Monday, April 25, 2011

Plant a Garden, Pack a Picnic: An Earth Day Family To-Do List

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planting a garden

Plant a garden or a tree as a family! Credit: Getty Images

Tired of trying to explain global warming and begging your kids to turn off the lights to conserve energy? Why not try celebrating Earth Day by having some family fun?

Whether you're looking to celebrate your family's eco-consciousness or seeking ideas to help keep the planet green and clean, our experts offer some ideas for reducing your family's carbon footprint, painlessly.

"Hug it Forward" To Build Schools
"Hug It Forward" has added environmental value to embracing your kid. In honor of Earth Day, the non-profit organization will donate $1 for every hug to build a school in Guatemala. Already, seven school projects have been completed since 2009 and three more are under construction. Just register your kid's hugs on the website and a Google map will follow the hugs as they are "hugged forward" from person to person across the globe.

Picnic for the Planet
Join families across the world who are packing up picnic baskets and heading outside to their favorite spots to enjoy good food and the company of other families celebrating Earth Day. Just log in to "Picnic for the Planet" and find families in your area to gather together and celebrate "the planet we live on, the food it provides and the people we share it with."

Show Your Green Moves
Grab your kids and head to the family recycling bin where you can teach them to do squats while holding the bin. Or, refill milk jugs with water as you and your kids do bicep curls, says Stephanie Mansour, CEO of Step It Up with Steph, who has turned fitness into a green routine. Pull out the yoga mat and do tree poses, or head with the kids to the mall and let them pick out a reusable stainless steel water bottle in their favorite color.

Make it a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Rally the troops -- your neighbors, friend's kids and the other little kids on the block and head out on an Earth Day cleanup mission, recommends Lead the troops to the soccer and baseball fields to roundup cans and bottles for recycling. Or, plant a neighborhood garden with the idea of donating the produce to a local homeless shelter later in the summer. Then capture the neighborhood eco-campaign on camera, which will create a lasting imprint of the fact that one small group of kids (and their parents) can make a difference.

Dive Deep for Good
You don't have to rent wet suits, flippers and oxygen tanks for the whole family to participate in the Professional Association of Diving Instructors "Dive for Earth Day," to increase awareness of and raise funds for protecting the world's oceans and support underwater and shoreline cleanup efforts. Just submit a video showcasing your family's favorite do-good ocean life experience and a short essay about how you are making a positive impact on the aquatic environment. Winners receive a $5,000 grand prize, which is quickly handed over as a donation to diving association, who are promoting awareness of the environment.

Become Recycling Fashionistas
Teach your kids what it means to live sustainably, by "repurposing" their wardrobes, Lynda Fassa, founder of, tells ParentDish. Team up with neighborhood families with kids of varying ages and hold a community clothing swap. Wash and arrange clothes by size and gender and invite participants to do the same. Arm everyone with 10 tickets to choose whatever they like. Donate the rest to Goodwill.

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