Your little ones may like to dust your minivan with Cheerios and, sure, dinnertime is a food-flinging free-for-all, but chances are they’re also conservationists at heart (they DO wear the same clothes daily) and are always the first ones to pick up decomposing bags of Doritos off the sidewalk. The message of Earth Day resonates beautifully with children, so go plant a sapling, start a new habit of turning off the lights, and check out one of these local clean-up events or celebrations in honor of Mother Earth.
Photo: Michel Curi
March for Science
The inaugural March for Science on the National Mall was held on Earth Day in 2017, but this year’s event is scheduled for April 14, 2018. The march focuses on standing up for science and raising awareness about environmental issues like global warming and commercial waste. Round up the kids to draw and paint signage, then head out to support evidence-based policies that serve all communities and science for the common good.
Arlington County: Be Earth Friendly Every Day
Arlington County, like many counties in the region, uses Earth Day as a great excuse to celebrate conservationism throughout the month of April. Their website boasts a long list of recommended family activities and events, like how to create your own rain garden or rain barrel, recycling tips, leads on local freecycling groups, and scheduled invasive plant removal projects at area parks. Arlington boasts a ton of nature centers and gardens, where you can register for a nature event or stock up on foliage at a spring native plant sale!
Anacostia River Festival and Cleanup
This year marks the fourth annual Anacostia River Festival, the official closing of the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Both the Cherry Blossom and River festivals honor Earth Day through a variety of activities including outdoor recreation, musical performances, a photography exhibition, and lessons about the environment and sustainable practices. Come celebrate the Anacostia River and take a canoe out to explore the River, ride in the bike parade, play lawn games with the fam, and experience Southeast D.C.’s local arts scene at this special FREE event. This year’s festival will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Anacostia Park and the Year of the Anacostia—a year-long invitation to honor history.
The National Zoo
Your favorite local menagerie always does Earth Day right—by honoring the beauty and preservation of all of its furry, feathered, scaly friends. This year’s “Earth Optimism Day” celebration features family friendly activities, hands-on learning opportunities, and interactive demonstrations—all in the name of conservation. Hear first-hand from Zoo experts about some of the innovative solutions being used in the fight to save species, and learn how you can take action to help protect the planet at this free event! Different stations include a surveying game and bird-banding demonstration, viewing coral up close and learning about reef preservation, making seed balls and seed packets, and taking a tour of the Asia Trail.
The United States Botanic Garden
If your kids are more into flora than fauna, check out the “Celebrate Earth Day” Festival at one of the biggest indoor gardens around. Get them amped for a (healthy) lunch in the city with cooking demonstrations featuring seasonal produce, or meet with representatives of environmental organizations from around the region. Drop by and learn all the ways that you can make the planet a healthier place and become a more active steward of the plants that support life on Earth!
Alexandria Earth Day
Families are encouraged to “bike train” to this fun event (see the event website for details) featuring upcyling showcases, special exhibits and demonstrations, live music, an Arbor Day tree planting, local food (Meggrolls and Borinquen Lunch box—yum), and a ton of activities and games. The festival focuses on efficient and eco-friendly transportation options such as walking, bicycling, ridesharing, and riding public transit. Kids 10 and older can sign up to volunteer at a local farmer’s market composting station!
How do you plan on celebrating Earth Day with your kids? Tell us in the comments section below.