On an Earth Day unlike any other, families are trapped inside — or at least unable to visit many of the parks, zoos, and museums where the Earth is celebrated. That means a certain level of creativity might be required, but it doesn’t mean that Earth Day is canceled.
Here are some ideas for ways you and your kids can celebrate on the 50th anniversary of the original Earth Day while staying close to home.
Read Up on the Environment
There’s no shortage of kids’ books about the environment from GOAT The Lorax to lesser known titles like If I Ran the Rain Forest and My, Oh My — A Butterfly.
TIME for Kids has a special edition issue out for Earth Day. The cover story is about penguins — and who doesn’t love penguins? — along with stories about classrooms in Africa built from recycled materials and an interview with Steve Irwin’s kids, among other appropriately themed stories.
Get Lost in a Nature Documentary
Your kids are probably spending a decent amount of their time streaming video, and luckily there’s no shortage of nature documentaries to watch. Disney+ has plenty of stuff from National Geographic and Disneynature — including the Megan Markle-narrated Elephant.
Over on PBS, a documentary about the global water supply titled H2O: The Molecule That Made Us will drop at 9 and also be available to stream online if that’s a bit after bedtime.
Do Some Activities
If your kids are burned out on reading and watching, a hands-on activity might be the ticket. The Girl Scouts have a ton of options—and you don’t even have to be a girl to do them!
For crafty kids, Crayola has plenty of upcycling ideas, from a Milk Carton Bird Feeder to a hanging star made out of paper bags. Eco-oriented organizations like the Captain Planet Foundation have plenty of additional activities to explore.
Plan to Be More Sustainable
Google’s Your Plan, Your Planet initiative invites kids to reflect on their food, water, and energy waste. It’s also a good introduction to the circular economy, the idea that extending the lifecycle of products is an effective way to live more sustainable lives.
Virtually Visit a Museum or Zoo
Natural history museums and zoos may be closed, but they’re still doing their part to fulfill their missions to educate and inspire kids to love nature. The American Museum of Natural History is putting on EarthFest, a daylong series of watch parties with topics like home gardening, glacier physics, and earth trivia.
The San Diego Zoo is doing something similar, with discussions about white rhinos and zookeepers. It’s also teaching kids how to observe wildlife like a pro and giving them the chance to contribute to real conservation research.