Books take us on adventures that help our imaginations soar beyond our everyday lives. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, it’s the perfect time to teach kids about loving the planet and reminding them that they can take care of Mother Earth in so many ways. What better gift for your kiddo this Earth Day than a book that teaches them to be stewards for mother nature and empowers them to make a difference with their small hands every day? We’ve found heartwarming fiction and nonfiction gems paired up with real-life outings to help you explore nature with your kids. Click through the slideshow for a fun exploration, where reading and adventure go side by side.

Start Recycling

Read This: We are Extremely, Very Good Recyclers by Lauren Child

In this fun picture book, lovable British brother and sister team Charlie and Lola enter a recycling competition, involve friends to help, and earn their very own tree to plant. Big brother Charlie teaches Lola not to just throw away all the stuff when she cleans out her room, but to recycle it. The colorful, multimedia design of the illustrations burst forth from each page. This book is sure to capture the attention of young recyclers and create mental images of how one small action adds up to help save energy, trees, and keep the air clean. In the back of the book you’ll find your very own tree chart to chart your kids' own projects that help the earth.

Do This: Make beautiful, super creative recycled art. Rare Hare Studio in Normal Heights offers one of a kind art camps, and birthday parties that celebrate reusing materials. They take recycled materials that have been donated in bulk by locals and create thematic workshops open to groups or individuals.  What may first appear as "junk"- pieces of metal, fabric, old spoons- become robots, mermaid crowns, and steampunk jewelry in this unique studio that challenges kids to stretch their imaginations and see the potential in the recycled items. If you want reusable art supplies for a project, stop by the adjacent ArtForm, a creative reuse store on a Saturday. Get fabric, paint, stamps, anything you can think of with lots of inspiration for projects.

Extra Credit: Make your little ones your official household recyclers; teach them responsibility. Good for them, good for you! (and good for the earth!)

Photo: Rare Hare Facebook Page

What’s your favorite book that celebrates the earth? Do you have fun activities you do as a family?

— Cherie Gough