Earth Day is an important occasion. We celebrate ALL of us, how we HAVE to work together in order to be healthy and to, essentially, survive. One of the greatest things about “Gen-I”, a label the media has placed upon our children, is that words like “recycle” are common use, every day. Jack Johnson even sings a children’s song about the the 3Rs. Plus there are wonderful children’s books about the environment and our relationship to it. Still, though, how do we get our children to truly develop the habits necessary and required in today’s world?
Here are 3 tips good to keep in mind before embarking on this journey with your children. I collected these pieces of advice from wise people:
- Start young
- Talk about it a lot in every day activities like washing dishes, brushing teeth, grocery shopping, etc
- Use hands on activities to ingrain the importance and the meaning of the act of “saving the environment”, of “reducing, reusing and recycling”.
We can help children realize that each one of us has an opportunity in our own small way to contribute to the longevity and health of the environment.
So where do we start? I decided to start by having fun with the concepts. Here is a basic sorting activity, inspired by Allie at No Time for Flashcards, that we did in our home.
We used the following:
- Downloaded Montessori Printshop’s Recycling Matters Cards for $4
- Printed the cards in color on white card stock
- Cut the cards to size
- Laminated the cards for safe keeping
- To be a bit more hands on, I also threw in items from our pretend play kitchen like a “soda can”, cucumber, egg carton, ketchup bottle, etc.
Before we officially began this activity (and honestly before I had laminated all the cards), we sat down on the floor together and sorted the images into metal, glass, plastic, compost and other. Nothing melts a mama’s heart more than hearing her almost three year old say, “don’t throw these in the trash. we take them to other place to recycle,” when speaking about an image of batteries. There is a future, folks, and I am hearing it loud and clear.
I also threw in a few “real” items at the end!
Remnants of fruit from our afternoon snack.
He loved that part of it, mostly because he knew the answer with confidence.
I am proud of my son. Children are amazing and will absorb these concepts so deeply that these habits – of taking care of themselves and their environment – will last a lifetime.
Thank you for choosing to visit my blog today. I hope we inspired you.
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