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Do you know how you’ll be celebrating Earth Day this month? Earth Day is a nice reminder to slow down and appreciate our natural surroundings. However, don’t wait until April 22nd to celebrate our planet and all it provides. The entire month of April is (unofficially) considered to be Earth Month since we celebrate Earth Day, Arbor Day and World Heritage Day during this time.
This Earth Month our family is opting into a couple of activities that we can do together to promote environmental awareness and eco-conscious habits that can be practiced all year long. Here are eight simple tips and activities that all Raleigh area families can enjoy this Earth Month.
Eight Fun & Simple Family Activities to Celebrate Earth Month in Raleigh
- Visit Particle Falls Raleigh
Show your kids what the air quality actually looks here at home by taking them to the new Particle Falls display that runs until April 23rd. Particle Falls is an animated, colorful light projection that reflects real-time air quality in Downtown Raleigh. This new art installation designed by artist and scientist Andrea Polli allows visitors to look at the changing particle pollution in our air. Every evening beginning at dusk visitors can view Particle Falls on the building across the street from the Raleigh Times Bar at 14 E. Hargett Street. Families can take part in on-site demonstrations and explanations offered on Thursdays – Saturdays at dusk by volunteers from Clean Air Carolina and other participating organizations.
I had the opportunity to visit Particle Falls on opening night and was enamored by the beautiful colors and patterns running down the wall, but as the projection changed during the event it reflected the subtle changes in the particles we were breathing just within that evening. I encourage families to visit Particle Falls on more than one occasion to view the real-time changing patterns in the projection. Before you head down to Particle Falls have your kids visit Clean Air Carolina’s Google Maps Monitor that is linked to the Particle Falls air-quality reader to view Downtown Raleigh’s air-quality reading. Visiting Particle Falls can begin to teach our children to be knowledgeable of what they are breathing in and the frequent changes in our air quality.
- Plan a Park Exploration
Living in the Triangle we have access to so many gorgeous parks, trails, gardens, and playgrounds. Each venue offering something very different and covered with a variety of plant life and trees. Encourage your kids to go beyond the playground (supervised, of course) and explore the natural settings on the trail looking for different leaves, insects, bird nests, etc. Help them to understand that the parks and playgrounds are also homes to animals, plant life and insects and as kids, they can play a big part in helping to keep these homes in tip-top shape.
- Reduce Your Car’s Gas Emissions with E15 Gasoline
As moms, we live in a busy time carting kids back and forth to school, practices, birthday parties, playdates and more. With all that driving did you know that even a small change in what you use at the pump can impact our environment? Recently, I learned that E15 gasoline, an Earth-friendly American-made biofuel is helping drivers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while lowering the cost at the pump. Changing the type of gasoline we put in our car is a conscious daily practice of taking care of the environment that we can begin to teach our children. E15 is now available at your local Sheetz station in Wake County. Visit GetEthanol.com to learn more about E15 and where you can fuel up in the Triangle.
- Power Off Day
This might have to some effort in advance since we rely so much on our gadgets and electricity, but with proper planning, a “Power Off” day just might be fun. Challenge your family to see if they can go an entire day without having to use electricity or tablets, cell phones, etc. A “Power Off” day will take some creativity but could be a fun opportunity to build new eco-friendly habits and strengthen family connections.
- A No-Waste Lunch Challenge
In our house, we’re constantly going through boxes of plastic sandwich baggies. Since my kids are old enough to make their own lunches I will be challenging them to create a “No Waste” lunch. Ditching the baggies and pre-packaged food items and only using our reusable plastic containers. My kids love a competition so it will fun to see who will be able to last through this month long challenge. Bonus points for the kid that remembers to bring their containers back home from school!
- Stroll or Bike to Your Destination
Spring time in April makes for perfect conditions to take a family bike ride or to enjoy a stroll around the neighborhood. In celebration of Earth Month, our family will be working hard to enjoy at least one bike ride or family stroll per week. Even the smallest changes in our lifestyle can make a lasting impact on our environment, our health and our children’s awareness of how to care for their planet. If you have bike enthusiasts in your family then check out the Extra Terrestrial’s Botany by Bicycle event co- sponsored by Clean Air Carolina. This biking experience will be held on Earth Day, April 22nd, and will take riders along the Walnut and Crabtree Creek Trails exploring plants and measuring air quality with Clean Air Carolina, a co-sponsor. A celebration will end at sunset at Particle Falls.
- Host an Earth Day Playdate & Picnic
Let your kids plan a day at the playground or park in honor of Earth Day. In our house, this will be a kid-driven activity where youngsters will invite friends to their favorite park destination, pack a “No Waste” picnic lunch to share, plan a short nature walk or scavenger hunt then enjoy some free time playing games, kicking the ball, etc. Allowing the kids to take the lead in planning their playdate and picnic will hopefully encourage more eco-friendly playdates beyond Earth Day celebrations.
- Meal Planning at the Farmers Market
Farmers Markets are popping up all over town and make for a perfect outing during Earth Month. During our visit to the local Farmers Market, we’ll bring our market basket or re-useable shopping bag and each kid will pick out and purchase (with their own money…teaching them early) the fruit or veggie they’d like to include in our meal each week. Giving my kids an opportunity to learn where their food is grown and shake hands with the farmer or family who harvested our food is an experience that will allow them to appreciate what’s served to them at the table. Plus, a visit to the Farmers Market around town usually comes with a fun activity or entertainment that kids can enjoy while they are shopping.
The simple changes we begin to teach our children about taking care of our planet will create a new generation of environmental stewards. What new habits or activities will you be teaching your family this Earth Month?
Particle Falls Big T-Shirt Giveaway
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Particle Falls Raleigh is celebrating Earth Month with a big family giveaway! They are giving away two Family Packs of Particle Falls T-shirts that will include 3 t-shirts (1 large, 1 medium & 1 small). These t-shirts are eco-friendly and are made of recycled plastic bottles and recycled cotton. Particle Falls has been giving these shirts away on their social media since opening day and now Raleigh Mom Blog readers will have their own chance to win!
Click on the link below to enter to win the Particle Falls Raleigh T-Shirt Family Pack Giveaway. Don’t forget to wear your shirts on your visit to Particle Falls this month!