Investigate The Earth

Get Outside!


If the weather permits I am urging you to go outside and enjoy this beautiful world today. There are so many things we rush past or fail to notice and if we show down, and look at it through our kid’s eyes, we’ll learn something and so will they. Today I want to show my son why we want and need to save our environment by appreciating what we have.

Nature Detectives

It’s amazing when you introduce a simple tool like a magnifying glass how outside time changes.

We looked at bugs.

We looked at weeds

We looked at flowers

If you want you can make a small notebook for your child to record or draw what they saw on their nature walk. I chose to skip that and spend the time talking about it with my son over a picnic lunch. Each time he told me what he found he’d jump up to show me exactly where in our backyard he found it.

Happy Earth Day

For More Outside Ideas
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Earth Day Musical Activity

Earth Tambourine !
We have been talking a lot about planet earth and music at our house. I decided to mix the two together to celebrate the earth with some home spun music. I used ribbon to secure the two plates together but if I could have found my stapler, I would have used it. Stapling is by far the best way in my opinion to keep the plates together.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 paper plates,something to make some sound ( bigger is better- pasta, O cereal) some green crayons, blue paint, a large brush or sponge( we used this sponge because my son saw it and he insisted, a regular sponge would work great), a stapler or a hole punch and ribbon.
  2. Give your child the plates and have them draw the land of the earth with green crayons. They need to press hard for the wax to be think enough for the paint to be repelled. After I showed my son how to press hard and make the green dark he was good to go. Do both plates.
  3. Cover the plates with the blue paint.The paint should be repelled from the wax, if the paint is covering it, just blot it with a paper towel. Do the 2nd plate, let dry.
  4. If you are doing the ribbons for securing the plates, punch the holes in both plates at the same time, make sure the holes are close enough together that the stuff inside doesn’t fly out.
  5. Put the pasta or cereal Os inside ( I’m using cereal Os because they were left out after an unfinished snack yesterday and I thought that is a perfect example of not wasting! ).
  6. Tie the plates together with the ribbons. Or if you are stapling, now is the time!
  7. Make some music and celebrate our wonderful world!

Books!

” The Adventures Of A Plastic Bottle “ by Alison Inches is awesome! I only wish that my son was old enough to enjoy it as much as I did. It’s not aimed at 2 year olds at all, but he did like to open it to the page with the recycling truck and point out all the parts to me. The book itself takes the reader through the complete process from crude oil, to bottle and then to synthetic fleece. I am not too proud to admit I learned s a few new things and had a few good laughs along the way with the books little bits of humor too. I think most 5 year olds would enjoy this book, and it’s easy to break it down for those unable to sit for this much text. Also the book was printed on 100% post consumer waste paper.

“It’s Earth Day” by Mercer Mayer . In this book in the Little Critter series, we follow along as Little Critter tries to make a climate change machine to reverse the effects of global warming. Along the way other green choices are explained like taking the school bus instead of each child being driven in their own cars, not letter water run, and the three Rs.

“BIG EARTH, Little Me “ by Thom Wiley is a cute introduction into an environmental theme for toddlers. The book is a lift the flap format and the pages are extra sturdy for fumbly toddler fingers. I love the illustrations by Kate Endle they bring the super simple text to life, and get across the point that even little kids can help the earth.

Earth Day Inspired – Letter Of The Week !

Tree T !


So this was not quite what I imagined in my perfectly optimistic head, but my son liked it, after doing it we were reading a book that had trees in it and he said “Look mama, T for Tree!” I wanted to make it from mostly recycled materials, to stick with the Earth Day theme we will be doing all week. Below I have linked a reader submitted spring tree craft that would be a great add on to this activity!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a cardboard egg carton, green and brown paint, glue, scissors, a marker and a large piece of construction paper.
  2. Start by drawing a large T on your paper.
  3. Cut a long piece of the cardboard off the top of the egg carton for the trunk.
  4. Paint the trunk brown
  5. Paint the bottom of the egg carton green, for older kids I would cut them before painting, but little guys need to have a larger object to paint.
  6. Let the paint dry.
  7. When the paint is dry enough to handle cut the egg carton into “Leaves” aka smaller pieces.
  8. grab the glue and add glue to the bottom of the T
  9. Add the painted trunk
  10. Add glue to the top
  11. Add the egg carton leaves.
  12. Let dry.
Books!

” the alphabet tree” by Leo Lionni is a stunning book. The book is all about letters that come together to make words and then after a caterpillar informs them that they need to say something they join together to make sentences. Up to this point the book is a brilliant teaching tool , but for me the best part is yet to come. When the words get together they decide to say ” Peace on earth goodwill toward all men” and then the caterpillar asks them to jump on his back so he can take the words to the president . Considering it was written in 1968 it’s quite the statement. A fantastic activity to do with your child after reading this would be to ask them what they would write to the president ? For younger children using letters on leaves you could spell out easy 3 letter words like they do early on in the story. All in all a brilliant book.

