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Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22. The message of Earth Day is one of stewardship: we are all responsible for caring for Mother Earth. Here are lots of fun ways to celebrate this special day!

Make a Plant Person!

You can make a funny "person" with a head of gorgeous green "hair!" Your plant person can sit in a small plastic lid or plate in your kitchen and you can watch his hair grow each day!

You'll need an old nylon stocking, some soil, 2 tablespoons of grass seed, thumbtacks and a twist tie.

First, cut the foot from the stocking and pour the grass seed into the toe. Add soil until the foot is full. Now tie the stocking tightly at the opening using the twist tie, and place it on the plate with the twist-tie side down.

Push in thumbtacks or cloves to make eyes, nose and mouth- or you can use fabric scraps or permanent ink markers. Soak your plant person with water and place in a sunny spot. Moisten it every day. When the "hair" grows, you can cut it in funny haircuts with scissors!

Recyled Crayons

Create uniquely shaped, multi-colored crayons by recycling crayon stubs!

You'll need to peel all of the paper off of the crayons, and place them in a non-stick muffin pan, filling to � inch from the top of the muffin molds.

Put the muffin tin in 250 degree oven. Turn off the heat when crayons have melted, but do not remove the tin! Allow the oven to cool completely before removing crayons. For the best rainbow effect, do not move the muffin tray until crayons have cooled completely .If colors mix while hot they become one muddy color instead. Tap the bottom of the tin to make the crayons pop out.

If you'd like solid color crayons, then place only 1 color in each muffin cup.

Juice Box Boat

Why not make a bathtime or outdoor toy out of that empty juice box? Its easy and fun!

Just lie the juice box on its side and cut a small "x" in what is now the top. Insert the straw. Now cut a triangle sail out of card stock or construction paper. Punch a hole at the top and bottom of one side of the triangle.

Now decorate with markers or stickers and thread the sail onto the straw.

Recycled Box Village

Don't throw away those cardboard boxes! There are so many things you can make with them!

Here's just one idea- Make your own box village! Use assorted cracker and cereal boxes and empty milk cartons. An adult should use a craft knife to cut off the bottom of the boxes. Then, make siding for each "building" by tracing around the sides onto a sheet of construction paper.

Cut out the individual pieces and glue them onto the cartons. For the roof, cut a paper triangle from a contrasting color. Fold the roof over the top of the carton and glue it in place.

Draw on windows and doors with markers and cut out the openings with a craft knife. Finally, decorate the buildings by gluing on paper of fabric scraps or coloring with markers.

Arrange your village!

Grow an Orange Tree!

Grow your very own orange tree with the seeds from that orange you just ate for lunch! Save those seeds and let them dry for a few days.

Fill a small pot with rich, moist soil and plant your seeds in it. Now put a few craft or Popsicle sticks around the edge of the pot and cover with plastic wrap to create a "greenhouse!" Make sure to put your pot in the sun and to keep the soil moist.

Soon, you'll see a stem poke through and eventually leaves will sprout! When your plant has leaves, remove the plastic wrap and your tree will continue to grow! Maybe someday, it will actually grow its own oranges!

Invent an Insect

What does a doodlebug look like? Its all in your imagination when you create your own crazy critters! This is a great craft for kids of all ages, and you probably have everything you need in your house right now!

You'll need an empty egg carton, scissors, glue, and decorations.

Cut 3 linked sections out of the egg carton to make an insect body. Then glue on the insect's other parts using miscellaneous items you find around the house! Use traditional item like pipe cleaners, pom-poms, googly eyes and yarn. You can also use some more unusual items such as toothpicks, candy, pasta shapes, straws, packing peanuts, buttons, peanuts, etc. Be creative!

Lunch Bag Kite

Make your own paper bag kite with your recycled lunch bag and some string! Kites were invented 3,000 years ago in China, and they spread around the world from there. Today, kites and kite festivals are a part of the traditions in many countries and are a wonderful outdoor activity!

To make your lunch bag kite, cut 5 1-yard long pieces of yarn or string. Take 4 of the pieces and tape or staple each one to a corner of the open side of the bag. Tie the loose ends of the 4 pieces together. Tie the 5th piece (for holding the kite) to the end of the 4 knotted strings.

Decorate your bag with crayons or markers and by gluing on ribbon, wrapping paper, or tissue paper. Attach a streamer to the bag's bottom and run with it!

Butterfly Garden

Butterflies appear in gardens where there are lots of good plants that they can live and feed on. Many of these are wild plants and flowers that are easy to grow!

To plant your butterfly garden select seeds and plants that are known to attract butterflies, keeping in mind what you would like to see in your garden. One plant that is a known butterfly attractant is the Butterfly Weed! In fact, they are so well-loved by butterflies that they were named for them! Butterfly Weed is a relative of milkweed that has bright orange flowers in the summer.

Some other flowers to plant: lantana, zinnias, day lilies, phlox, lavender, and thistle. Once your garden had bloomed, and is full of butterflies, you can make a net to catch your new friends in!

Butterfly Net

Examine beautiful butterflies and other small creatures with help from this easy to make net!

You'll need a plastic mesh bag (like the kind you buy onions in!), pipe cleaners, a cardboard tube (like the one from a roll of wrapping paper), scissors, tape and markers.

