Earth Day is an important holiday to include in the classroom, particularly for young learners who are in their first few years of school. We want them to be excited about caring for the earth from a young age! These Earth Day activities for the classroom will help your students learn more about this special day and how they can keep the planet healthy!
Learn About Earth Day
First and foremost, it’s important to share the basics of this holiday with our elementary students. What is Earth Day and why do we celebrate it? It’s more than just pulling out some Earth-themed crafts and worksheets. We want to give our students the context behind these activities.
What is Earth Day?
A great way to introduce Earth Day to elementary students is through picture books! I have created a printable class book with a kid-friendly introduction to Earth Day.
This book will provide context for any additional Earth Day activities that you do with your students. You can read it to your class at carpet time and then leave it out for them to explore during centers or free time.
Earth Day Vocabulary
Chances are that young students will be exposed to some new vocabulary as they learn about Earth Day. I have created Earth Day posters and word wall cards that you can use to keep important vocabulary words on display for your students as you continue to read and write about Earth Day as a class.
Read and Write About the Three R’s
Once students have had a chance to learn more about why we celebrate Earth Day, it’s time to learn more about how we can help the planet. One of my favorite ways to do this is by reading and writing about the “Three R’s”: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Three R’s Anchor Chart
This can be a tricky concept for young students since all three words sound similar, so it’s nice to create an anchor chart together to help them understand the difference between these three terms.
Students will love to discuss what is happening in each picture and then decide whether it represents reducing, reusing, or recycling. This anchor chart can be displayed for students to reference during additional reading and writing activities about the Three R’s.
Once the class has had plenty of time to discuss how to reduce, reuse, and recycle, it’s time for the students to apply this new vocabulary! One resource that I have created is a fill-in-the-blank book about Earth Day.
Young learners LOVE to solve the mystery of which words are missing from each page. After completing each sentence, students are then able to color the illustrations. Once it’s finished, the students have a fun take-home book to read with their families!
The Three R’s Pop-Up Book
Reading pop-up books is always a hit in an elementary classroom, but have you ever had your students make their OWN? I created this DIY pop-up book to be a fun and engaging activity for students to apply everything they’ve learned about Earth Day. Students will also be able to practice several important skills as they complete these fun books.
The front cover provides a great hand-strengthening opportunity. Students can use torn paper pieces to decorate the earth on the cover.
The inner pop-up pages give students a chance to apply what they’ve learned through a picture sort. They will decide whether the different pictures belong on the reduce page, the reuse page, or the recycle page. This is when the anchor chart comes in handy!
Finally, the back cover is a summary where students can write and illustrate a sentence about how they can help the earth. Their excitement for this pop-up book and its contents will be contagious as they share their work with their families!
Celebrate Earth Day
Once students have had plenty of time to learn about Earth Day and the importance of taking care of the planet, it will be celebration time! I love to help students celebrate holidays using crafts as well as themed learning activities. Earth Day is no exception!
Earth Day Craft
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly Earth Day craft, you definitely need to try my Earth Buddy craft! The first step is to decorate the earth. For this activity, I recommend Q-tip dot painting because it’s a great fine motor exercise and it helps keep the paint under control. I also love the texture that it gives the final product!
Next, students can cut out the eyes, hands, and feet and attach them to black accordion-folded arms and legs. After attaching the pieces, including a little stand for the back, students will have an Earth Buddy that they can take anywhere! This craft would also look great on an Earth Day bulletin board!
Earth-Themed Mystery Pictures
One of my favorite ways to include different learning tasks into holiday fun is through mystery pictures. For Earth Day, I have created three customizable mystery pictures that can be used for any content area!
Simply add any sight words, phonics patterns, or math vocabulary that you’re currently working on in your classroom and print! As students work on reading, writing, and coloring these words, they will reveal a fun reminder of everything your class has been learning about Earth Day.
Earth Day Activities for the Classroom
I hope that these activities give you some inspiration for helping your students understand and celebrate Earth Day this year. Would you like to try these Earth Day activities in your classroom? You can find all of the activities above in my Earth Day Activities | Earth Day Crafts product. Just click one of the buttons below to find it at my Teachers Pay Teachers store or in my A Spoonful of Learning shop.
Save These Earth Day Activities for Later
Are you short on time? Be sure to save this pin wherever you store your classroom activity ideas on Pinterest. That way, you’ll be able to find these activities when you’re ready to download and print!