Teaching children to take care of the environment starts with reading! Discover the top Earth Day books for kids that are sure to inspire your child.
I’ll be honest: I skip past news about the environment—at least the bad news. I don’t do this because I’m oblivious to the facts or I’m set on disregarding the planet.
Nope—I avoid bad news because it can depress me.
With every freak hurricane or degree of heat, it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of these tragedies.
That’s why I like to focus on positive news, especially the steps regular folks can take to save the planet. From electric cars to the rise of farmers’ markets, this kind of news inspires and reminds me that people care.
Yes, we should support environmental groups or press representatives to focus on the environment. But it’s also empowering to remember that you and I can do a lot as well.
At the end of this article, I’ll share my tips on how families can help. For now, I want to highlight one of the best ways: reading Earth Day books.
Earth Day books
Reading Earth Day books teaches kids to not be wasteful, to appreciate what we have, and to be satisfied with enough. While we honor the planet and bring awareness to the environment on Earth Day, it’s important to sow these values not just once a year, but every day.
These Earth Day books—appropriate for toddlers, kindergarten, through early elementary—show the beauty of the planet, inspiring and compelling your child to protect it. And not only because we’re running out of resources, but because we have a responsibility and desire to preserve what is important to us.
I hope you and your child enjoy these books as my kids have, and that they can inspire her to protect the planet:
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Simple ways families can protect the earth
We’ve all heard about the three R’s: reuse, reduce, recycle. I’ll highlight a few ways we can do just that, plus add two more important R’s: repair and refuse.
- Use hand-me-downs. These could be from friends and family or bought at consignment stores. Pass along your child’s outgrown clothes to your circle of friends, a donation center, or a consignment store.
- Pack utensils and use food containers. Does your child pack a daily lunch for school? Pack reusable utensils instead of disposable, and buy a good container or Thermos for her main meal.
- Turn old art projects into new ones. Is your home packed with art projects? Turn them into new ones or use them for scrap paper.
- Use just enough water and electricity. Don’t fill up the kids’ tub—only use what you need. And turn off the lights in rooms when you’re not spending time there.
- Bike or walk to school. If you’re zoned for a local school, you more than likely live close enough to walk or bike to it. Don’t want to walk all the way, or feeling short on time? Drive midway, park, and walk the rest of the way. Even once a week is helpful.
- Bundle up to stay warm. Save the heater for really cold days and nights. For the rest, layer on sweaters and brew a cup of tea to stay warm.
- Leave a convenient bin in your kitchen just for recycling. You can do the same in your bathroom.
- Recycle old baby gear. It’s tempting to just toss old car seats or broken crib parts in the trash, but research local recycling centers that can take them off your hands.
- Teach your child to sort trash vs recyclables. Not everything goes in the trash—talk about what goes in the trash and in the recycle bin so she can do this on her own.
- Fix items or toys that break. Don’t be too quick to toss a broken toy that could easily be fixed with a simple screw. I’m all about decluttering, but if your child truly loves the toy, think of how you can repair it first before tossing it away.
- Mend clothes. I’m not one to mend holes in socks, but I’ll gladly sew a button back on or fix a zipper.
- Keep gifts simple. You don’t need to give your kids tons of toys (take a look at the downside of having too many toys). You can also choose to give the gift of experiences instead.
- Rotate toys. It’s natural for your child to grow bored of her current toys, but don’t assume you have to supply her with a new batch. Instead, rotate her current toys: put away a few she’s not really playing with, leaving the rest for her to use. When she gets tired of those, bring out the stored toys and put away the ones she just grew tired of.
Want even more book ideas? Join my newsletter and download my Read Aloud Book List! You’ll get hundreds of favorite selections to read aloud with your kids. Get it below—at no cost to you:
Tell me in the comments: have you read these Earth Day books? How do you and your family help protect the environment?