By Hyacynth Worth
The last two weekends in April promise to be green in the Chicagoland in so many ways with trees budding and unfurling their leaves and both Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations in full swing around the city and suburbs. Mark your calendars for Earth Day Sunday, April 22, and Arbor Day Friday, April 27, and take a peak below to plan out how to celebrate our great Earth with the kiddos while teaching them ways to be good stewards of our precious resources.
Scout Seasonal Workshop Earth Day Celebration
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd
Register your Scout or entire Scout troop to spend the morning at the Chicago Botanic Garden helping the garden prepare for the growing season. Scouts and parents will craft a recycled art project, help with an outdoor service project and take a plant home to grow and tend. Be sure to register for this morning spent caring for our Earth by going to chicagobotanic.org/scout/seasonal.
Not a Scout? Head to the garden anyway and enjoy the spring flora and fauna. If you’re grabbing lunch at the garden café, talk about how the food is grown organically and locally through special garden-sponsored programs.
Arbor Day Celebration with Curious George
4100 Illinois Route 53
Geared toward involving children in the care of our trees, the Morton Arboretum celebration of Arbor Day cites a long list of activities that little ones will really dig. The party begins at 10 and last throughout the day. Little ones will meet Curious George, listen to the story Curious George plants a tree and then actually plant a real live tree with George! Afterward, the curious little monkey will lead a guided walk around Meadow Lake.
Party for the Planet
3300 Golf Rd.
Animal keepers and zoo volunteers alike will be hosting special talks all day geared toward educating families on conservation as well as how we humans can help keep our animal friends safe and sound through maintaining Earth-friendly practices. Aside from the talks, families have a few opportunities to sink their fingers into some soil and plant trees and spring annuals.
Don’t want to plan a special outing to celebrate but still want to teach your littles about being kind to the Earth? There’s plenty to do in your own backyard or neighborhood!
Plant a seedling
Let your little ones pick plants of their choice and plant a seedling in a small pot with intentions to replant it outside after Mother’s Day weekend. There are so many talking points while planting seeds – how to eat locally, how to properly plant a seed, how to care for a growing plant; the conversations are endless! Pick a topic that is easily understood by your child’s age range.
Before they plant their plants, be sure to have everything on hand:
- A small gardening shovel
- Potting soil
- One pot per family member
- Seeds of choice
- Gardening gloves
To add extra fun to the planting sessions, allow the little ones to decorate their planting pots with paint.
Organize a garbage hunt
Take to your favorite neighborhood park, beach of sidewalks and prepare to be garbage-cleaning machines! Designate someone to carry a bag for recyclables and another person to carry a bag for just trash. If you have a lot of helpers, you can even designate a compost bag carrier. Discuss how it’s our job to keep our little spaces of the Earth clean. Enjoy an outside picnic afterward, if the weather allows for it!
What you’ll need:
- Waterproof gardening gloves
- A wooden stick for stabbing garbage (optional)
- A water bottle for rehydrating the helpers
- A few garbage bags
- A wagon for full garbage bags (optional)
Take an electricity fast
Pick a few hour time-span where everyone agrees to abandon electricity to give the Earth a little break from powering your home. Plan some family time spent outdoors enjoying spring – a park adventure, a picnic in the backyard, a game of soccer in the front yard and simply enjoys nature and each other. Perhaps plan for the time to span into the early twilight hours and discuss how much electricity your family normally uses as night approaches.