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Celebrate Earth Day at home with these kid-friendly activities

From picking up trash to understanding the water cycle, there are lots of ways to celebrate Earth Day. Check out these two simple and fun educational activities from Purdue Extension educators that you can use to inspire kids to care for the environment!

DIY Grass Heads

Learn about growing plants and germination with Andrew Westfall, Purdue Extension agriculture and natural resources educator in White County.

“Inside every grass seed is an embryo that contains a blade of grass. A seed coat protects this embryo, which is also being supplied temporary food by a food store inside the seed. The seed will remain dormant until it runs out of food or until the right conditions are met,” explains Westfall. “Once the seed takes in water, the embryo’s cells enlarge and the seed coat breaks open, a process called germination.”

See first-hand how germination works by growing a grass head at home!

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Items needed

  • Stockings or leggings or pantyhose
  • Small compostable seed starter pots
  • Grass seed
  • Potting soil
  • A small garden trowel or measuring cup
  • Waterproof glue
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Construction paper
  • Scrap fabric
  • “googly” eyes

Instructions

  1. Cut stocking about 6 inches in length.
  2. Put a pinch of grass seed in the bottom of the stocking.
  3. Put one cup of potting soil on top of the grass seed.
  4. Tie the stocking, turn it upside down, and place it in the starter pot.
  5. Decorate the pantyhose and starter pot using markers, scissors, glue, “googly” eyes, construction paper, and scrap fabric.
  6. Once the glue is dry, water the stocking.
  7. Keep moist and wait 1-2 weeks for grass or “hair” to grow out of the stocking.
DIY Rain Stick

“Recycling helps reduce waste sent to landfills while conserving resources like water. It also reduces pollution, saves energy and can create new jobs. Get creative with recycling this Earth Day by making a rain stick! Shake it and dance on a rainy day to stay active and healthy,” shares Ody Ekwonwa, Purdue Extension health and human sciences educator in Monroe County.

Items needed

  • Toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls
  • Masking tape
  • Seeds, beans or rice of your choice
  • Aluminum foil
  • Markers and stickers (optional)

Instructions

  1. Using the masking tape, tape one end of the roll closed.
  2. Cut off some aluminum foil that is about 1.5 times the length of your tube and 6 inches wide. Crunch it up into a long, thin piece and coil it up so that it looks like a spring. Add into the tube.
  3. Add your choice of seeds, beans, or rice about 1/3 full into the roll. You can play with the sound and add more or less if you’d like.
  4. Tape off the other end of the roll with masking tape.
  5. Using markers and stickers, decorate your rain stick.

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