10 Earth Day Celebration Activities for Your Classroom

Tara Dusko, TeacherVision Advisory Board Member
LAST UPDATED: August 8, 2022

Earth Day is the perfect time to help your students gain an appreciation for our planet and everything it gives us, while also reinforcing science, reading, math, and writing skills. These 10 activities offer a combination of independent and group practice options for Earth Day activities in the classroom.

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day As you look around your school, you’ll probably see trash thrown on the playground, food wasted in the cafeteria, and recyclable materials tossed in the garbage can. Earth Day is the perfect time to address these issues and teach your students why it’s so important to take care of our planet.

1. Save Natural Resources With The Lorax

Reading the book The Lorax is a great way to start a discussion about saving our natural resources. Your students will quickly see that using all the trees and other resources leaves nothing for future generations and destroys the homes of many animals.

The Lorax is the perfect introduction to a lesson on natural resources. Have your students make a list of resources and how they are used. Talk about what would happen if we didn’t have them anymore. For more ideas, check out this TeacherVision lesson plan.

2. Host An Earth Day Clean-Up Day At School

Earth Day is the perfect time to clean up the area around your school. We have a large campus, so we assign each grade level a different outside area. Throughout the day, the teachers take their classes outside, and each student has to pick up 5 pieces of trash from the assigned area. You will need lots of garbage bags and hand sanitizer for this activity; however, the difference it makes is amazing.

You can even extend this activity beyond Earth Day, and have each grade check on their area once a month to keep the school campus looking beautiful. 

3. The Wartville Wizard

Once you’ve cleaned up your school, read The Wartville Wizard. This is one of my absolute favorite books to share with my class! The wizard is given the “power over trash” and can send garbage back to the person who littered. 

We think about how many things we would have stuck to us and make a pledge never to litter again. I also encourage my students to pick up trash around their neighborhoods, just like they did at school.

4. Have a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Challenge

Start by teaching your students the difference between reducing, reusing, and recycling. Make a list of ways you can do each one. Have your students keep a journal for a week. They should write each time they reduce their amount of waste, reuse something they would normally throw away, or recycle an item. At the end of the week, your students can share some of the ways they helped to save the planet.

5. Recycled Material Carnival

Once your students have a good understanding of how to recycle, have them bring in some materials from home that they are recycling, like plastic bottles, egg cartons, and cereal boxes. When you have a collection of recyclables, allow your students to use them to create carnival games. The soda bottles make a great ring toss!

Once your carnival is set up, invite other classes to play your games. This is a great way to repurpose garbage.

6. "I Dream of a World" Writing Prompt

Have your students think about what kind of world they want to live in. They can make a list of all the things their ideal world would have - clean water, lots of animals, and a clear blue sky. Then, they should write a paragraph using the sentence starter, “I dream of a world where. . .”. After they have written about the perfect world, they can draw a picture to go with their descriptive paragraph. I love displaying these in the hallway for Earth Day!

7. Plant Seeds

If your school has a garden, Earth Day is the perfect time to plant seeds. As part of our plants unit in science, my third graders plant lettuce seeds in our garden. By the end of the school year, the lettuce is ready to be harvested, and everyone gets to take some home.

8. The Big Backyard Challenge

Earth Day is also a good opportunity to encourage your students to put away their electronic devices and go outside and enjoy nature. The Big Backyard Challenge is something my school created to get our students off computers and video games. There are 5 Bingo boards filled with fun activities to do outside without any technology. Find out more about this fun challenge.

9. Nature Collage

Help your students appreciate the beauty of nature by creating nature collages. Take your class on a nature walk outside your school to collect leaves, small branches, pinecones, or any other elements of nature. You could also have your students collect things from their neighborhoods and bring them to school.

Have your students make nature collages. All they need are the materials they gathered, glue, and paper. Let them use their imaginations to create unique designs.

10. No-Waste Lunch

Waste at lunch is a huge problem at my school. When I enter the cafeteria to get my students, all I see is trays of food being dumped into the garbage. Plus, there are so many plastic bags, aluminum foil wrappers, and paper lunch bags added to the trash each day.

To make my students more aware of this problem, we have a no waste lunch on Earth Day. They have to bring all their food in reusable containers. We have a picnic outside without any garbage cans. Everything that comes outside with them has to go back inside in their lunchboxes. This activity makes the students more aware of just how much waste they make, and many of them try to be waste-free for the rest of the year.

Doing some of these Earth Day activities in your classroom will make your students aware of the part they play in keeping our planet healthy. Hopefully, they will share what they learned with their families and start reducing, reusing, and recycling at home, too. Taking some time to incorporate these activities into your reading, writing, and science lessons will help your students become better citizens and will make our Earth a nicer place to live.

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