Today is Earth Day, the world’s largest day for celebrating and practicing environmental protection. However, there’s a different energy compared to previous years. Typically we would encourage cleaning up a local park with friends, volunteering with eco-minded organizations, or even attending a march for science. However, this year we’re celebrating Earth Day mostly from our homes. While we won’t be celebrating with as many people as we have in the past, the core importances of Earth Day are still intact: sustainability, environmental protection, and education. No matter where we are, they’re principles we can celebrate together.
With those principles in mind, the team at Sawyer is taking the time to teach habits like recycling, re-using, and minimizing waste. We’re constantly working to decrease our own footprints and to practice eco-habits with our little ones. Check out the Earth Day projects that are helping us along that journey.
1. Regrow plants!
Don’t toss out those green onions! Did you know there are so many vegetables that you can re-grow from simply their scraps? No garden necessary.
These are our favorites to re-grow for a few reasons. First, it couldn’t be easier. All you need is the bottom inch of the root and you’re good to go. Second, they grow so fast! After putting them in a glass with a little water (and root size down), you’ll see these magically sprouting again within days! Your little one will be in awe by the magic. Make sure you change the water once a week and they’ll be full-grown in no time.
Herbs are easy to grow too!
Basil, mint, and cilantro require very few steps as well. Make sure there’s about 2-3 inches of stem left and place upright. Here’s the catch — when the new roots begin to sprout, you’ll need to transfer the herbs into a pot of soil so they can begin to flourish. An extra step, but we always struggle to find basil at the store so it’s well worth it for us.
Make your home feel like a salad bar with the easy steps to regrow romaine lettuce. Leave the stump of lettuce in a bowl and fill the water roughly halfway. You’ll see the leaves regrown after a few days, and when that happens transfer the stump into some soil.
2. Get crafty with containers.
Some of our favorite Earth Day craft projects come from supplies we guarantee you have in your home!
Have you ever wanted a garden full of diverse herbs? Instead of buying planters, take the eco-friendly approach by planting in egg containers. Not only is it better for the environment, it’s also the most affordable approach! Your little one will love to help out.
Step 1: Save those egg cartons! Odds are you were probably going to throw them away, so you’re already taking a great step in your sustainable journey!
Step 2: As you get this project ready, the big thing to consider is drainage. We like to cut off the carton lid and place it under the bottom. Poke a hole in the bottom of each egg cup so any moisture will drain out.
Step 3: Fill each egg cup with potting soil and place seeds in the proper depth. Water the container to get the soil moist — but not too wet!
Step 4: It’s important to keep the seeds warm so they can germinate. Put the carton in a plastic vegetable bag (this can be one you got from the grocery store. Reuse, reuse, reuse!). Once they sprout, remove the plastic and set the container in a sunny spot until they’re ready to be switched to a bigger pot.
Step 5: Let your little ones customize the carton by labeling each section. We like to write on popsicle sticks, too.
If you’ve ever ordered any kind of takeout food, chances are you either tossed the old container or added it to your ever-growing collection of them. Let’s be honest, we all have that one cabinet that’s home to a community of tupperware – if yours is remotely organized...we’re impressed. Instead of adding to the abyss, why not turn it into a plant project?
Step 1: Give the container a good cleaning! We don’t want any food scraps lingering.
Step 2: Make sure you put a small hole in the bottom for drainage.
Step 3: Fill with soil then plant! It’s best to stick with plants that require little root space, such as single herb plants, or cacti and aloe.
Water bottle vase
Have you ever thought about turning an old water bottle into an ornamental vase? Well, now is the perfect time! This is one of our favorite craft projects, and doesn't require as many materials as you might think. All you need is a plastic bottle, scissors, air dry clay, a rolling pin (or wooden muddler), and a marker! You'll be handling scissors a bit — so make sure you help your little ones out!
Step 1: Trim your plastic bottle! Have your child show you how short or tall they want their vase to be and have them mark the height with your marker. Then cut the bottle to the desired height with scissors. You’ll want the bottle’s bottom to be the bottom of your vase.
Step 2: Smooth out the top edges or cover them in modeling clay so no one gets poked! (Make sure to recycle the top portion of the plastic and the bottle’s lid)
Step 3: Unwrap your modeling clay and divide into two parts — one should be very small and the other should be big. Set aside the small piece of clay for now, you’ll use this to cover the bottom of the bottle.
Step 4: Gently press the bottle into the small piece of clay to make an impression that will be the perfect size. Once finished, mold this clay around the bottom of your plastic!
Step 5: Next, use a rolling pin to make your big piece of clay long and skinny. Make sure your clay is long and tall enough to totally cover your bottle!
Step 6: Cover your plastic bottle in clay. It’s fun to wrap the clay around the bottle. Make sure to press the clay against the bottle so it sticks better!
Step 7: Now the really fun part...decorate your bottle! Use the top of your marker to make repetitive flower-like shapes.
Step 8: Then let it dry! It's best to give it a few hours
If you have watercolors or other markers, you can make your project pop even more by giving it some colors. Head outside for a quick nature walk to find flowers that you're allowed to pick and fill your vase! Since you used a water bottle, you'll be able to fill your vase with water and still keep your clay safe and dry.
3. Teach environmental education from home.
We all hope that we’re able to get outside more frequently in the coming weeks and immerse ourselves in the natural environment first-hand. Until then, we’re turning to various professionals from the culinary and education space to teach our little ones about all the ways they can be sustainable. We rounded up a few of our favorite earth day virtual classes for you. It’s never too early to teach good habits!
Join the chefs at Freshmade in the kitchen for a fun and rewarding DIY project. Soup is a great way to use up veggies and herbs in your fridge, creating a delicious no-waste meal that you can eat for any meal or freeze for later if you want. In this class, they'll talk about all the different variations of soup you can make plus extra add-ins they love!
Learn about environmentalism and sustainability first hand with the pros!
Students will be challenged to consider how architects and engineers can use the landscape in a certain area without destroying it. They will be challenged to design an environment and then build a sound structure around that environment!
4. Saving energy is a fun game!
Many of us work hard to be environmentally responsible by recycling and reusing. While those are great practices to instill in our little ones, there are so many other methods we can teach them...most of which are within your home. One of our favorite household games can be used to teach the positive impact of saving energy.
Light switch jar
We’re sure you’ve heard of a “swear” jar. Instead of a jar for bad words, it’s a jar for bad energy habits! When you leave a room with your little ones, it’s up to them to make sure all of the lights are turned off. If you leave any lights on, add something to the jar for anyone they switch off!