How to Get Outside for Earth Day
Today is Earth Day! It’s the day we celebrate our planet, all the plants and animals on it, and think about how we can better take care of nature. The day can be used for volunteering, or getting out into nature. Going to a park or hiking on a trail can be a great option, but not everyone has that option. Here are some activities you can do to get outside in your own backyard and celebrate Earth Day!
Walk through your backyard slowly, trying to be as quiet as you comfortably can. Look up, and down, and all around. Look for all things big and little. You might see trees and bushes, but also little bugs and tiny flowers you’ve never noticed before. Look for what’s moving in your garden.
If you find a spot that interests you, sit with it for a bit. How does a single spot change over the course of a couple minutes? How many birds and bugs come through?
After (or instead of) looking around, sit in a comfortable spot somewhere and close your eyes. Listen to all the sounds around you. It doesn’t have to only be nature sounds either. You might hear birds, but also a train going past nearby. Can you separate the sounds of different birds? How does listening make you feel?
Have a Picnic
Science says that being outside can make us happier and healthier, and there are a lot of activities that you can take outdoors. When it’s in your backyard, any meal can be a picnic. Bring a blanket, lay it in a nice spot, and try having lunch outside.
Play with Dirt
Sometimes making a mess can be good! Ask the responsible adult in your life if there are any projects you can help with in the backyard. Or if there are any projects you could start together. There are so many plants you can grow and so many possibilities in a handful of dirt.
Catch Some Bugs
You might’ve already done this inside your house when a bug gets in, but it can also be fun to catch bugs when you’ve gotten out. Take a clear, small cup or jar and a piece of paper with small air holes poked in it, and see if you can catch some bugs. Take the opportunity to look at them closely and learn about them. Remember to be very careful and gentle with them, and release them back where you found them.
After a long day of being outside, you might find that you don’t wanna go back inside yet. The good news is that there are still things you can do. At sunset you can lay back on your blanket or the grass and watch the colors of the sky change. How many different colors do you see? How are the clouds moving or are there any clouds at all?
After the sun starts to get low in the sky, you’ll see the moon and stars starting to come out for the night. Try to count the stars as they appear, and see if you recognize any of the constellations.
This can also be an opportunity to use the listening from earlier. Do you hear different birds or bugs? Think about how your own backyard has changed over the course of the day.
Whether you’re spending the whole day outside, or 10 minutes, it can make a difference in your day. Getting out in nature is always worth the time. Remember to use plenty of sunscreen, and have a great Earth Day!