- Create a "Lend a Hand to Help Take Care of Our Earth" bulletin board. Give each child a sheet of construction paper. Instruct children to place their left hand on the paper, trace around it, and cut out the handprint. On each finger, children should write one thing they can do to help take care of the earth. Use handprints as border around large globe. (For further student involvement, use projector to trace globe shape onto large sheet of white paper or poster board. Have students tear scraps of blue and green construction paper into tiny pieces and use these to color the continents and oceans appropriately.
- Read Dr. Seuss's classic "The Lorax" aloud as a class. Discuss.
- Choose a portion of the school grounds to beautify by planting trees or flowers. Commit to caring for the plants through the remainder of the school year.
- Create a class art exhibit that highlights nature. Students may submit photographs, drawings, paintings, sculptures, collages, etc. Along with their art submission, students should include a brief written explanation of their work and its significance.
- Plan a "Carry Your Weight" day to make students more aware of the impact their actions have on the environment. Give each child a garbage bag at the start of the school day and tell them that all garbage generated during the day must go in their personal garbage bag. Students must carry their garbage bags with them wherever they go throughout the school day. At the end of the day, weigh bags and discuss results. How much waste did the class as a whole generate in a single day? Assuming students generated an average amount of waste during their "Carry Your Weight" experiment, how much garbage could the class expect to generate in a week? a month? over the course of the school year? How many students threw away items that could have been recycled? Did physically having to carry their garbage from place to place make students more aware of what and how much they were discarding?
- Hold a paper drive for a week or more before Earth Day. Encourage students to save all clean scraps of paper that would otherwise be discarded, both at home and at school. Use these scraps to make recycled paper. (For instructions and tips on making paper, please visit this site.)
- Adopt a park or another public place within walking distance of the school. As a class, devote an hour of Earth to cleaning up the site. (Local governments or area businesses may agree to provide students with safety vests, gloves, and garbage bags for this activity.)
- Discuss the impact of manufacturing on the environment. Encourage students to wear only second-hand clothing on Earth Day.
- Plan and prepare a class lunch that uses only whole foods. For maximum earth friendliness, limit your menu to plant foods.
- Make a solar oven from a recycled pizza box. Use it to cook s'mores or another quick-cooking treat. (Simple directions for making an oven are available on this site.)
- Create an indoor maze or obstacle course using recycled cardboard boxes.
- Organize a class- (or school-) wide "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" sale. Have students bring books, toys, games, and other items they no longer use to school (with parental permission!) for resale. Families can reduce their own household clutter, see their unwanted items put to good use, and make use of items other people no longer want instead of buying new. Donate proceeds to an environmental cause voted upon by the class.