I am happy there is an Earth Day, but I try to make every day an "Earth Day!"
In my classroom, recycling is a way of life. When we have "Free Art" I have baskets on each table that is loaded with goodies that would otherwise be trash! To my students...they are like "Wow!" What great stuff!" They always make wonderful creations that they are proud to take home! So creative!
You can do this also with your children! Simple get a box, shoebox or something...and when you are about to toss that scrap string, button, etc...and you think "hmm..this is a shame...it is such a nice...etc...but no use for it, etc.." Think instead...."Can I put this in a box and have my child to make something out of it on a rainy day?" Then put it in that one box that you will keep somewhere easy for you to toss stuff in it. Old flyers, magazines (or favorite pages), shoe strings, twist ties (from trash bags and bread bags), bottle caps (all kinds and sizes), broken toys or missing pieces from puzzles etc... Kids find these things fun to create with. I always have puzzles in the baskets from puzzles from home where several pieces are missing and the kids just love 'em. They might tie string around a piece and color it and make a cool necklace or bracelet or put it in a collage. The list goes on and ideas are limitless. Get the creativity flowing and throw away less. Oh yeah...tissue tubes and paper towel tubes are huge hits as well. Don't forget those cardboard boxes, etc... I use those to cut into Artist Trading Cards (2.5"X3.5") and have kids to do art on those! Great stuff we throw away daily!
Join Nickelodeon's Power Down on Earth Day by turning all your lights off for One Minute! They have a global tracker of all those who pledge to do this. Pretty interesting and it is great to get kids involved.
At young ages, children are Excited about this! It isn't a chore to them. At our school....we have a "day to be green" for every class in the school and they have a section of school yard to "clean" on a certain day. Every class gets a couple turns each year. This takes place on Fridays each week to keep our school yard looking good and keeping our kids aware of the world around them and taking care if it!
Happy Earth Day!