Activities to do with Kids During Earth Hour

ehourThis Saturday, March 29, 2014 marks the 8th celebration of Earth Hour, a global event to turn out all non-essential lights from 8:30-9:30 pm local time.

First held in Australia in 2007, Earth Hour went global in 2008; and is a demonstration of how people can reduce their impact on the environment by turning out all non-essential lights for one hour. It is amazing how the power usage numbers drop during this one hour and the positive impact it has on our environment and entire planet. During this event, many famous landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Tokyo Tower, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Times Square, Niagara Falls and more turn off their lights.


Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge

Sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation, Earth Hour can be a fun event that brings families, communities and the entire planet together for a common cause. There are many events and projects that are held locally that celebrate this event and promote the awareness of reducing our footprint on the planet. 2011 was the first Earth Hour to ‘go beyond the hour‘ and encourage supporters to think about what else they can do to make a difference throughout the year. Some of these include, and are as simple as, turning the lights off when you leave a room, recycling and growing your own garden.

A great part of Earth Hour is getting the kids involved! As it is the younger generation that are the ambassadors for our planet; and need to be taught it’s value and how to protect it. It is easy to get them involved with some of these fun activities you can do at home.

The first thing to do is explain to them what Earth Hour is and why it is significant. Depending on the age of the child will depend on the length of your explanation. Keep it simple in terms that they can relate to and understand. Then play with them during the hour of darkness. Not only will they have fun but you will too! Plus it creates some bonus family bonding.

Activities for Earth Hour

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARead books about the Earth and the environment. Books like Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle are all wonderful children’s books with an environmental message. Choose an appropriate book and read by candlelight or flashlight.

Play board games. Gather the family together, set up a few candles and choose a favorite board game.

Make shadow puppets. Grab a flashlight and shine it against the wall. Have the kids create animals or figures using their hands and casting the shadow on the wall. Mum and Dad can participate as well. Have the kids create a dialogue or a short play about the environment.

How_to_Make_Shadow_PuppetsPlay hide and seek. Playing hide and seek in the dark is lots of fun. Set clear boundaries and guidelines for the game to ensure everyone feels safe and young children are not scared. If some children are afraid of being alone in the dark, play in pairs so that they feel safe during the game. Place candles safely around the house to provide some light or give each person his own flashlight. Establish where home base is so that anyone who feels he would no longer like to hide knows where to go.

Stargazing. This is the best time to go out and look at the stars! With all non essential lights out, there will not be all the extra light interfering with what can be seen in the  night sky.  The kids will be able to see more from their backyard than they could before! Everyone will be able to see quite a bit with the naked eye, but if you have a pair of binoculars or a telescope the kids will enjoy using these to see even more. This could start a dialogue with the kids as to why they can see more during this hour and what light pollution is.


What activities will you do with the kids this Earth Hour? Add to our list by commenting below and share with others your ideas.

Little Blue Dots on the Horizon

I have always thought of Toronto as my adult playground. The place where I can go and play, party, stay out late and then get up early and go again, for days. I may return tired but revived, having enjoyed some true adult playtime and enjoying the energy and freedom of the city (and being sans enfants).

I also enjoy the sites and attractions, some of which I return to again and again, each time discovering something new. This trip I headed down to Niagara Falls with Matthew (yes this time it was not a sans enfants trip, he was in the wedding party I had to take him ha ha). He had never been before and was interested in seeing the falls. I love that area in general and find that there is lots to do there.

This area is what I like to call the Canadian version of Las Vegas (though I have never been to Vegas I imagine it to be so), with the main street lined with flashy shops and entertainment of all kinds. Haunted Houses, wax musuems, restuarants, etc. It is a huge family playground and you can spend lots of money very quickly. It is bright, vibrant and busy with lots of variety.

This is on top of all the attractions to do with the falls itself, such as the Journey Behind the Falls, Maid of the Mist and the Whitewater Walk. I had done the Journey Behind the Falls on my previous visit but had never been on the Maid of the Mist and always wanted to go. So this was our goal this time, if it was the only thing that we did we would be happy.

This was definitely the highlight of our visit (well it was for me I think Matthew would likely vote for the Dinosaur Adventure Golf we played later on). The Maid of the Mist is a boat that takes visitors on a boat ride tour to the foot of the Falls where you get a fabulous (and wet) view of the 13 storey falls. Each visitor receives a souvenir (and completely unfunctional) Maid of the Mist blue raincoat to keep them dry on their tour. Matthew and I put ours on with pride, overtop of our raincoats, which I had the forsight to bring, getting more and more excited as we got closer to our tour. *the raincoats are really just long thing poncho style pieces of thin plastic with a hood and though they look good really do not protect you from getting wet at all

It was hilarious to watch previous boats going out with little blue dots of people on  it waiting in excitement and anticipation to view the falls up close. Everyone went out dry and smiling and came back soaking wet.

I had been told by a friend who had gone the previous week to expect to get wet but I did not realize that he meant drenched. We got on the boat and happily went to the front. We drifted past the American Falls, fantastically close as we continued toward the Canadian side. As we went past the first set of falls we got a little damp from some of the mist, listening over the roar of the falls to the recorded interpretation and history of the falls. I thought that was the worst of it.

Our excitement rose as we got closer and closer to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. The roar of the falls getting louder and the mist beginning to become more and more. Soon it felt like it was raining and we were getting even closer. Matthew and I screamed in joy and delight as we were literally getting completely drenched. It was amazing, just drifting there in the falls for a few minutes, getting completely soaked. (I now knew why the one girl who walked off the boat before us was combing her wet hair). It was a euphoric experience. You may think it weird to enjoy getting that wet but it was cool, to be that close to the falls in our fancy raincoats literally soaking it in. Hard to describe but it was awesome.