Play these fun Earth Day games that celebrate nature, recycling and caring for the planet.
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Divide kids into pairs for some classic wheelbarrow-racing fun! If you have two real wheelbarrows to use, the rules are simple enough: just have one kid from each pair sit inside and let the other push as they race to the finish line.
No wheelbarrows? No problem! Just play the old-fashioned way where one kid gets on his hands and knees, and another lifts him by the feet, turning him into a human wheelbarrow.
Another use for real wheelbarrows is to have a relay race, where the players must take turns transporting something inside, such as a pile of dirt or set of gardening tools.
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Ready, Set, Recycle!
To set up for this game, you will need to line up a few empty bins and label them for different types of recyclables (glass, plastic, metal, compost, etc.) Gather two collections of recyclable items that include at least one thing to fit each category. Divide players into two teams and give each team one set of the recyclable materials. Have them line up several feet away from the bins. To start the game, have one player from each team select an item, run it to the bins and drop it into the correct one. They must then run back and tag another player in line, who must then grab the second item and drop it in a bin. This continues until all of the items have been sorted into the correct bins. The first team to finish wins.
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Hopscotch is a simple, traditional outdoor game that usually requires a piece of chalk and a concrete surface on which to draw the board. This version of the game, however, is inspired by nature, and therefore uses natural elements to form the board. To start, have the kids collect a bunch of sticks, rocks, and leaves, and then arrange them in the pattern of a hopscotch board. Once the board is done, they can use a rock to toss and play as usual.
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Earth Day Tic Tac Toe
Like the hopscotch game, use the same method of natural grid-making to create a board for a game of Human Tic Tac Toe.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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Earth Day Scavenger Hunt
Before they head outside, have kids make a list of natural elements that are commonly found in your yard or play area (twigs, leaves, blades of grass, stones, flowers, etc.). Make two copies of the list, divide the players into two teams and hand them each a list. The first team to return with all of the items on the list wins the Earth Day scavenger hunt.
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Earth Day Art Projects
Once they have collected a good amount of natural elements, have them turn them into art projects. They can paint the rocks, make headbands out of flowers, create leaf paintings or build fairy houses out of twigs.
You can also use recyclable materials to create fun sculptures and miniature garden houses.
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Flower Pot Planting
Help kids celebrate Earth Day by planting flowers in a pot they can take home, nurture and watch grow. This flower pot planting party guide includes tips about how to arrange a potting activity for a group of kids.
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Teach kids a fun way to recycle paper into a craft with a paper mache activity. Use newspaper or magazine strips, mixed with a paste made of flour and water, to create paper mache. You can paste your strips into a balloon, like in this pinata method, and when it dries, paint it to look like the Earth.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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Backyard Bug Hunt
Give your little nature-lovers a bug catching kit (these can be found in dollar stores, craft stores or you can make your own as a fun craft project). Send them out into the grass to see what kind of bugs they can locate and capture (and then set free).
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Bird Feeder Craft and Relay Race
Have kids make bird feeders in honor of Earth Day. They can make them out of recyclable materials and hang them in their yards. Once the bird feeders are made, have a fun relay race where teams battle to see who can fill their feeder the fastest.
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Watering Can Brigade
This fun party game can be played with kids on Earth Day to remind them of watering a garden. Have all of the children line up, side-by-side. Give them each a small watering can. Place a large, empty flower pot on one end of the line. At the other end of the line, place the same-sized pot, filled with water. Set a time for three minutes. Have the player next to the pot of water fill her watering can with the pot. She must then fill the watering can of the next player in line with the water from her own can. That player then pours his water into the next player’s watering can (and so on down the line). The last player in line has to empty her watering can into the pot. Then the first player fills up and starts the process all over again. Players try to fill the empty pot before time runs out.
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Earth Day Musical Chairs
To turn the classic party game of musical chairs into a nature-themed game for Earth Day, simply modify some of the traditional game elements. For instance, instead of playing musical chairs, you can play musical lily-pads by cutting green poster board into the shapes of lily-pads and placing them in a line on the ground. Instead of walking or running around the lily-pads, kids can hop like frogs while the music plays. When the music stops, they jump onto a lily pad, instead of sitting in a chair. The rest of the game is played just the same as usual, where one lily-pad is removed after each round until only one player remains.Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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Natural Tie Dye
Host an Earth Day tie-dye party where kids can color t-shirts or other cloth items using natural dyes, such as teas, vegetables, and colorful spices, with these natural tie-dye recipes and methods from Today’s Parent.