Earth Day and Arbor Day are coming up next week and provide the perfect opportunity to teach children of all ages about the importance of keeping our Earth happy and healthy. Even young kids can get into the spirit with a few of our simple tips for making your family’s life a little more green…
- Read. Books always provide the perfect way to introduce new concepts to children. Some of our favorites for this time of year are The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, The Earth Book by Todd Parr, My Bag & Me by Karen Farmer & Think Green by Jeanine Behr Gertz.
- Have children start a recycling program at home. Although you may already recycle, why not create an opportunity for your children to get involved? Even the youngest children love to sort and can help separate the plastic, glass, and paper and put it in the appropriately colored bins. But to make it more fun, perhaps you create a special recycleable art bin where you can put household items like old buttons, packing peanuts, egg cartons, paper towel tubes, etc. That way you’ve created a sustainable art lab for your own house and always have supplies on hand for projects. Older children who are doing homework and a lot of their own art should even have a paper recycling bin in their room.
- Make art. Creating green art masterpieces from your new sustainable art lab is a great way to illustrate the concept of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. But we also love to teach our students about the earth and the why it needs to be protected. We love to look at images of Earth from space and discuss the colors we see: blue for water, green for trees, brown and yellow for mountains and deserts and white clouds. We then create some of our own earths. Our favorites are:
- Marbled Shaving Cream Earths Prints: On a baking sheet or tray covered evenly with shaving cream, drop on blue and green food coloring, liquid watercolors or even acrylic paint. Next, swirl (but not too much) a toothpick, spoon or popsicle stick through the top of the shaving cream to create a marbled effect. Lastly, take white paper cut into a circle and gently press it on top. Wait 5 minutes then use a popsicle stick to wipe off shaving cream. You are left with a very cool marbled print!
- Coffee Filter Earths: Using a large coffee filter, have children color it with blue and green washable markers. When it has a lot of color on it, spray it with a water bottle until it is saturated and the colors bleed and swirl. When dry it looks like Earth. We then like to mount our on black paper and add stars.
- Marble Role Earths: The Earth is often called the Big Blue Marble. Using a pie pan with a piece of white paper cut to fit inside, drop marbles that have been in some blue and green paint into pan. Allow children to roll the pan around, shake it and great their own marbled Earth.
- Resistance Earths: On a precut circle, have children color with blue, green and white oil pastels. Then have them paint over it with blue watercolor. The oil will resist the water creating a really cool image of our planet. We like to add Earth Day stickers to it when dry.
- Decorate a reusable bag. Children of all ages love to help out at the grocery store. Why not work together as a family to always bring at least a few of your own bags. We love to give our students a canvas, resusable bag and some fabric markers or paints and let them create a one-of-a-kind bag that they can bring to the market every time they go.
- Go out and get involved. From beach and park clean-ups to planting trees, fundraisers and charitable events, all communities have opportunities for families to give back together. The most important thing to remember with children is the act of doing not just talking about it. For more information, the EPA is a great place to start. And though our Lighthouse Project at Shine we always try and provide age appropriate opportunities and activities for children and their families to give back to their community. For more information, contact us.
Happy Earth Day!
By Aaron Goldschmidt, Founder & Director, Shine