5 Green Activities to Keep Kids Busy This Summer

By Brad Rassler

July 22, 2015

Green activities to keep kids busy this summer

Photo by iStock/MilicaStankovic

Got camp for the kids this summer? Great. If not, create your own camp-like activities to keep your charges environmentally edutained. Here are five to get you started:


Planning, building, planting, and harvesting a garden is a season-long project with easy-to-understand phases, each involving distinctive skills with an abundance of teachable moments. Food crops are especially rewarding due to the final phase—eating—but even a butterfly garden beautifies a yard, provides critical habitat, and attracts creatures that are easy on the eyes.

Citizen Science

You needn’t wander far from home to participate in a citizen science project. In fact, you can use your own backyard as a learning laboratory. Track birds or butterflies or bugs in the Back 40, upload your data, and send it to scientists, who will incorporate your findings into their research. Consult SciStarter.com for hundreds of age-appropriate citizen science projects.

Repurposeful Arts and Crafts

Morph an old t-shirt into a shopping bag, construct a menagerie from used cardboard, make a windsock from a plastic milk jug or a bird feeder from an old bowl and plate. Survey spent goods around your home and let your imagination run wild. The only rule? Your raw materials must have at one time served some other purpose.


Environmental edutainment abounds online. Find interactive learning portals from NASA (Climate Kids), the EPA (A Student’s Guide to Climate Change), ENERGY STAR (ENERGY STAR Kids), and WGBH (Meet the Greens), for starters. You’ll find games, articles, educational videos, quizzes, science-specific construction and even environmental advocacy projects.

Getting Out

That's right: go outside. Whether it’s a 30-minute stroll along a nature trail or local park, an hour exploring a tidepool, a family day hike, or multi-day backpacking trip, nothing instills green sensibilities in kids as much as getting outdoors. Worried about keeping young ones engaged in, say, a walk in the woods? Find great suggestions here.