As you know, Earth Day was last Sunday. I have always appreciated Earth Day but now, with two young children, the significance has newfound meaning. We celebrated with raw enthusiasm this year. As a finale, we hosted a “Celebrate the Earth” play date.
Here is a rough outline of what we did over about two hours: The kids began with a yoga session, followed by a “design your own reusable bag station”, then onto messy play in the back yard including two sensory bins and a footprint earth. We ended by bringing the group together for singing and story time.
Earth Day Message
Delivering a holistic message is my goal with this special celebration: Earth Day is about taking responsibility and care for your environment including the earth, our bodies, and the people in our lives.
Honoring Our Bodies :: Earth Day Yoga
We began with a yoga session for kids lead by a wonderful woman named Valerie. Yoga is part of our home. I am hopeful that a practice will become part of our daily routine. I wanted to share that with the kids.
Yoga, to me, teaches us or reminds us that taking care of the environment includes taking care of your body and your mind, and working hard to be present in our daily lives.
The idea that we can guide children to take deep breaths and to help blood flow into parts of the body that truly need it in order to remain balanced motivates and inspires me with the potential.
Earth Day Activity – Design Your Own Bag :: Reuse
Inspired by Modern Parents, Messy Kids, I ordered these very reasonably priced canvas bags and fabric markers but also supplied the kids with recycled materials such as corks and caps as well as baby carrots to use as decorative tools along with pain in designing their bags.
We used a small plastic pan (that I had been keeping from Trader Joe's mini pastry bites) for squirts of paint. I knew the pans would come in handy one day! I covered our dining table with paper shopping bags we had in our cabinet, taping it down securely with painter's tape. I left a few face and hand clothes for parents nearby if things got a bit messy. I am not ashamed to tell you that my son was the one who ended up painting his face.
Buying Locally :: Reduce
A big part of caring for the environment is taking care our bodies and reducing our footprint. Buying locally supports the local economy and growers, helps us feed our bodies well and reduces our footprint. So the morning on the day of the play date my son and I walked to our local farmer's market in search of some snacks to serve our guests. The night before I had driven to another local market to stock up on local fruit, vegetables and, yes, wine. We're lucky in Washington to have wonderful local wines.
Earth Day Sensory Tub – Bird and Planting Tubs :: Learning through the Senses
We love our sensory tubs with the textures, smells and colors! We had two at this play date.
The best part about a bird seed/critter feed tub is that the mess is minimal (if you are able to do it outside) because, you guessed it, nature will take care of the mess. Lovely. Here is what we included:
- Bird seed
- Critter feed
- Bird figurines
- Hand held pasta strainer to use for sifting
- Tablespoons and small bottles for the children to scoop and pour
Next we had a Plant A Garden Sensory tub. What I loved about this tub is how different it was from a previous Garden Sensory Tub we had a few weeks back.
Here is what we included in the Plant Your Garden Tub:
- Black beans and green lentils for texture and color
- Magnifying Glass
- Melissa & Doug's Sunny Patch Bag of Bugs
- Measuring cups and small bowls for scooping
- Watering Can
- Kids Sized Gardening Gloves
Earth Day Planting Seeds Activity :: Learning through Experience
Here is how I set it up: Inspired by “How A Seed Grows“, I gathered egg shells throughout the week and secured an egg carton to place the egg shells in for safe carrying. Bush beans are great to use with kids first gardening experience because the beans/seeds are big and the kids can easily handle and see them. Plus, the plant is relatively sturdy and upright. I set out a medium sized pot filled with soil along with a few small spoons to scoop the soil into the egg shell. Don't forget to poke a tiny hole in the bottom of the shell.
This activity didn't transpire as planned since the kids got to the activity before the adults. The seeds and egg shells ended up as part of the garden sensory tub. That's okay because 1) the kids enjoyed crumbling the shells and 2) it gave us an opportunity to weave in a composting lesson.
Earth Day Art :: Our Footprint on the Earth
I wanted a hands on way for the kids to understand the term “footprint” within the context of environmental friendliness. I was inspired by A Little Learning for Two‘s Footprint Earth. I decided to go individual though so that children could take home their footprint. So I purchased blue card stock, drew a circle to serve as the Earth and then had children dip their feet or hands into green paint.
Earth Day Dessert
I can't forget about the dessert. Inspired by Imagination Tree, these flower pot cupcakes were not only easy and delicious but made for a great take home gift.
Earth Day Songs & Story Time
I left copies with song lyrics on a table for parents to pick up either to use during the play date but more so to carry with them home. We were so fortunate to have my dear friend bring her guitar to play and sing Inch By Inch. I made time for songs at the end of our play date. Here is a FREE printable (very simple) out a few wonderful earth songs.
I wanted to end the date by allowing the children time to settle down and take some deep breaths. So we ended our date with a few of our favorite books celebrating the earth: Sophia's Dream and What Does It Mean to Be Green? These two books are produced by Little Pickle Press, a wonderful company whose main mission is to help educators and parents develop thoughtful people by writing children's books about meaningful topics that not only resonate with children but serve as great reminders to us adults!
Thank you for choosing to read this post today. I hope that we have inspired you.