10 Ways Your Family Can Help Protect the Environment on Earth Day

Looking for a unique way to celebrate Earth Day with your kids this year? These eco-friendly ideas will help your whole family get into the act when it comes to protecting the environment.
  • 01 of 10

    Organize a community cleanup

    Group of children (8-10) walking with garbage bags, smiling
    Leland Bobbe/Photodisc/Getty Images
    Whether it's at your kids' school, a neighborhood park, along a hiking trail or someplace else in your community, get your family involved in a community cleanup effort on Earth Day. Enlist your friends and advertise the cleanup effort locally to encourage others to join in your efforts.
  • 02 of 10

    Plant something

    For kids who love to play in the dirt, gardening is a natural fit. Get your kids involved in planting shrubs, a tree, flowers, vegetables or other plants in your yard. If you choose something like shrubs or a tree, they'll stick around year after year to remind you of your Earth Day efforts (with proper care, of course).

  • 03 of 10

    Organize a recycling drive

    recycling drive
    Dave and Les Jacobs/ Getty Images

    Think of places where recycling is needed in your community but currently isn't done or isn't very convenient. Do you have curbside recycling? Are there recycling containers at your children's school, local playgrounds, community center or other places you frequent?

    Once you've identified where there's a need for recycling, see what your family can do to encourage more people to do it. For example, if there aren't recycling containers at your child's school, see if you...MORE can set up a recycling bin in her classroom.

    If you're lucky enough to live in an area that already makes recycling easy, consider setting up a drive to collect recyclables that aren't commonly collected such as packing materials, old batteries or electronics. Find out how and where to recycle them at Earth911.com.

  • 04 of 10

    Park the family car

    Parking Lot.

    If you have a car, consider walking, biking or taking public transportation where possible on Earth Day. If you must drive, take shorter or fewer trips and make sure you're  taking steps such as properly inflating the tires to get the most mileage. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Curb your electricity use

    Lights out.

    Reduce your electricity use for the day. Turn off the lights, fans, television, computer and other electronics on Earth Day.

    If the weather is nice, turn off your heating or air conditioning and open up the windows. If it's too hot to open your windows, make sure to lower your blinds when the sun comes up and replace your air conditioner's filter if you haven't done so recently.

    Opt for candles at night instead of electric lights. If you need to clean up, choose a broom rather than a...MORE vacuum. Read your kids an eco-friendly book rather than letting them watch television.

  • 06 of 10

    Save water

    Check your home for leaky faucets. If you don't already do so, encourage everyone to turn off the water while brushing their teeth and washing their faces and hands. See who can take the fastest shower (and still get clean). Use a broom rather than a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk.
  • 07 of 10

    Donate or swap things you don't need

    Recycle toys, clothes and other household items you're no longer using by donating them. You can also collect donations or arrange a community swap event where kids bring their old toys and books to trade.
  • 08 of 10

    Install houses or feeders for wildlife

    Simple Bird House
    Valerie Everett

    Install houses for birds, bats or other wildlife in your yard or set up a feeder for birds. To get your kids into the act, consider having them build or decorate the birdhouse or make the feeder.

    To create a simple feeder, all you need is a pinecone, some string, peanut butter or lard, and some bird food such as seeds, oats, corn meal or nuts. Just smear the peanut butter or lard on the pinecone, roll it in the bird food, and hang the pinecone outside.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Raise money for a good cause

    Choose an eco-friendly charity your family supports and find a way to raise money for it. You can collect monetary donations directly, hold an Earth Day yard sale or sell eco-friendly crafts made by your family. Once again, encourage your friends and neigbors to join in.

  • 10 of 10

    Commit to change

    family outdoors
    Lucas Allen/ Getty Images

    Think of one simple way to reduce your family's carbon footprint and commit to doing it. If you need an incentive to get yourself started, consider rewarding your family if you succesfully implement the change. Don't forget to choose an eco-friendly reward, too!