April is a busy month, with most schools observing two special events: Earth Day and Screen-Free Week. You can make these more meaningful by tying them to family activities.
Celebrate Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22nd. Then gather with other families and attend the Down to Earth Festival at Shelby Farms on Saturday, April 19th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This popular event features aerial acrobatics, a fishing rodeo, an eco-friendly egg hunt, green vendors, and food. ($5/parking, $8/rodeo.) Or elect to work with other volunteers cleaning up city parks, planting a garden at your school, or picking up trash in your neighborhood.
Here are some activities your crew can do at home to help our environment.
1. Recycle household trash. Separate newspaper, glass, and cans from your trash each week.
2. Plant a tree this spring for every member of your family. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
3. Start turning lights out when you leave a room. And unplug appliances when not in use. By using less electricity, less oil and gas are being used to create electricity.
4. Build a compost pile. Find a section of your yard to put leaves and grass cuttings. After it decomposes, you can put the remains back into the soil to nourish plants.
5. Make a bird feeder. Collect pinecones and dip them in peanut butter or honey, then cover with birdseed and hang up in your backyard.
At the end of April, observe Screen-Free Week, April 28th to May 4th.
It’s hard to believe but preschoolers average 32 hours a week of screen time in front of computers, television, and other electronic devices. Those hours are even higher for older children. Screen media dominates too much of our children’s lives, even if they watch good programming.
Use this week to examine your family’s relationship with entertainment media and to rediscover the joys of screen-free living. Check out a new park, ride bikes, or play board games instead of turning on a screen. • Visit commonsensemedia.org to learn other ways you can manage media consumption.