Earth Day is a great way to introduce your children to the wonders of the world around them and teach them how to respect nature.
Americans generate 10.5 million tons of plastic each year and only recycle only about 2% of it. An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash is dumped in the world’s oceans every year. Here are some great activities to help your child practice recycling and help make the world a cleaner and safer place for all living creatures.
First, help your child visualize how detrimental littering is for our oceans. This Debris Sensory Tub is a fun and educational way for your child to see how litter is irreversible. Fill a clear tub with water and then pour dirt inside. Put used chip bags, pieces of plastic plates, and any other “clean” trash you can find inside. Then, challenge your child to transform the dirty water back to its’ previous sparkling clean state. Your children will find this task to be impossible and it will cause them to think carefully about littering.
Nearly 4 billion trees worldwide are cut down each year for paper, representing about 35% of all harvested trees. Instead of wasting the weekly newspaper, save them and create pots for plants out of them. All you’ll need for the pots is old newspaper articles and a few origami folds! You can check out a great method for creating the pots here. After you’ve created your newspaper pots, fill them with soil, plants your seeds, and when they grow too big for their pots, transfer them to your garden and watch as they grow!
Simple Ways to Enjoy Nature
One of the best ways to help your child understand the importance of caring for their environment is by helping them genuinely love and care for planet Earth! Here are some simple activities that will help them appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds them.
Nature Photography: Invite your child to explore their surroundings with you and bring a camera! Consider buying a disposable camera so you don’t need to worry about it breaking. Allow your child to snap photos of things they think are beautiful (rocks, grass, water, bugs, trees, etc). Then, print out the photos and create a beautiful collage to hang in your child’s room.
Cloud Watching & Star Gazing: Now that the weather is warming up, lay out a cozy blanket on the grass and grab some binoculars! Lay on the blanket with your child and look up at the clouds. Challenge them to find shapes in the clouds and point out all the constellations. Here is a simple guide to help you easily navigate the stars.
Nature Scavenger Hunt: Outdoor scavenger hunts are a great way to encourage your children to be active and explore their surroundings. Create a list that includes things such as: Rocks, sticks, leaves, grass, litter, bugs, dirt, and feathers. Once they see the object, have them cross it off on their list but teach them to leave it as they found it, unless they find litter. Then, bring some gloves or a trash picker and encourage them to throw it away!
This Earth Day Sensory Play activity is a great way to allow your child to explore different textures and appreciate wildlife! Fill a large tub with shaving cream, mix in green and blue food coloring, and add different toy endangered animals to the bin. Teach your child about each different animal you put in the bin and tell them all about their habitat, diet, and what your child can do to help make sure that species lives on.
The Inspire Kids Montessori hopes you have a wonderful Earth Day!