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Monday, April 20, 2020

Earth Day Paper Plate Craft

Earth Day is an annual event held on April 22nd around the world. Earth Day is typically celebrated by showing support for the environment which people can do in many different ways. Community groups often come together to facilitate a volunteer clean up day and support environmental charities. You can look up Earth Day events being hosted in 2024 at

Of course it's still easy for families to individually celebrate Earth Day at home. Some hands on ways to celebrate Earth Day include planting a tree or some vegetable seeds, recycling, creating a compost bin in the backyard, setting up a worm farm, or by making a homemade bird feeder, butterfly feeder, or bug hotel

We're a pretty environmentally friendly family and have done a few of these activities already, as well as some environmental small world play, so when my girls asked to do some craft over the weekend I thought it was the perfect time to do some Earth Day crafting.

paper plates made into Earth with paper hands attached


I came up with this idea by following my girls interests and using craft items we already had around the house. The girls both love painting and we have an abundance of paper plates, so I decided to combine the two and create an Earth Day Paper Plate Craft that we could all do together.

It's a great visual reminder for them that we all have the ability to change the world and we're all responsible for making sure it's looked after. It was also a great process art craft with lots of fine motor practice which could easily be replicated in a classroom setting.

Supplies to make an Earth Day paper plate

  • Wooden pegs
  • Cotton balls or pom poms
  • Green & blue paint
  • Skin colour paper
  • Paintbrush
  • Clear glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

paper plates, paint and cotton balls

The items needed for this craft are readily available at craft stores, dollar stores, or online from my Amazon store. You can also easily substitute items based on what you already have available at home, for example by using a glue stick instead of clear glue, or use a cut up sponge to paint if you don't have access to any cotton balls or pom poms. 

I would recommend using washable paint as it's easy to clean up if things get messy. Also a splash mat or old newspaper on the table and an art smock may be beneficial if working with younger children who may get a little too artistic.


1. Paint the Earth by dabbing blue and green paint over the entire paper plate. We googled images of Earth so we had a starting point, but realistically if the paper plate has blue and green it's going to look close enough to the Earth. You may have to do a second coat of paint if your paper plate has a wax coating. 

Using the pegs and pom poms helps to naturally develop pincer grip by grasping the top of the peg to paint and is a fun way for children to paint without a paintbrush.
sponge painted Earth Day paper plate

2. While the paper plate is drying trace around your hands on the skin coloured paper with a pencil. If it's a bit wobbly once you take your hands off the paper just go over it again with the pencil and smooth out the edges. My 6yr old traced her own hand prints and did mine and then I smoothed out the edges.

hand tracing

3. Cut out the hands with scissors. This is great scissors practice for kids and it doesn't matter if they don't follow the lines perfectly as the hand prints will be glued onto the plate with the pencil side down. Once the hand prints are cut out flip them over and place them on top of the plate until you are happy with their position. They should go on the side towards the bottom to make it look like you're holding the world in your hands.

4. Paint some glue onto the hands on the side with the pencil. We found the easiest way to do this was to pour liquid glue into a container and use a paintbrush to evenly spread the glue over the paper.

5. Glue down the fingers onto the front of the paper plate then flip it over and glue the bottom of the hands to the back of the plate. When you do this you will find the the hands are squared off where they fold over, but don't worry that will be fixed when they're dry.
how to stick hands onto Earth Day paper plate

6. Finally, once the hands have fully dried, trim the straight sections to make them curved along the edge of the plate. Now your masterpiece is complete and ready to be displayed.

earth day paper plate with hands stuck on front

Our finished paper plate Earth's are being proudly displayed on our art wall in the lounge room along with all our other April art. I really love how the hand prints are a great way to remember how little the kids hands are, I think we'll redo this activity every year so we can see how much they've grown. 

Earth day paper plate craft idea


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