Drawing can provide a great opportunity to teach young children about the Earth, how it works, and what we can do to protect it. Not only is this activity engaging, but it can help simplify and break down complex topics, too.
These Earth Day drawing ideas are perfect for the classroom or even as a fun home project. Don't be afraid to get creative and try different things — use crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint, or whatever you have on hand!
These drawing ideas can work for children of all ages, and you can tailor the assignment to whatever age group you are working with.
An easy Earth Day directed drawing
If you’re in need of an easy project that will work for very young kids, this directed drawing from the blog Natalie Lynn Kindergarten is perfect. This activity isn’t too detailed and only deals with very simple shapes and lines. You can find the full instructions on the blog, and check out the example below:
This drawing is a great way to start a conversation about the environment. It can be as simple as having each student include something they love about nature in their drawing, or it can be more complicated, such as including what they can do to help the Earth.
“We Can Touch the World”
This drawing is good for older children, but it can also easily be altered to match a younger skill level. The general rule of reducing, reusing, recycling, and repurposing is usually one of the first concepts people learn about when it comes to taking care of the Earth. And what better way to introduce it than through an art project?
Andrea Ventura’s “We Can Touch the World” drawing is a great way to teach these foundational guidelines and give examples of what they mean. You can help your children or students write “We Can Touch the World” in the center of a piece of paper, and encourage them to draw ways that they can help the planet all around the rest of the page.
An Earth split in two
Soni Raghav’s “Save the Earth” drawing is a little bit more doom and gloom than the others, but it can provide an awesome opportunity to educate children about things that negatively affect the environment. You can have your kids draw an Earth split into two, and encourage them to fill one half with the positive aspects of the Earth, and the other half with the negative ways humans treat the Earth.
Depending on the age of participants, adults can talk about complex topics like fossil fuels or simple topics like littering.
This activity can also be a good way to exercise students’ problem-solving skills — after explaining how something harms the Earth (fossil fuels), the class can brainstorm ideas about how to solve the issue (implementing renewable energy).
An illustration about plastic pollution
This drawing from Rajwinder Kour is definitely best for much older children. It requires some higher-level skills, but it can also be customized to fit each participant's unique talents and perspective. You might encourage students to draw their own interpretation of a polluted beach, and include items they've seen littered in real life.
For this project, it might be a good idea to pair it with a conversation or lesson about plastic pollution and how it harms the environment — of course, solutions should be mentioned too. The conversation can lead to some ideas on how to use less plastic at home or in the classroom.
An drawing about the importance of working together
Going back to drawings for younger children, this one from Aliona Zbughin is great. This project takes a slightly different angle, as it focuses on the community aspect of protecting our planet. Working with others is a very important aspect of tackling environmental issues and this picture is an easy way to show that.
Adults can encourage children to draw themselves and their friends holding hands on top of the Earth to connect working together in the classroom or at home to the idea of working with others out in the world.
A heart-shaped Earth
For little kids, instruct them to draw a big heart on the page, and then fill it in with a drawing of planet Earth. You can take this one to the next level by asking them to draw or write the aspects of the Earth they're most grateful for, such as animals, trees, and the beach.
A poster designed for a climate protest
Teach your students or children to be eco activists by encouraging them to make posters or banners that could be used at a climate protest. Green Matters has plenty of other climate strike poster ideas here.
A communal Earth Day mural
If you have a group of children, lay out a long pieces of butcher paper with a planet Earth drawn in the center. Then, instruct the kids to draw their favorite aspects of the environment surrounding the Earth using colored pencils.
This article, originally published on April 4, 2023, has been updated.