your table.  Supporting local farmers is one of the most rewarding changes you can make for your family.  By supporting local, your money stays within your community and helps to build stronger
alliances and relationships between farmers and consumers.  Many organic local farms welcome visitors and children, offer tours, and have designated volunteer days.  Your kids can become more familiar with how farming works and will enjoy seeing the farm animals in a happy outdoor environment. By supporting local farms, you know where your food comes. It lessens the demand for factory farms (factory farms are very cruel environments for animals), and supports peaceful environments. 

Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) brings ultra fresh, beautiful produce to your door each week.  Your farmers will introduce you to new and many will supply recipes and instructions on how to prepare the week’s bounty.  Learn more about CSA programs here.  

9. Avoid Palm Oil

Palm oil is in almost all processed foods. It is found in about half of all packaged goods on the shelf. Harvesting palm oil is one of the leading causes of deforestation and habitat loss. Destroying Rainforests to create palm oil plantations is the reason many species are facing extinction. Orangutans are one of the most critically endangered of the great apes. 

An earnest call to all fellow mothers:  Orangutans are highly intelligent. The orangutan has the longest childhood dependence on the mother of any animal in the world, because there is so much for a young orangutan to learn in order to survive. The babies nurse until they are about six years of age. Orangutans form very strong family bonds.

We can all make a difference by choosing not to buy products with packaged with palm oil. A simple start is to read ingredient labels. Palm oil products can be identified through these names:  Cetyl Palmitate and Octyl Palmitate, Elaeis Guineensis (Taxonomic name for palm oil), Hexadecylic or Palmitic Acid, Hydrated Palm Glycerides Palm Oil Kernal, Palmate, or anything with Palmitate at the end.

Learn more about how you can help here.

10. Plant a Tree

It’s good for the soul, it’s good for your family, it’s good for the air and land. Often communities will have local tree plantings.  Start a meaningful tradition for the whole family.  Plant a tree for each member on Earth Day.


About the Author

Melanie Martin is a wife and mom of 2.  She is the founder of moksa organics and works with both children attached to her.  Melanie is an environmentalist and activist in the state of Florida and serves on the Sierra Club (Florida group) Executive Committee. You can find her on any given night with a glass of wine writing about creative projects for preschoolers and toddlers.  Her parenting blog, Indigo and Sage, focuses on peaceful parenting, non violence, and life lessons from nature.


  • treehugger alachua county EPD
  • Earth911
  • seeturtles.org
  • orangutans.com

    Photo Credits

    Earth Day 2013: Author
    Klean Kanteen
    Cucumber plant: Author
    Gift wrap: Author
    Crate + Barrel
    Compost: Author
    Why Should I Save Water (image from Amazon)
    Eco Friendly Personalized Reusable Shopping Bags – Go Green (from Amazon)
    Boy and goat: Author
    Orangutan (from wikipedia)
    Tree in hand: Author


    Have you written about Earth Day? Share your stories and ideas here to inspire others! Link up your post below.

2 Responses to:
"10 Ways to Make Earth Day a Part of Your Family All Year ‘Round"

  1. A great article describing essential, practical, and easy to do things for Earth and your family!Thank you.

  2. tree peters   momgrooves

    what a great post!! I have to pin it so I keep referring back to it.
    I also checked out your business page and am so impressed with your dedication to the Earth in every aspect of the creation and processes of your company.
    I’ve thought that all soap in a bar was using something funky, but I can’t imagine you would be. I’m excited to find out more and to share.
    and thanks Dionna for hosting this post.

  • Grab my new badge!

    Visit Code Name: Mama

  • Visit Natural Parents Network
  • Display & participate!

    Visit Code Name: Mama

  • Carnival of Weaning

    Carnival of Weaning