Chicka Chicka abc by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is a favorite. A lot of parents are familiar with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom but not this shorter board book version that is perfect for young toddlers . I started my son with this one and moved on to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at about 2. The colors are so bright even the youngest of babies will like it and the rhythm of the text will keep toddlers going too!


“Up , Up, Down” by Robert Munsch is a cute and funny story about a little girl who climbs and climbs and falls and falls! She decides to climb to the very top of the tree. This time she doesn’t fall and doesn’t come down until it’s time to lecture her parents withe their own words. Kids love this book, it’s silly , it’s about climbing and has giant band aids in it, what kid wouldn’t love it?

Additional Activity
Sent In By You


Isn’t this beautiful?
Bring a little of the outdoors in , and reuse bubble wrap with this adorable spring bud craft !
Pop over to The Entertaining House for the full how to.

Animal Track Painting

I can’t even remember what inspired this, I know my son thought of it but I can’t remember now what preceded me saying ” How about making animal tracks?”. All I remember is that he bounded to the table, which is not always the case . This is a fast project, to stretch it out introduce new paint colors , new animals and more paper one at a time.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fun toy animals, a plate, paper,markers and paint.
  2. If you want you or your child can draw some scenery.
  3. Spread some paint on your plate and dip your animal in.
  4. Start making some tracks.
  5. Add the next paint color and more paper if you want and keep going.
* After we painted we went for a walk outside and pretended to look for and follow animal tracks. We tippy toed for mouse tracks , hopped for bunny tracks and stomped around the patio when we “found” elephant ones. *Books !



Animaliaby Graeme Base is iconic in teaching circles, you can loose yourself for hours in the detailed illustrations. The book is an alphabet book on steroids! Each page had a wonderful paragraph in each letter such as for the letter L ” Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.” The pages are filled to the gills with pictures of things that start with that letter as well. Parents and kids a like will fall in love!

“Peek-a-Zoo!”by Marie Torres Cimarusti is a vibrant lift the flap book that goes through sounds different animals make while playing peek a boo with the reader. What I like about this book is that the flaps offer a chance for your baby or toddler to anticipate what animal it hiding as well as the sound , so it grows with them. Also the flaps are large enough that little hands can grab them and won’t get frustrated.
“Is Your Mama a Llama? “ by Deborah Guarino is a classroom favorite, I don’t know many preschool teachers who can’t recite most of this book . Readers follow Lloyd the llama as he riddles his way through a bunch of animals until he find the one he calls mom. I like the mix of animals in this book, a little different than your average zoo or farm collection.

Recycled Box Town

Recycle Town!
We are all about being frugal and recycling at our house and after a certain someone got a new recycling truck for going potty consistently we decided to make a recycled town for the new truck to drive around. This has been a big hit with my son, and because the store fronts can be changed up, or just taken off the boxes can be used to play store , for another craft or finally make their way into the blue bin at the end of your drive way.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cereal boxes, and smaller boxes ( like mac and cheese, or cracker boxes), scissors, markers, and tape. You will need a box and a half for each building. Don’t forget your recycling truck!
  2. Start by talking with your child and deciding what to draw, I drew our buildings but if your child wants to , go for it! My son decided on a church, fire station and the aquarium. Make as many or as few buildings as you wish.
  3. Open up the cereal boxes and draw inside.
  4. Have your child color the buildings if you drew them.
  5. While they color, draw some roadway.
  6. Hand them the road way when they are done with the buildings and let them at it !
  7. Cut out the buildings and roadway.
  8. Tape store fronts to the full boxes.
  9. PLAY!

Song!


My Backyard!

Don’t throw your junk in my backyard,
my backyard,
my backyard ,
Don’t throw your junk in my backyard,
my back yard’s full!

Rocks and trees and butterflies
butterflies,
butterflies,

Rocks and trees and butterflies

Dirt and leaves and bugs!’

Don’t throw your junk in my backyard,
my backyard,
my backyard,
Don’t throw your junk in my backyard ,
my backyard’s full!



Books !

” The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute ( anymore) “ by Stan and Jan Berenstain provides an excellent overview of a whole bunch of concerns for our world. It touches on recycling, deforestation, air pollution and more. The text would be far too long for the younger crowd but Pre-K on up would be an appropriate age range.


” The Whole Green World”
by Tony Johnston is a celebration of the Earth and it’s beauty. The text is short enough to hold young children’s attention and the illustrations by Elisa Kleven are bright and so detailed you will fall in love! I think it’s important to teach our children to see the beauty of the Earth, especially when we are teaching them to conserve it!