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Earth Day Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Earth Day is a global holiday celebrated every year in April. In this lesson, learn about the history of this holiday and discover how you can celebrate Earth Day every year!

Set the Date!

Mark your calendar! April 22 is a very important date each year. No, it's not someone's birthday--it's Earth Day! This is a day celebrated throughout the entire world to focus on taking care of our unique and fragile planet. On April 22, many activities occur all over the globe dedicated to making the Earth a cleaner place to live.

Our planet is special and should be treated with great care.
Planet Earth

History of the Holiday

So how did this Earth Day extravaganza come to be? The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970. A senator named Gaylord Nelson was very concerned about the environment and how it was being destroyed by people and industries. He felt that a day should be dedicated to focusing on how to take care of the Earth. On the first Earth Day, over 20 million people around the country participated in environment-focused activities. For example, many participated in demonstrations, where they marched at government buildings and demanded that city and state leaders do more to help protect the Earth.

How Do People Protect the Earth?

Leaders like Senator Nelson worked to pass laws that forced businesses and industries to clean up their practices. Those are major changes that can help protect our planet in a big way. Since 1970, businesses have become involved meaningful ways. Now, many companies sponsor groups to participate in litter cleanups on Earth Day. Litter is trash that people do not throw away in the proper areas like trash cans or recycle bins.

Picking up litter on road sides is a great way to help clean up our planet.
Picking up litter

Another popular activity is to plant trees in honor of Earth Day. How does this help protect the Earth? Every year, millions of trees are cut down due to the development of houses and buildings. And you probably know that trees produce oxygen, which is kind of a big deal since that is what humans breathe! Planting trees helps replace the ones that have been cut down and provides more clean air for generations to come.

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