By TMoM Team Member Laura Simon
I should preface this by warning you that I’m the last person anyone would ever suggest to write a post about celebrating Earth Day, and it’s not because I don’t care about teaching my kids to value and care for our home.
It’s because I have a deep, simmering dislike for all the manufactured holidays that make a mom’s life even more difficult: decorated mailboxes for Valentine’s Day, leprechaun tracks through the bathroom for St. Patrick’s Day, elderly make-up for the 100th day of school…all these things suck the life out of me.
Not that I don’t appreciate the moms who do this sort of thing. I think it’s amazing. I just don’t want to be on the hook to do the same.
So when someone mentions Earth Day, I sigh deeply and wonder whether or not I’ll have to dress my children as giant globes or create a Prius from the contents of our recycle bin. The good news is…I don’t.
If Earth Day is designed to mobilize us toward action to protect our planet, the best thing we as parents can do is…go be in it. If we can teach our kids to appreciate time in nature, they’ll want to make decisions that protect it. So without further ado, here are some practical ways that slacker moms – like me – can celebrate Earth Day with their kids.
- Plant flowers. Yes, you can make this into a whole thing, but you don’t have to. Get a few pots, some potting soil, and some flowers. Make sure the shower is open when you get finished (because, kids and dirt). If you’re feeling really motivated, talk about pollinators and bees, or watch a video about the process. But you don’t have to do that. You can just enjoy the color and beauty the flowers bring to your life. Here’s a great TMoM blog on Gardening with Kids that can get you started!
- Go for a nature walk. Reynolda Gardens in Winston, Paul J Ceiner Botanical Garden in Kernersville, and Price Park in Greensboro stand out, but there are countless little gems throughout the Triad if you want to get outside without climbing a mountain. Need more inspiration? Check out the TMoM’s directory of Parks, Playgrounds, and Walking Trails!
- Pick up trash at your neighborhood park. If your kids are like mine, they’ll step over at least five pieces of trash that they threw down in their own room in order to climb into the car and enthusiastically pick up someone else’s trash at their favorite playground. As maddening as this is, I like to tell myself that I’m creating future public servants. Slovenly future public servants, but I’ll take what I can get.
- Hit up a state park. This one checks two boxes: workout for the day and environmental awareness. But seriously, take it from an Ohio girl: we are lucky to have incredible state parts within an hour’s drive from the Triad. Most people don’t have the ability to go climb a mountain, play in a waterfall pool, and be home by dinner. There’s nothing quite like an afternoon in nature to make you appreciate that these spaces are set aside and largely protected from development. Click HERE for more waterholes to check out, or HERE for local hiking trails!
- Go for a bike ride. Seriously, bikes don’t emit any toxic gases at all, unless you feed your kids baked beans before you leave. Unfortunately, our city isn’t set up for commuting by bike, but you might be able to brainstorm ways that you could swap muscle power for electric power in everyday life. For a serious bike ride, check out my past post about the Virginia Creeper Trail.
- Buy local produce from a farm or Triad Farmer’s Market. Again, we have great options for this here in the Triad. Strawberry season starts at the end of April (click HERE for local pick-your-own farms), local cheese and dairy happens year-round, and while you’re at it, we have great local wine and beer (click HERE for a list of Triad area wineries!). For the parents, of course.
All that to say, Earth Day is doable for moms – even moms like me who don’t have a single Dr. Seuss Day left in their tanks. You might burn some calories, have good conversation, listen to some whining, and end your day with pretty flowers on your porch. And if you still have energy after that, well, go ahead and start building that recycled Prius.
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