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my 3 favorite ways for kids to give back on Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22 and while there are a lot of fun ways to celebrate, it is also important to be in service to our planet. Teach kids young that not only is it important to respect the planet, but they need to make up for those who don’t. It can be as simple as turning off lights when they leave a room and picking up others’ trash. Teaching environmental responsibility to kids is important and it can also be fun! Of course new Americana outfits from Gymboree don’t hurt, more on that later, but this post is actually inspired by Gymboree and their campaign #LocalLove. Don’t you love when a brand gets behind a good cause? Super big thanks to Gymboree for sponsoring this post.

3 ways for kids to give back on Earth Day

donate old towels and blankets to the animal shelter

I love to buy new linens, towels and blankets with the seasons, but what to do with the old? Your local animal shelter is looking for those old towels and blankets to keep their cats and dogs comfortable and relaxed. Our local no-kill animal shelter takes in nearly 4,000 abandoned and lost pets annually, so they need our help as I’m sure yours do too! When I called to ask what they needed, old blankets and towels was their #1 response.

Have the kids round up old towels and blankets they no longer want (along with old food/water bowls, unopened food, etc) and bring them to the shelter. An easy way to help the environment is by reducing our waste – reuse at home or find others who can! The second biggest ask from the shelter was dog and cat food, so we stopped by the store to grab both. The shelter was SO appreciative and kids were both so excited to be giving back to our local, lost little animals.

give out resuable water bottles to the homeless

I don’t remember seeing many homeless until I moved to Los Angeles (I grew up in Virginia). LA has more chronically homeless, homeless veterans, and homeless young people than any other city in the country. It was truly shocking to see. When we relocated to Palm Springs, I thought there was no way anyone homeless could survive the harsh, blistering summers, yet I see them everywhere, all season long.

With the temperatures rising, more water is an absolute necessity to give… but single-use water bottles are destroying our planet. I’m sure you’ve seen the damage they are doing to the ocean and wildlife, but the resources it takes to meet the American demand is staggering. Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year or 190,000 homes. And that’s not even including the oil used for transportation. These numbers are from 2007.

Tap water is available around the city, so instead of handing out bottled water, hand the homeless in your area reusable bottles. Find inexpensive water bottles at the 99 cents only stores, clearance sections or reach out to reusable bottle companies for a donation. That’s my plan and I’ll be sure to share with you guys if I find a partner.

create a wildlife-friendly space

Teaching kids to grow plants, for both landscaping/beauty and food is just so important. In these days of convenience foods, it can feel a bit like a lost art. I grew up with a huge garden and some of my favorite memories are of lazy summer days picking strawberries and spinach, eating them right there in the garden. Here in Palm Springs, vegetable gardening is a struggle for me, but growing any plants that attract creatures is helpful for the environment. Encourage more wildlife to your yard by creating a safe haven, shelter and food source for birds, bees, butterflies, amphibians and insects.

Kids will love these activities: build a bird or bat house, shop for a bird bath and hummingbird feeder, DIY a bird feeder, create insect hotels, build a small pond and plant flowers, fruits and edible shrubs. Another great idea, if possible, is to not mow your lawn during the summer. Oh the energy and water waste that goes into lawns here in the desert… Long grass is really important for butterflies to lay eggs in, so if you can provide that space for them (without getting in trouble with your HOA) – awesome!

This last idea brings me to our current project. We’re finally designing our yard, guys. You really don’t know how much distress/loss of sleep this yard has caused me over the last 3 years, but it is finally changing. The previous owner’s planted some things I like, some things I don’t and some things that have died (I’m so sorry). There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it so I’m happy to be mapping out a new design! First stop was to a local cactus nursery – Mariscal Cactus & Succulents. I knew we were in the right place when we arrived and there were hummingbirds EVERYWHERE!

Creating a drought-friendly desert oasis at home is another great way to honor the planet. They require very little water and attention, but still support the oxygen cycle and bring all sorts of wildlife to your yard. April is the perfect time to bring a little cactus and succulent into your life as they are blooming, same with the yucca and ocotillo!

Kids have a lot of heart. It’s one of my favorite things about being a mom, to see their genuine spirit for giving and service. Their hearts are so pure! The Gymboree #LocalLove campaign is celebrating just that and encouraging legendary kindness from kids in their communities. That patriotic spirit is what inspired the summer-ready Americana collection – isn’t it fabulous??

You can see the entire Gymboree Americana collection here.

Let’s run down what I have on my kiddos. We’ll start with Savannah in her ultra fabulous Striped Romper. This thing is gold. Savannah feels beautiful in it and I can tell by the way she sashays her way down the cactus aisles in it! Pair it with espadrilles, oversized sunglasses and the Gymboree Flag Scarf for the perfect “apple pie America’s sweetheart” look. Later in the day at the Animal Shelter, she popped on the Gymboree Star Pullover which looked so cute over the striped romper – stars and stripes forever!

Gabriel is wearing these Red Pull-On Cargo Shorts with the USA Varsity Tank and the mega cool Flag Sneakers. He was really diggin this Americana gear and I was excited to have some great pieces for all of the upcoming patriotic holidays. His absolute favorite part of the whole outfit was the Rex Cap. Seriously, he wears it almost every day.

To bring this outfit from casual to dressy-casual – I have the perfect shirt – the red Plaid Shirt from Gymboree.

How can you inspire your kids to give back to the community for Earth Day?

And, how can you keep that spirit of giving all year long?

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