Did you know that April 22nd, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This is another mark in history in addition to being in quaratine during the pandemic. All parents and teachers are looking for ideas for Earth Day this year that can either be done digitally or something quick and easy with materials that can be found around the house.
This thought brings me to my first point of recycling. Earth day is mostly associated with recycling but I truly feel its connection with science, geography, math, botany and zoology. Below are some ideas that I put together with activities and projects we’ve shared with our students.
- Recycling Art: Ask your children to collect bottle tops from around the house or recycling bin. They can paint a piece of cardboard with their favorite color for the background and make a design on top using the bottle tops.
2. Assemblage: An assemblage is another form of recycling art. You may collect related or even unrelated products around the house to make your creation. Here the children put together various materials that included lids, tape dispensers, lost puzzle pieces, broken stationery pieces and more. At the end the assemblage was finished with spray paint to give it an artist’s touch.
3. Water Cycle: The importance of water is another factor that is associated with Earth Day. You may focus on this strand with a fun activity like introducing the water cycle. Depending on your children’s age you may either go for a shoebox diaorama or a watercycle in a ziplock bag. Adding blue food color to the ziplock makes it more fun for the children.
4. Layers of the Earth Lesson: Around Earth Day is the perfect time to present the lesson for Layers of the Earth. This can be followed up with various extension lessons. You may begin with the inner core using yellow play dough and making a round ball. Continue layering using orange for outer core, red for mantle and brown or grey for the crust of the Earth. Once your big ball of play dough layers is ready, you may cut it into half using a knife. We just completed Geography!
5. Gardening: Spring calls for some awesome gardening lessons. You do not need to have a big space to plant. Here the children learned about square-foot gardening. You can bring in your square-root lesson and there you have math right there while working on importance of Earth Day. The children can be introduced to square-root. You may explain to them that their wooden garden is 3 ft x 3 ft and has a total area of 9 square feet. Did we just teach them Geometry?
The children can also plant 9 vegetables, one in each square. You will just need to be mindful of using short rooted plants when using a small gardening place like this. Yayy! That was a Botany lesson right there!
6. Nature Art: Earth Day is a great reminder about our connection with nature. As I mentioned earlier that I associate this day with a lot of things including art. Andy Goldsworthy works with nature. The children can be introduced to his beautiful creations and we can use them as inspiration to help them gain a deeper understanding of this approach. Here the children are using rocks to make art in nature.
7. Leaf Art: This is one of the most simple and effective forms of art, easy enough for any age to enjoy. You may go for a nature walk and make a scavenger hunt list before leaving the house. You can use all your findings to make art once you are back home.
8. Ice Sun Catchers: Ice sun catchers bring a smile to everyone’s face in our class. These are very popular during summer camps. You may use your nature scavenger hunt items to make these. You will only need some yarn or ribbon, items from nature, water and food coloring (optional.)
Once you are ready to dangle the ice sun catcher in your yard. You may add some warm water to a water gun and try to melt it down. Record the melting time of each catcher. Voila! You just added science to your Earth Day.
9. Cleaning Creeks and Parks: Our school is located on 7.5 acres land with a beautiful creek flowing along the back of the building. Our students often volunteer to pick up litter from it and it is one of the most concerning activity for our students. Each year on Earth Day we collaborate with City of Plano and have children and parent volunteers clean the creek. It is one of our favorite community projects. Last year we were able to fill 15 trash bags with litter. You may volunteer with your children to clean your local parks.
10. Earth Day Pledges: This is one of my favorite things to do with the students. You will be pleasantly surprised at those young minds filled with so much wisdom. We always like to make pledges on ‘World Water Day’ and ‘Earth Day.’ Here are some ideas:
- Avoid using plastic bags.
- Use reusable ziplock bags for lunch.
- Plant a tree.
- Recycle milk bottles, cartons and cereal boxes.
- Use reusable water bottles instead of disposable ones.
- Avoid paper towels and use rags or hand towels.
- Pick up trash whenever we see it.
- Remember to use energy wisely.
These pledges are a good reminder that Earth Day is not only on April 22nd, but everyday! Lets pledge as parents and teachers to ‘Make Everyday, Earth Day!’