In our hyper-technology obsessed world, it can be hard to imagine not using lights, phones, television, and other electronics for more than a few minutes — which is exactly why observing Earth Hour is so very important. Earth Hour, which takes place tonight from 8:30-9:30 pm wherever you are in the world, is a great opportunity to pause and reflect on how we can protect and appreciate the earth. What started seven years ago in one city in Australia has grown into a worldwide event. Last year, 152 countries participated in Earth Hour. The launch of the “I Will If You Will” campaign inspired more people than ever to join in, so check out some of the challenges, including a 5-year-old from Greece who promises to abstain from eating chocolates for a week if 50 people green their balconies. For a local connection, take a look at the map of events for inspiration and information on how people around the world have spread the Earth Hour message. Watch the Earth Hour 2013 video after the jump.

Earth Hour, Earth Hour 2013, green family, events
Image courtesy of Earth Hour, photo © Katie Edmonds of WWF Canada

And since we’re really protecting and preserving the Earth for our little ones, we should absolutely make sure they get in on the fun and the education of Earth Hour. Try one of these activities during Earth Hour (or anytime you want) to reflect on the importance of this precious and precarious planet.

  • Start with the basics: turn off the lights for Earth Hour.
  • Set an even bigger challenge and make a weekly or daily “lights off/technology off” hour or evening at your house.
  • Create a family, school, or neighborhood-based “I Will If You Will” challenge.
  • Host a sleepover for older kids that night and show them inspiring examples of kids their age who are working to protect the Earth.
  • Find a community Earth Hour event.
  • Pick up your instruments (or make a pots and pans band) and have a candlelight jam session.
  • Have a blindfolded smell and taste-testing session in the dark with fun treats and scents, such as a freshly peeled orange, a cinnamon stick, a small piece of dark chocolate, etc.
  • Go stargazing.
  • If you live in the country, take a night walk in the woods or play flashlight tag outside.
  • Make a story circle. Start off by telling the beginning of a story and then have each family add on to the plot.
  • Share your favorite memories of time spent in nature with your children. Kids will love hearing about Mom and Dad’s adventures hiking, camping, snorkeling, and exploring the great outdoors, and these memories will get them excited for their own nature adventures in their future.
  • Weather permitting, make a campfire outside and cuddle with some warm blankets, s’mores, songs, and ghost stories.
  • Earth Hour is about a month before Earth Day. Use Earth Hour as a flashlight-fueled brainstorming session for plans, goals, and ideas for how your family will honor Earth Day.
  • Download games and find child-friendly activities on the Earth Hour Fun Stuff page for kids.

+ Earth Hour

+ Earth Hour USA site