5 ways to celebrate Earth Day in Chicagoland

Earth Day may not officially arrive until the 22nd, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate Mother Earth all month long. These five ideas might not be what you automatically picture when you think “eco-friendly,” but they’re just some stealthy tools in your efforts to make your kids go just a little more green.

Learn the three Rs

Grab a few water bottles out of your recycling bin and head to Recycle, Reuse, Renew, a fun workshop where kids 5-12, with adult, turn some garbage into a work of art–namely, a wind chime. $3, $2 members. 3-5 p.m. April 7. Des Plaines History Center, 781 Pearson St., Des Plaines. (847) 391-5399.

Make an animal smarter

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Animal Enrichment Workshops let you create edible piñatas and other “enrichment items” for the animals. Then you can go watch them receive their treats and see animal-style learning in action. $5, $4 members; $18 family pack. 1-3:30 p.m. April 9. 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. (312) 742-2000.

Eat a little cleaner

Our food doesn’t just magically appear at Jewel, but do you really know where it comes from? At this Earth Day Celebration, head down the picnic trail to learn about how food is grown and processed. And yes, there will be samples. Free. Noon-4 p.m. April 17. Emily Oaks Nature Center, 4650 Brummel St., Skokie. (847) 677-7001.

Go for a walk

Exercise and the great outdoors just seem to go together, especially at the Earth Day Walk. Head out to McDonald Woods, an oak woodland that is being restored–and already bursting with wildflowers. Free, parking fees apply. 1 p.m. April 23. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. (847) 835-5440.

Have a party!

If Earth Day is a celebration, then there’s no better way to mark it than with a blowout. At Party for the Planet, you can learn how to make a difference for animals, then immediately put it into action thanks to recycling stations. Plus, enjoy music, green crafts and help plant a tree! Free with zoo admission. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. (708) 688-8000.

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