Earth Day is a special day when we celebrate our planet and learn how we can take care of it. For first graders, it’s an exciting opportunity to explore the world around them and discover how they can make a positive impact. In this post, we’ll explore my top five Earth Day activities for 1st grade, designed to engage young minds and encourage them to think about the environment in new and creative ways.
1. Earth Day Activities
I have an Earth Day Unit filled with activities to explore on this special day. This unit has a mini book that introduces important vocabulary such as reduce, reuse, and recycle. There are opportunities for students to do a weekly journal, work on reading comprehension, and play a few math games. It is also filled with writing opportunities to work on reflecting and sharing their thoughts on Earth Day. This unit really builds the foundation for why it is important to preserve our Earth. At the end of the unit, we love to make one of the recycling crafts.
2. Earthworms Nonfiction Unit
Since we are digging into Earth facts, why not learn a little about the worms that live in our Earth. This Earthworm Nonfiction Unit is perfect for spring and loads of fun. We always begin with a KWL chart that we can revisit as we gather new facts. I like to put the colorful cards on large chart paper to write what they know and what they want to learn. Then we read the mini book that is provided filled with worm facts. We work on those informational text standards as we complete the nonfiction text feature hunt. We learn about the lifecycle of a worm and earthworm adaptations, write about worms, complete some fun earthworm word work, and make a cute little craft worm.
3. Dirt in a Cup Snack Activity
If you are going to learn about worms and the Earth, Dirt in a Cup is a super delicious activity to do as a whole class. We love making no-bake snack activities in our classroom and this one is always a hit. I ask parents for donations using the letter provided to help offset the cost of all the food items. As you read the book and follow the directions, students are exposed to expository writing. When you finish, you can have the children work on their own how-to writing, survey, tally, and graph the results of the snack, sequence the activity, and make the little dirt in a cup craft too. The best part of this activity is the result, which is the pudding and worm snack treat.
4. Solve the Mystery of the Missing Recycling Bags
In this Solve the Mystery case, the students are headed outside to clean up the trash and the recycling bags have gone missing. In order to solve the case of the missing bags, students must complete the nine task cards to get the clues. Once they have their clues, they can eliminate who did it, when they did it, and where they put the bags. My students love to listen to the introductory video that presents the missing bags. They also love to work together in groups to solve the different task cards. This case comes with a bonus Earth Day writing activity that they can complete as well. If you have never tried a Solve the Mystery case, I highly recommend them. They are a fan favorite in my room. If you are not a First Grade teacher, I also have them for Kindergarten and Second Grade.
5. Digital Earth Day Activities for 1st Grade
If you really want to go green, you can complete this paperless Digital Earth Day Unit. I used this unit even when I wasn’t digital because I love to project the digital reader to my students and use the slides in whole group class instruction. We do a few slides each day together during the week of Earth Day. These slides can also be sent digitally through Google Slides for independent work and review. They make great literacy center activities for your students if you need them during center time.
Earth Day Words Freebie
Every year while we are learning about Earth Day, I display a vocabulary word wall up front on my pocket chart. If you would like these Earth Day Words, you can grab this goodie for free.
Here is what a few teachers had to say about these Earth Day Activities for 1st Grade:
“My first graders had a blast using this at the end of the year! They were very engaged and excited to eat their yummy treat when finished. The resource provided a ton of ways to incorporate ELA into the activity. Thank You!”
“My students loved using this resource. I have used several of the mysteries in my classroom through out the year. I think that this one was my favorite. The skills aligned perfectly with what we have been practicing in my classroom. The students were highly engaged and excited to get the clue to find out who took the recycling bags. This will definitely be a resource that gets used every year!”
“My kids and I loved, loved, loved this unit. It was so much fun and refreshing to have an organized, engaging, digital resource to continue to excite my students during distance learning. We will definitely be doing this again… hopefully in a classroom!”
Looking for fun activities for First Grade? Here are a few more ideas from my blog: