I grew up participating in Girl Scouts and we did a lot of community service over the years. As an adult I continued to volunteer with college groups and other organizations. When I had children, I knew it was something I wanted to continue doing with them. With Earth Day this week, I wanted to share 5 ideas of things that you can do with toddlers and preschoolers to celebrate Earth Day and any day.
Participate in a Clean Up
Litter removal projects are the easiest way to get little ones involved. You’ll have to point out to little ones what to pick up but you can make it interesting by discussing the colors or shapes of what you are picking up. They also love to hold the trash bag so that is a task they can do as well. Another nice feature is that they are walking and moving around which gets them nice and tired for nap time.
Check with your local parks and recreation, county or state parks departments, or solid waste management district for opportunities in your community. Just make sure you are able to pick a location that is a good distance away from water and traffic.
Do a little research and find a little space to plant wild flowers or a butterfly garden this summer. It’s a great way to put those fine and gross motor skills to work scooping and dumping and placing seeds and flowers. You’ll also doing something good for the butterflies and insects and you’ll have a lot of garden visitors to discuss. It can also be a way to teach responsibility and an easy chore for little ones since they require some upkeep and maintenance. A lot of areas have somewhere that gives away tree seedlings this time of year.
Jack’s Garden is a children’s book with a nice overview of the process of how plants grow and the illustrations have labels insects, birds and flowers to use a guide as the season continues.
There are tons of project ideas out there for things to do with milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, and other items. You usually just need a few basic art supplies to create something useful. Check out Pintrest to get started.
Are your recyclables just sitting there waiting to be picked up? Why not play a little relay race? Depending on the age of your child, gather a variety of recyclable items and get a few boxes or containers. Label them “paper,” “metal,” and “plastic” either with words or pictures and place them a little distance away and encourage your child to sort the trash by running it over to the correct box. This can also be done with a group.
Make it a point to get out and visit your local parks. Not only does it get you out of the house and away from the TV and computer, but kids love exploring leaves and sticks and climbing on things. Just being out in nature can teach your children that it is important to maintain it. Plus, lots of parks have programs, for free or cheap, to teach about a variety of topics.
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