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Trees, Not Screens! How to Celebrate Earth Day With the Whole Family.

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Dr. Meg Meeker

Earth Day began in 1970 as a way to mobilize and bring change to the way we treat our environment. Since its inception, Earth Day has organized and inspired millions to be more appreciative of our planet and more kind to it.

As someone who hails from the beautiful state of Michigan, I have a deep appreciation for nature and all that it can offer us. This is something my husband and I have passed on to our kids, who are now passing it on to theirs. All of our grandchildren know a poem my husband likes to recite when he’s building a fire–a few words of gratitude he gives to the trees for providing us with this wood that gives us warmth.

Earth Day is an excellent opportunity to instill gratitude in your children for what’s right in front of them—the trees in your yard, the blue sky, the warm sun. As kids become more and more engrossed with their phones and social media, let’s make Earth Day about trees, not screens. 

Here are a few ways you can celebrate Earth Day with your child in a way that will instill gratitude in them for our planet and its beauty and hopefully make them want to be in nature more than on their phones.

Plant something.

This could be anything from a tree in your front yard to a flower in your garden to an indoor plant. Kids love to watch things grow. It’s the miracle of life. The process of watching a seed go from nothing to a beautiful or edible plant will inspire your child to watch for this little miracle of life happening all around them.

Visit a local farm.

One great way to support our planet is to eat produce and meat from local farmers. Check what farms in your area allow visitors (most of them probably do) and schedule a time the whole family can go. Your kids can feed chickens and goats and maybe even try some of the fresh produce. This is a fun and interactive way to teach your child the value of knowing where your food comes from.

Go back to the beginning.

For those who are religious, and even those who are not, it’s important to teach your kids that the earth was created with love and care. That’s why we take care of it the same way. The very first chapter of Genesis has a beautiful description of God creating the earth.

Genesis 1:11-12 says, “God spoke: ‘Earth, green up! Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants,

Every sort of fruit-bearing tree.’ And there it was. Earth produced green seed-bearing plants, all varieties, and fruit-bearing trees of all sorts. God saw that it was good.” (The Message translation)

Reading through the first chapter of Genesis at dinnertime or bedtime with your kids would be a great way to introduce them to the idea of our earth being created by something bigger than themselves. Ask them what they think about the story and what questions they have. Ask them how these verses could help them understand what they see in nature. 

Happy Earth Day, friends! I hope these ideas are helpful and that you and your family are able to celebrate Earth Day in a way that instills gratitude in your kids, and in you, for all of the beauty around them.

To learn more about the history of Earth Day, visit EarthDay.org.

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