Age Range: 5-8 year olds; All Ages
Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Program Type: Registration; After Hours
I can’t remember when I first heard about Earth Hour, but for years, I have looked forward to turning out the lights, shutting down, and thinking about my carbon footprint and what I can do to lower it. I make small adjustments and changes every day, but for this one hour every year, I can really reflect on what I’m doing and think about how to make it better. I’m a firm believer in small changes going a long way toward larger change and the power of raising awareness. That’s why I decided to do this little program a few years ago.
Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop was a favorite of mine the minute it arrived in our library. Her soft illustrations and quiet, thoughtful story about a little girl trying to communicate with the moon just captured everything I love in art and storytelling. Imagine my surprise and delight when upon reading the back flap, I discovered that the author was inspired by Earth Hour! I knew that I needed to incorporate the story into my Book Worms program. What better way to get kids interested in and thinking about the impact they can have on energy usage and the environment?
I found an adorable craft here that was a perfect fit since Red Knit Cap Girl and her forest friends make paper lanterns in the story. I used a tracing paper pad which I believe was sized like regular printer paper and just cut each sheet in half length-wise to make the base sheet for the lantern. We used markers to make our drawings and Scotch tape to seal the lanterns up on the back side. Battery-operated tea lights completed the project. Then we turned out all the lights except our lanterns and watched videos and talked about Earth Hour.
Earth Hour typically takes place on the last Saturday of March from 8:30 to 9:30 pm local time. This would make a great after hours family program if you could get your library to agree to turn everything off. You could do a glow party or flashlight games or maybe even a night sky viewing (talking about light pollution, etc). The possibilities are endless. Our program was still during the afternoon, so it was a little difficult to achieve true darkness in our programming room. But at least we did get kids thinking about the planet, and several of them left saying that they wanted to participate in Earth Hour that year.
I hope you will feel inspired to participate this year! It’s a great way to unplug, spend some quality time with family and friends, and resolve to do better for our planet. And if you’re interested in inspiring the next generation to do the same, I hope you’ll give this program a try!