Environmental Activities


Learning about the environment is a great way to educate others, including your friends. With these environmental activities, you'll be sure to teach people that it's up to us to ensure animals and their habitats will be around for years to come.

Whether you enjoy getting your hands dirty or prefer researching your surroundings inside away from mud, there's an environmental activity here for you. So dig in the dirt or dig into a book, and let's start saving our planet.

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Follow the links below to learn how to construct some environmental activities.

Save the Animals Activity

Educating yourself and others about endangered animals is one way to help save them.

Oil Spill Lesson

Oil spills are dangerous and deadly for animal habitats. Learn how the oil affects the animals and their environment.

Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary

With a few of the basic necessities (food, water, and shelter), you can create you own outdoor wildlife refuge.

Mini Ecosystems Activity

Observing the outdoors in the convenience of your own home will help you understand the environment better.

Miniature Sanctuary Activity

Designate an area of your backyard specifically for plants and creatures outside with a miniature safe haven.

Keep reading to learn how you can help save endangered animals.

For more fun kids crafts and activities, check out:

Save the Animals Activity

Learning about endangered animals can help save them from extinction.
Learning about endangered animals can help save them from extinction.

Endangered animals are in jeopardy of becoming extinct. Help educate others on how to save the animals with this environmental save the animals activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Reference books
  • Poster board
  • Markers

How to Save the Animals:

Step 1: Do research at local nature organizations or zoos to find information on endangered animals. There are more than 700 animal species on the endangered list, including the giant panda, the blue whale, and the bald eagle.

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Step 2: Choose one endangered animal that you especially care about. Learn as much as you can about that animal. Find out where it lives, why it is endangered, and what people are doing to help (or maybe to harm) it. Most important, find out what you can do to help.

Step 3: Make a poster telling others about the animal and how they can help. Try to hang your poster in a public place -- such as a library or store -- where lots of people will see it. Make sure to get permission before you display your poster.

One threat to endangered animals are oil spills. Continue to the next page to learn how oil spills are hazardous to animals and their environment.

For more fun kids crafts and activities, check out:

Oil Spill Lesson

Learn how oil spills damage our environment with this homemade experiment.
Learn how oil spills damage our environment with this homemade experiment.

Oil spills are a terrible tragedy for all of nature. Teach yourself an oil spill lesson and find out how the spills affect animals and their habitat.

What You'll Need:

  • Two ice cubes
  • Two sealable plastic bags
  • Three plates
  • Four cotton balls
  • Vegetable oil

How to Make an Oil Spill Lesson:

Step 1: Put an ice cube into each of the plastic bags. Squeeze out all the air of the bags, and seal them. Put each of the bags on a plate.

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Step 2: Soak two cotton balls in vegetable oil. Put one of the cotton balls on top of one of the plastic bags. Make sure the cotton ball stays on top of the ice cube. Put the other oil-soaked cotton ball on an empty plate.

Step 3: Put a dry cotton ball on the other plastic bag (on top of the ice cube). Place another dry cotton ball on the empty plate next to the oil-soaked cotton ball.

Step 4: Let everything sit for 20 minutes. Pick up the two dry cotton balls -- the one that is on the ice cube, and the one that isn't. Are they about the same temperature, or is one colder?

Step 5: Pick up the two oil-soaked cotton balls -- the one that is on the ice cube, and the one that isn't. Does one feel colder?

Step 6: Pick up the two cotton balls that are on the ice cubes. Does one feel colder? What does this tell you about the connection between oil and keeping warm?

Imagine that those cotton balls are birds, otters, or other animals. When an animal is soaked with oil, it gets cold, just like the oil-soaked cotton balls. That's because oil destroys the natural insulation that animals have.

Whenever there's an oil spill, animals die for many reasons. Some are poisoned by the oil. Birds starve to death because they cannot fly to catch food. Some animals die because their food has been killed by the oil. And some animals freeze to death because oil has destroyed their ability to stay warm.

Keep reading to learn how to create your own outdoor wildlife haven.

For more fun kids crafts and activities, check out:

Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary

Build a backyard miniature wildlife sanctuary by providing animals the basics: food, water, and shelter.

