3 Ways You can Help on Earth Day without Leaving Your Neighborhood

Published on April 22, 2022 - Updated on April 22, 2022

Earth Day is a great opportunity to get your kids involved in helping the planet. There are lots of cute crafts and blue and green decorated treats floating around the internet, but how can you really help the planet on Earth Day? Here are three things you can do in your own neighborhood that actually make a difference!

Litter Clean Up

One of the easiest ways to help the earth is to pick up trash around your neighborhood. Kids love to do this and turn it into a kind of treasure hunt or competition! My kids are always picking up trash (even when I don't necessarily want them to be!) and happily shouting out, "We're helping the earth!"

Litter Pick Up

Tips for picking up trash with kids

  • Use gloves and/or a reacher-grabber to keep any yucky germs in the trash where they belong
  • Wear bright colors if you're going to be near any roads
  • Make it a game! Who can find the most items? Who can find something red? Name materials as you find them (plastic, metal, paper)
  • Bring a bucket for trash (to help the environment even more), so you don't have to waste an extra plastic bag!

Plant Pollinator-Friendly Flowers

We love our bees! We wouldn't have any food without bees and other pollinators, so planting flowers that they love is an easy way to help out on Earth Day. Plant a variety and plant them all around your yard! Kids love playing in the dirt so this is the perfect opportunity for that.

Plant Flowers

What are the best pollinator-friendly plants?

  • Calendula
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Lavender
  • Cosmos
  • Milkweed
  • Sunflowers

Find a seed library

Have you heard of seed libraries? Many public libraries (ours included!), colleges, and museums have seed libraries. They are "libraries" of seeds where you can go to get free seeds to plant at home. Seed libraries help make planting and helping the earth accessible to everyone. Check with your local library to see if they have a seed library and go pick out some new things to plant in your yard!

Make a Bug Hotel

This one is an especially fun craft activity! We recently visited an educational garden and learned about bug hotels (theirs was called the "Crawl Inn").

Bug Hotel

What is a bug hotel?

A bug hotel is a place for good bugs like ladybugs, bees, and spiders to hide from predators, shelter, and lay their eggs. Building a bug hotel for your yard attracts all the good bugs and helps them thrive!

How to make a bug hotel

First, you'll need to find an empty bottle-- check your recycling bin! A water bottle or milk jug will work great. Cut the ends off the bottle so you have a tube.

Now you'll need to collect some nature treasures. Sticks, pinecones, stones. Next, you'll stuff your plastic tube full of everything you collected. It should be pretty full, but the idea is to leave lots of little crevices for bugs to hide in. If you need a good visual, we liked this video.

After you finish your bug hotel, find a safe spot for it and secure it to the spot. We wedged ours between tree limbs but you could also tie it up somewhere with a piece of string. Be sure to check on your bug hotel in a few days and see if any critters have found it!

Bug Hotel in tree

How are you making a difference this Earth Day? If you and your kids help the earth this week, tag us in it on Instagram @gethappyly for a chance to be featured!

Interested in other fun activities that will get the kids outside? Read up on our Building a Family Garden article or how to make the most of Little Free Libraries!

For even more local activities and attractions at your fingertips, be sure to download the happyly app, the country's only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our frequent blog content, favorite activities, and expertly designed curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Jessica Parrish
I am a Massachusetts native who grew up in the suburbs of Boston and on Cape Cod. As a military spouse I have lived all over the country from Florida to California, and several places in between. My family has now settled in Virginia where I am a stay-at-home mom to two awesome girls. I love to explore and hike National and State Parks, and spend tons of time at the beach with my kids, splashing in the waves in the summer and searching for shells and seaglass in the winter. I also love running, yoga and cooking!
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