Encourage your kids to learn about recycling, conservation, and our environment with these 15 hands-on Earth Day STEM activities!
Earth Day is a great time to reflect on different ways that we can help the environment. You probably already do a few things to conserve – like turning off lights when you leave the room and not leaving the faucet running when you brush your teeth. Or maybe your family has weekly recycling pick up (or a stack of boxes in the garage that we need to drop off, eh hem…).
Many of us grew up making small efforts to conserve, and now we can pass those good habits on to our kids – just by continuing to model these behaviors.
Earth Day STEM Activities
It is so important for us to ensure that we are teaching our kids about protecting the environment and that they can contribute, even at a young age! We can encourage environmental investigations into recycling, pollution, conservation, and energy through hands-on activities.
The following are our favorite Earth Day STEM activities that are perfect for April – or anytime you want to learn about the earth!
Don’t miss our garbage and recycling unit, too!
1. What is a Carbon Footprint?
The Carbon Footprint Activity from Kitchen Counter Chronicles. Brainstorm and investigate what a carbon footprint is, and a few things that we can do every day to reduce ours.
2. Backyard Biodiversity
Build a DIY Insect Hotel from Little Bins for Little Hands. Find out about biodiversity, and build an outdoor home for insects right in your own backyard! A great activity for springtime that you can continue to observe year-round.
3. Potato Battery
Build a Potato Battery from Steam Powered Family. This is a great time to learn all about electricity. Start with creating circuits from the foods we eat by engineering this cool potato battery!
4. Dirt Circuit
Dirt Battery Experiment from Teach Beside Me. Don’t stop at potatoes – you can build a LED light up circuit in dirt. Karyn shows us how to create one in an ice cube tray, but you can do this right in the soil of your yard, too!
5. Engineer a Bridge out of Recycled Materials
DIY Recycled Suspension Bridge from Left Brain Craft Brain is a great recycled-materials engineering challenge. Use Left Brain Craft Brain’s guide or take a look at suspension bridges around the world and gather more materials to build your own unique model.
6. The World of Fractions
Earth Fractions from Teach Beside Me is a fun Earth-themed math activity that will have your kids exploring fractions. A great printable to accompany your math lesson or use it as a puzzle for little ones first learning about our Earth.
7. Earth Balloon Experiment
Experiment with Balloons – Earth Day Science from Carrots Are Orange is a twist on a baking soda and vinegar experiment. Learn all about the importance of carbon dioxide, then observe how a chemical reaction can inflate a balloon with CO2.
8. Explore Solar Power
Exploring Solar Heat from Steam Powered Family. Experiment with the process of convection by building a chimney that uses the sun’s power to heat the air inside. You can do this with or without a solar powered fan, too!
9. Make Recycled Paper
How to Make Recycled Paper at Home from Schooling A Monkey. This is such a great, hands-on way to learn about the process of recycling. Your kids can collect their old worksheets, paper crafts, or drawings and create a cool, new type of paper with a different texture.
10. Recycled Materials Challenge
Mystery Bag STEM Building Challenge from Buggy and Buddy. I LOVE this type of open-ended STEM challenge. Collect all sorts of recycled materials and see what you can engineer! Buggy and Buddy share free printable cards with fantastic challenges that will get your kids thinking.
11. Grow Your Own Seedlings
Planting Seeds in Eggshells from Little Bins for Little Hands is a great activity for kid interested in planting and growing their own flowers or vegetables and reducing their carbon footprint!
For more activities, don’t miss our introduction to plants unit!
12. Shrinking Plastic Experiment
Plastic Shrinking Experiment from Left Brain Craft Brain. Experiment with different types of cups to see how heat affects different types of plastics. At the end of this experiment, you will have recycled decorations for your Earth Day celebration!
13. DIY Recycled Robot
Recycled Robots from Creative Family Fun. Another great open-ended recycling project that you can create with any materials you find around the house. Take this project to the next level by flipping your cans upside down, poking a few small holes in the bottom, filling with soil, and sprouting some seedlings or grass for hair!
14. Learn About Pollution
Teaching Kids About Pollution from Natural Beach Living. This is a great, visual representation that will help your kids understand what pollution is and how it affects our the life in our oceans, lakes, and ponds. An excellent hands-on lesson that will encourage powerful observations from your kids!
15. Earth Day Printable Activities
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Science Unit from A Dab of Glue Will Do. If you’re ready to dig into Earth Day with a complete set of weekly lesson plans, this pack has you covered. Find printable activities, powerpoint, crafts, and more from A Dab of Glue Will Do.
Where to go next…
- Interactive Earth Day Writing Prompts
- Introduction to Plants Unit
- Electricity Unit for Kids