What You'll Need:

  • Gardening tools (rake, shovel, etc.)
  • Materials from the suggestions below

How to Create a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary:

Step 1: If you can, plant native plants that bear the fruit, nuts, seeds, nectar, and pollen that wild animals like to eat. Hazelnut trees, elderberries, service berries, huckleberries, and wildflowers are terrific.

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Step 2: Try to buy or build bird feeders. Fill the feeders with seeds songbirds prefer, such as sunflower seeds, white millet, and thistle. In the summer, fill hummingbird feeders with nectar made from one cup sugar and four cups water. In the winter, hang suet feeders.

Step 3: Since water is often scarce, set out birdbaths and keep them clean. Put the bowl of a birdbath on the ground for small mammals and ground-feeding birds. Give butterflies a drink, too. Fill a basin with sand and keep it wet. Place the basin near flowers, where butterflies visit.

Step 4: Birds and small mammals need safe places to hide, build nests, and stay warm and dry in bad weather. If you can, plant a long hedgerow of native shrubs. Build piles of rocks, brush, or logs for small animals.

Step 5: For more information on backyard wildlife sanctuaries, call your local Fish and Wildlife Department. They will have brochures and printed material to help you plan a sanctuary for your area.

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From an outdoor sanctuary to your very own ecosystem indoors. Keep reading to learn how to build your own ecosystem.

For more fun kids crafts and activities, check out:

Mini Ecosystems Activity

Build your very own mini ecosystem
Build your very own mini ecosystem

For a science project -- or just for fun -- make your own mini ecosystem with a display of the world's forests, deserts, and grasslands.

What You'll Need:

  • Aquarium or gallon glass jar
  • Potting soil
  • Sand
  • Charcoal for house plants
  • Purchased or collected plants

How to Create a Mini Ecosystem:

Step 1: Clean and dry an aquarium or gallon glass jar. Pour a 1/2-inch layer of charcoal in the bottom, then add about four inches of potting soil. (For a desert use a mixture of 1/2 potting soil and 1/2 sand.)

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Step 2: Buy plants, or ask someone for permission to collect plants from their property or garden. Never collect plants from nature because they could be endangered. Here is a list of biomes and some suggestions of plants you can use:

  • Tundra (such as Northern Canada and Alaska): lichens, mosses, and any of the small alpine plants sold for rock gardens. These will need a sunny window.
  • Northern coniferous forest (such as Southern Canada, Northern United States): Piggyback plants and small ferns.
  • Deciduous forest (such as Eastern United States): Violets, Wintergreens, strawberries, and small ferns.
  • Grassland (such as the Midwestern United States): Plant a prairie wildflower seed mix that includes several grasses.
  • Desert (such as the American Southwest): Purchase cacti or aloe vera plants. Don't overwater or overfertilize. Leave the lid off.
  • Tropical Rain Forest (such as the Amazon Basin): Most common houseplants come from the tropics. Try African violets, creeping Charlies, or aluminum plants.

Keep reading to try your hand at another miniature environmental activity.

For more fun kids crafts and activities, check out:

Miniature Sanctuary Activity

Utilize the space in your backyard and create a miniature sanctuary for the smallest wildlife.

What You'll Need:

  • Chunk of backyard space
  • Rocks
  • Old clay pots
  • Bricks
  • Hunks of wood (the older the better)
  • Posterboard
  • Pen

How to Make a Miniature Sanctuary:

Step 1: Ask permission to use a sheltered corner of your yard. Don't clear away old sticks and weeds, which give shelter and food to the creatures you want to protect.

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Step 2: Place broken clay pots upside down in the shade for snails and toads. Make a small rock pile in the sun for flying insects and small reptiles. Prop up a brick with small flat rocks for insects to inhabit. Set out old wood as homes for beetles and ants.

Step 3: Since many weeds serve as food for butterflies and rodents, pull out big vines like blackberries or large, aggressive shrubs that could take over the space.

Step 4: Once you're done creating your wildlife sanctuary, draw a sign reading, "Mini-wildlife refuge. Come and enjoy." That way, visitors won't clean up the "mess".

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ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERS

Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner Halls

Miniature Sanctuary by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner Halls