Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Earth Day, Outdoor Activities, Science Activities | 4 comments

In preparation for Earth Day, my boys and I started talking about what we could do as a family to help take care of our planet. We started by investigating where our trash and recycling goes after it is collected by the garbage and recycling trucks. I explained to my bugs that when we throw something in the garbage, it doesn’t just disappear; our garbage ends up in a land fill, which is a massive hole filled with trash and covered up with dirt… YICK! This is why we need to be accountable for what we throw away; there is no such thing as away!

When we recycle things like plastics, glass, paper, and cans, they can be made into new materials. We have been teaching our boys about what can be recycled by making them active participants in the utilization of our blue bins. Sid the Science Kid has a great episode on recycling called Reused Robot, as does The Magic School Bus, to get your little ones thinking about the importance of recycling!


Decomposing Experiment

To help my bugs understand why recycling is important, I decided to conduct an easy experiment with them so they could learn which items break down easily to become part of the earth, and which materials take a long time to decompose or do not decompose at all.


  • apple core
  • paper towel
  • orange peel
  • aluminum lid
  • styrofoam
  • Cheerios
  • empty plastic fruit snack pouch
  • marking sticks
  • soil
  • small shovels

First, I had my boys predict which materials would break down easily in the soil and which would not. Then we went into the backyard and ‘planted’ the garbage in a small area, making sure to leave markers so we would know where to dig them up again.

Earth Day decomposing experiment 1  Earth Day decomposing experiment 2

Earth Day decomposing experiment 3  Earth Day decomposing experiment 4

In a month or so, we are going to exhume the refuse to see which items show signs of breaking down, and which ones stayed the same.


Other Simple Earth Day Activities


Clean up

  • When the boys were finished burying the materials, I had them look around the yard and hunt for any garbage that would be bad for our soil.

Walk or Ride Your Bike

  • In addition to this simple experiment, the boys and I also talked about how cars and other vehicles cause air pollution. I asked the boys how they thought we could get from one place to another without polluting the air we breath. The boys decided that a good way was to walk or ride our bikes, so we took advantage of this lovely day and walked (M rode his bike) to the park to play.

Helping and Respecting Animals

  • Earlier in the year, the boys and I made a large bird feeder, which our little birds and robins are really loving right now! Planting certain trees, flowers and plants to attract native birds and pollinators is also a great way to teach children about helping and respecting animals and nature.

Goal Setting

  • My bugs and I made personal goals to reduce the amount of writing/craft paper and plastic bags we use. I have also been inspired to create a composter for our yard to help cut down on our overall waste…we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out!

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Thanks for stopping by!