“We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children.” This quote by Lester Brown serves as a gentle reminder of how important it is that we involve our children in the relationship between quality of life and quality of the environment.

A recent survey found that Americans could do more to help Mother Earth. “While America currently recycles 34% of its garbage,” the survey found, “75 percent of what we throw away could be recycled.”

The month of April has the potential to highlight inspiration for kids:

  • April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, highlighting that 1 out of 150 people is diagnosed with autism;
  • April 7th is World Health Day 2009, focusing on making hospitals safe in emergencies;
  • April 18th YMCAs across the country will be celebrating Healthy Kids® Day;
  • April 22nd is Earth Day.

Here are some ideas of what you can do with your family:

Teens/Tweens:

  • Volunteer at your local medical facility or health-related nonprofit: Whether visiting patients or participating in a formal volunteer program, children and their families can be helped during difficult times. Ronald McDonald House Charities details 30 ways to volunteer during the month of April.
  • Involve your classmates & teachers: Ask if lesson plans related to health can be incorporated into your school day. Site content from the United Nations, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Scholastic are good places to start.
  • Plan a contest: From recycling treasure hunts to building a life-sized sculpture out of recycled materials, there are a variety of fun & rewarding awareness campaigns that can be leveraged. Envirolink offers a variety of kid-friendly ideas.
  • Attend an event: There are planned events across the country to raise awareness for Earth Day.
  • Design a nature challenge: Nature Challenge for Kids has a series of challenges that help create an understanding of our relationship to the environment.
  • Learn about the relationship between your school and environmental / health issues: The Green Squad offers an online challenge, which can be leveraged for most ages.
  • Healthy Begins Here Video Contest: Did you know there are at least 63 toxic chemicals within a house? These “hot spots” of toxicity and pollution don’t have to exist. What would you do to get rid of them?

Younger Siblings:

  • Teaching games: Kids Planet allows the kids to be defenders of wildlife while they travel through the web of life learning about animals and habitat.
  • Crafts: Kaboose offers a variety of kid-friendly activities in honor of earth day.

Parents & Teachers:

  • Activities: EcoKids offers a fleet of lesson plans and printable handouts / activity sheets. Though specifically tailored to the Ontario Elementary Science & Technology curriculum, it is a great resource for all.
  • 50 things a family can do to stop global warming: Require a little effort/investment, but can help you save money.

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will never sit in” is not a new saying, rather it is a Greek Proverb. Something as simple as planting a tree can have a major collective impact on our planet. What will you and your kids do this month?

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