First, cut the clamp off the end of your mesh bag. (leave 1 end clamped) Next, make a rim for your net by twisting together the ends of 2 pipe cleaners. Thread the pipe cleaners in and out along the top edge of the mesh bag. When you're finished, secure the ends of the rim with a piece of tape.

For a handle, use your cardboard tube and cut a slit on each side. Then insert the rim of th enet into the slits and tape it in place. Decorate your handle with markers, crayons or stickers! Now you're ready to go out and explore!

When you find a butterfly, examine it quickly, and then draw it. After you let the butterfly go, you can look it up in a book, or on the internet, to see what kind it was. You can even make your own butterfly book!

Turn Trash In To Treasure

Reusing recyclable materials has never been as much fun as now, because its true- one person's trash is another person's treasure! Collect a variety of items such as egg cartons, plastic containers, styrofoam packing pieces, six-pack rings, etc. Now get some of your standard craft materials, like glue, scissors, yarn, paint, pom-poms and wiggle eyes. See how many "treasures" you can create out of "trash!" Use your imagination and have fun!

Recycled Wind Sock

Here is a fun way to utilize "trash" to make a festive craft that also reminds us to appreciate the clean, fresh air that we breathe.

You'll need:
Plastic tub with lid (butter, whip cream)
Old party streamers/Crepe paper
Old Ribbon
Used, clean plastic bags

Here's what you do:
- Cut the bottom of the plastic tub out, and cut the center out of the lid, leaving the outer ring.
- Cut 3-foot streamers from the crepe paper, ribbon and plastic bags. Arrange them around the rim of the tub so that they hang down over the edge. (You can also attach bells or metal washers to the ends of the ribbon for sound effects!)
- Snap the lid over the rim of the tub to hold the streamers in place.
- Tuck the 2 ends of a piece of ribbon under the lid, so that it forms a hanger.
- Hang your wind sock in the breeze!

A Jump Start Garden

See nature in action by planting your own spring garden now (inside!) and you can transplant your seedlings outside when the weather gets a little warmer!

You'll need to select a container to start your garden in- how about an egg carton, a milk carton, or a plastic butter tub? You'll have a great garden container- and you'll be recycling!

Put potting soil in your container, and plant seeds in each. Place container in a sunny spot, and keep soil moist. Once the baby plant sprouts and grows two sets of leaves, it is officially a seedling. When it gets warm, you can start putting your seedlings outside for an hour or two, so they get used to it. Finally, you can transplant your new plants into your outdoor garden!

Veggie Flower Snack!

Now that you've grown a real flower, here's a fun flower to make that you can actually eat! Just take a clean celery stalk, trim the ends and cut in half. Spread peanut butter in the inside of the celery stalk. This is your stem.

Now cut a thick slice of cucumber, and about 8 carrot rounds. The cucumber will be the flower's center, and the carrots will be the petals. Arrange the "flower" on a plate, and position the "stem." Finally, take 2 lettuce leaves to use for your leaves. A beautiful, healthy snack!

Recommended Earth Day books:

"The Great Trash Bash" by Loreen Leedy
"The Earth And I" by Frank Asch
"The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss
"Dinosaurs to The Rescue" by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown

Let Me Help (sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star)

Reduce, recycle and reuse,
Be careful with the things you choose.
Don't leave lights and water on,
Pick up litter when you're done.
Keep the air and water clean,
Help our earth stay strong and green!

Talking Earth Puppet

If our earth could talk, what do you think it would tell us?

Here's what you'll need:
� Heavy paper plate, or 3 thin ones glued together
� White, brown and black construction paper
� Paper towel tube
� Large Rubber Band
� Blue Yarn
� 2 paper fasteners (the metal kind like in binders)
� Blue paint
� Glue, scissors

Here's what you do:
- Paint the bottom of the plate blue and let it dry.
- Cut "landforms" from the brown paper and glue them on to make the Earth. Cut eyes from the white and black paper and glue them in place.
- Poke the fasteners through the bottom of the plate, far enough apart so that the rubber band will hook over each fastener to form the mouth of the puppet.
- Tie a long piece of blue yarn to the bottom of the rubber band. Cut two slits in the top of the paper towel tube and slide the bottom of the Earth puppet into the slits fo that you have a holder for the puppet.
- Drop the mouth string through the tube so that it hangs out the other end. TO move the puppet's mouth pull gently on the end of the yarn.
- Let your puppet tell others how to love and care for our Earth.

Recommended Earth Day sites:

Visit the National Institute of Environmental Health Science's Kid's Page! Lots of educational and environmentally-friendly things to do

Eco-Kids is another great environmental site for kids with lots to learn and do.

Lorax's Save The Trees Game. This Dr. Seuss game teaches kids to be aware of their environment.

Environmental Organizations

Here are just a few organizations you can contact for educational materials and information on preservation of the Earth and its animals:

The Nature Conservancy
1815 North Lynn Street
Arlington, VA 22209
Adopt An Acre program to preserve an acre of tropical rain forest

American Forests
Sharing in a Better World
PO Box 2000
Washington, DC 20013
800-545-TREE (8733)
Tree planting program

Save the Manatee Club
Adopt a Manatee Program
500 North Maitland Avenue
Maitland, FL 32751
800-432-JOIN (5646)
Adoption of endangered manatees

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