Earth Day is just around the corner, and you might be thinking that your kiddo is too young to really understand the concept of Earth Day and all it encompasses. The truth is, kids probably understand the earth better than we do, and our job as parents is to keep that deep, inherent love for our planet alive in them as they grow up. People of every age can partake in the festivities and with Earth Day activities for preschoolers, your little one's mind is ready to soak in what you have to impart.
Of course, these are things you can do on basically any day, not just Earth Day. A big part of Earth Day is simply bringing care for our planet back to the forefront of our minds and everyday lives. As your kid gets more and more interested in the earth and how to protect it, Earth Day-type activities can become a part of your daily lives.
An easy way to bring awareness to kids about simple Earth-friendly practices is to narrate your daily habits. "I'm packing some water bottles for us, so we don't have to buy plastic ones later and create more garbage," or "Oops, somebody dropped their trash by accident, I'm going to grab it and put it in the closest trash can, so it doesn't end up hurting an animal." Not only will your child catch onto things they can do to help the earth, they'll also begin to see why it's important.
The following activities can help to ignite their passion and understanding for the earth, as well as how to take care of it.
1. Make Seed Bombs
Seed bombs are a cute and clever way to get kids involved in beautifying their neighborhoods. They're fairly easy to make and don't require a bunch of obscure ingredients, so they make a great project for kids to help out with.
To spread even more color, make a huge batch and package them up with a little note regarding Earth Day. Help your kids pass them out to your neighbors in order to share your message of protecting and preserving the earth.
2. Make Bird Feeders
There's a number of ways to make bird feeders at home using things like toilet paper tubes, pinecones, and even stale bagels. All of these projects are simple for tiny hands, and it's super exciting to stand watch and see what types of birds frequent your feeders.
You can take this activity a step further and make note of the colors and other physical features of the birds you see. Looking them up later in a book or online to learn more about them is sure to delight your budding nature lover.
3. Grow Vegetables From Vegetables
The process of propagating has taken over our house at the moment — my little guys are infatuated with the idea that you can grow new vegetables from their own scraps. Growing vegetables from vegetables is something that could not be easier, and it yields incredible conversation into the process of growth. It also brings kids great investment into vegetables, which, if you have a picky eater, might actually get them to try a few new things.
4. Start A Simple Herb Garden
Let's face it, there are few things kids like more than playing in dirt, and few things we, adults, like more than fresh herbs to cook with. Luckily, it's easy to combine those two loves, and create your own simple herb garden. The process of growing your own food from seeds is a terrific lesson for young kids who don't quite understand where and how our food comes to be (and a great activity for Earth Day, as all roads lead back to the earth).
5. Recycle Bin Sorting Activity
This is something I used to do with my preschoolers in the classroom. It's quick and easy way for kids to understand how recycling works and how to take ownership of that process in their own home.
To start, separate a bunch of your trash (be sure to clean items beforehand and take care to not use items with sharp edges), and include items that belong in the garbage can and all aspects of your recycling bin (paper, plastic, glass, etc.). Make simple labels for all of your trash receptacles so your kids are able to self-identify what goes where. Help them sort out the garbage and recycling into their respective bins, all while explaining the process of recycling and things we can do to create less trash.
In the days to follow, ask them for help when you need to throw things out in order to really cement the process in their minds.
6. Ocean Recycling Sensory Bin
The concept of pollution is often a little difficult for young kids to understand, but it's easier for them to understand when you connect pollution with something they love, like the ocean. Explaining how ocean pollution affects their beloved sea creatures can help younger kids understand how their actions affect other living things.
An ocean recycling sensory bin can bring that concept together. Using a tub of water (even a baby pool if you're outside, bathtub or large Tupperware if you're inside), some food/bath colors, and some ocean animal toys, create a faux-ocean. Next, add the trash (use clean and not-sharp items, as described in the previous activity).
While talking to your kids about how pollution can affect the ocean and its animals, help them clear your faux-ocean of garbage. Take the activity a step further and have them sort the garbage and recycling, as in the previous activity.
Let them play in their clean faux-oceans afterwards — it'll help them understand, on their own level, how awesome a clean ocean can be.
7. Read Together
Books and reading aloud is a great way for kids to join in the conversation and understand concepts that they may not be familiar with. Luckily, there is no shortage of great Earth Day-appropriate books for young kids.
Some of our favorites include Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, The EARTH Book by Todd Parr, Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers, Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty, and Charlie and Lola: We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers by Lauren Child.
8. Go Outside
There's nothing that really beats this activity. Earth Day, and everyday, make a point of going outside. Sure, sometimes it's cold, it's wet, it's rainy, it's too hot. But I've never met a kid that doesn't want to be outside in any of those conditions. Prepare for the weather, drink lots of water, and take some time to enjoy the earth.
Splash in puddles with your little ones, teach them how to climb trees, explore with them, talk about plants, point out shapes in the clouds, and lay in the grass with bare feet. Enjoying the outdoors and truly showing your kids how to love it is the absolute best thing you can do with, and for, your kids to instill a kindness for nature.
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