Earth Day is a great day to teaching your preschooler how to care for our beautiful world. Here are some easy, low-to-no-prep activities that can help introduce to your child the concepts of recycling and reusing.
1) Borrow Books From the Library
If you're not the arts and crafts type, picking up some books about the Earth from the library is the easiest way to celebrate Earth Day! On the way to the library, you can even explain that libraries are a great example of how we reduce-reuse-recycle. Sharing books allows for fewer books to be produced and in turn, fewer trees get cut down!
Here are some great library picks:
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom - A New York Times Bestseller, this is a story about a young girl who fights to protect Earth's most sacred resource when a black snake threatens to poison her people's water and destroy the world
Earth Ninja: A Children's Book about Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing by Mary Nhin - Just one book in the series of Ninja characters, follow along with Earth Ninja as she shows her friends how to recycling, reduce and reuse
Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration by Alyssa Satin Capucilli - A great pick for toddlers and your youngest reader, this book follow a sweet puppy named Biscuit as he helps a little girl take care of the world around her
Save the Ocean (Save the Earth) by Bethany Stahl - The first story in the Save the Earth series, this is an award-winning book featuring Kaleisha the mermaid and Agwe the turtle that teaches about plastic pollution and a heartwarming lesson of conservation
2) Sort Recycling and Garbage
This sorting game by No Time For Flash Cards is a great way to introduce the difference between garbage and recycling. All you need are 2 containers, index cards or cardstock, scissors, tape/glue and a magazine.
First, sift through the magazine and cut out different recyclable and nonrecyclable items (depending on the age of your child, you can prepare it ahead of time or have them do this extra step). Then, glue/tape each item's photo to the cardstock or index card. After that, you create simple one recycle and one garbage sign and put each of them in each container.
To play, you have your child take each index card or card stock containing the photo of the item and sort them into either the garbage or recycling container. You may find your kid asking whether everything in your house is recyclable or not after playing this game!
The no-prep version of this "game" would be to have your child actually assist you on throwing away garbage in your house and sorting the recycling. Sounds like a win-win activity, right?!
3) Go on a Walk, Make Art
This is another easy one that only requires going for a walk, cardstock or cardboard, and glue/tape. Go on a walk around the neighborhood with your little one and tell them to collect interesting leaves, branches, sticks, flowers on the ground, and other natural materials you may stumble across.
When you get home, lay them out on the table and tell them to create their own work of art (bonus points if the collage depicts an Earth scape)! If you're extra ambitious, you can pull out the paint and paintbrushes and let them paint the materials too!
4) Visit a National Park (Virtually!)
Even if you're not planning a vacation this week (or this year!) or you don't live near a national park, you can still introduce your child to the beauty of our national parks... virtually! Many parks actually offer virtual visits - check out the list here! Now you can take in the view of the Grand Canyon or even check out some Hawaiian volcanoes!
5) Grow Seeds in an Egg Carton
If you don't have a green thumb, gardening just sounds messy, time consuming and plain hard. But this is a great and easy way to grow seedlings inside your home! All you need is an egg carton, potting soil and seed packets that you can purchase at your local grocery store (and a plastic bag to keep the entire container warm before the seeds sprout!).
You can teach your kids that using an egg carton for the seed tray is a great use of reusing materials. Pro tip: Before putting soil in each egg cup, cut the top half of the egg carton off to use on the bottom of each carton. Then poke holes in the bottom of each egg cup to provide drainage so moisture and drain out and fill the lid underneath.
Once you fill the cup with potting soil, plant the seeds to the proper depth and water the container so that it is moist (but not soaking!).
Easy seeds to start with for your preschooler include sunflowers, marigolds and zinnias.
Waking up early to the sound of your toddler screaming “Mama!” at 5am is not exactly the most peaceful way to start your day.
Early morning wake-ups are a very common challenge that parents face, and they can also be one of the most frustrating issues to fix. Many toddlers get stuck in a cycle of waking up early that they can’t seem to break out of.
But the good news is that there are a few ways you can help curb this cycle, and it starts with understanding why it happens in the first place.