Tag Archives: Environment

Trouble-Free Preschooler Activities for Earth Day

14 Apr

shutterstock_181400948.jpg

Observed annually on April 22nd, Earth Day is a celebration of environmental protection and conservation. One month into spring, Earth Day is the perfect time to get your little ones outside and learning. Use this day (or even week) to discuss how your family can play a part in protecting the Earth that we inhabit. Here are some excellent ideas that can help you turn fun in the sun into impactful lifetime of learning!

Rain and Shine

In order to explore conservation, your child must first understand why the Earth is so important to protect. A great place to start is with nature discovery. While exploring, explain the special relationship that humans have with nature and how we interact and depend on one another. Consider these activities:

  • Take a nature walk with a fun twist. Give your child pictures of items to find (like a rock, 3 types of flowers, a pinecone, etc.) for an afternoon of nature scavenger hunting.
  • Cook up a mud pie! Get messy while mixing up different types of dirt for a fun, sensory loaded activity. Try including as many different materials such as sand, rocks, and leaves into your pie “ingredients”.
  • Explore the water cycle with the Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table™. Your child can make it rain again and again with this fun cause and effect STEM activity.
  • Turn your nature walk finds into a nature collage. Use an old egg carton to organize and protect your new collection.
  • Create beautiful art with leaves! Paint various leaves and use them to stamp their designs onto paper or even a canvas.

shutterstock_226983934

Love the Earth and It’s Creatures

Once your child has had a fun introduction to nature, it’s time to explore some of the Earth Day themes. From pollution to animal conservation, there is plenty to discover and themes to tailor to your child’s interests.

  • Play “can it be recycle?” by hunting around the kitchen and explaining what and how different materials can be recycled. Bonus! Practice sorting their discoveries based on the material.
  • Introduce upcycling by including them in a small project or craft that includes recycled and repurposed materials.
  • Create a small garden just for them. Use the Eco-Friendly Indoor Gardening Kit and the Watering Can with Shovel and Rake to create a special space for them to explore the growing process.
  • Give the earth an actual hug with the Hugg-A-Planet® Earth.
  • Discuss animal conservation while cuddling with the Baberoo Sea Turtle Plush or playing with the Polar Animals Set.
  • Create a bird feeder by repurposing a paper towel tube with peanut butter and birdseed.
  • See an Earth Day movie! We suggest the Disneynature series which premiers a new film every Earth Day. If you see it opening week they will make a donation to World Wildlife Fund.
  • Chow down on Earthy dirt cups! Your child will love the crush cookie “dirt”, chocolate pudding “mud”, and brightly colored gummy “worms”. Simply mix chocolate pudding to create a mud base, crush Oreos to form a dirt crust, and insert gummy worms for a buggy surprise!

However you choose to celebrate Earth Day, we would love to hear about it on our social or in the comments below!

Get Green: St. Patrick’s Day Fun at Home!

9 Mar

3.9 St. Patricks Day.jpg

It’s mid-March: that time of year when kids start looking for little leprechauns under the couch and pinching each other for not wearing green. Be sure to bring some of the St. Patty’s day fun home with these creative and exciting activities!

Gifts for the Leprechauns – Kids love the stories of leprechauns: little Irish magicians who like to steal things and leave gold in their wake. Encourage children to make these green troublemakers small gifts, like figurines made from craft dough or cookies. When they leave the gifts out for the leprechauns, swap them for a sprinkle of green or gold glitter and watch the wonder in your little one’s eyes as they discover the change.

Go GREEN – Get environmental by planting some greenery or flowers in a mini greenhouse. Or set up a hanging bird feeder and attract the birds to the yard, just like gifts attract leprechauns. These will both decorate the yard for St. Patty’s Day and help kids learn a bit more about the environment. For songs and more activities, try reading a Going Green book. Get kids both excited about engaging with the environment around them and protecting the blue and green planet they live on! Be sure to check out the Kaplan Toys Blog for more environmentally friendly activities.

Green Eggs and Ham – It doesn’t have to be eggs and ham, but adding some food coloring to the milk in morning cereal, pudding in kids’ lunchboxes, or in the mashed potatoes at dinner can add an extra level of fun to a seemingly average afternoon. Read the classic Dr. Seuss tale for an added bonus!

Gratitude Treasure – Have children cut their own pot of gold and coins out of construction paper but on each gold coin, have them write or draw something they think is a treasure. Is it their sibling? Favorite food? Playing ball? Encourage kids to find the real gold in life and hang the result on the wall or the refrigerator to remind them that whether they’ve got a little leprechaun in their pocket or not, they’re lucky all times of year!

shutterstock_330123125.jpg

Go to www.kaplantoys.com for more ideas, crafts and materials.

Going Green on St. Patrick’s Day!

17 Mar

shutterstock_8901697

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We are all aware of the fascination with shamrocks, pots of gold, and tiny bearded men who look resemble certain characters on cereal boxes that come along with the holiday. But instead of focusing on leprechauns, we wanted to take a moment to consider something more important: the color green! Of course, by observing all things green, we mean the way we approach the environment. With factors like climate change, pollution, and water quality surrounding us daily, it’s important to make young children aware of how to be environmentally conscious. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!

Here are a few simple things you can do around your home to teach your children to go green on St. Patrick’s Day!

shutterstock_131815961

1. Breathe Easy by Planting Inside or Out!

-Teaching kids the importance of trees and plants as oxygen providers is important not only in that it contributes to their eventual understanding of photosynthesis, but it will also help them to appreciate giving back to the environment. Keeping plants inside is always a great way to teach kids about plant care and they can even produce the added bonus of home-grown veggies!

2. Color Coded Recycling Bins

-Sorting trash into plastics, paper, glass and cardboard are great ways to teach your little ones about recycling. You can even make it more fun by assigning colors to each and using it as an opportunity to teach children their colors. There are tons of recycling songs to sings as you do your part together to go green.

3. Borrow Books Instead of Buying

-Going to the library is always an adventure for young kids. Libraries become magical places as children stumble across books shared by other people. By borrowing, you can teach children how they are limiting waste, as opposed to going to the book store to buy titles new.

4. Make Your Mondays Meatless!

shutterstock_42525034

-Get with your kids and look up their favorite vegetarian recipes online. Not only can you cook together, but you can cut down on consumption while you’re doing so. Explain to your kids that through not eating meat on Mondays, you’re helping to cut down on greenhouse emissions.

5. Waste Not!

-Make sure you kids know to turn off the water while they brush their teeth and to turn off the lights when they aren’t using them. You can also do little things like using dish towels instead of paper towels, reusable water bottles intend of plastic water bottles, and make cards from home instead of buying them. The possibilities are endless when you look around your house for ways to minimize waste.

shutterstock_66900883

6. The Green Games

-The biggest way you can help your child to go green is through teaching them about things like pollution and what little things they can do every day to stop waste. A great way to make them aware of environmental problems and solutions is through playing green games. There are plenty of online resources where green learning becomes fun and easy. (Not to mention the added bonus of technology integration!) Here is a great resource for online learning for kids: http://www.edge-gogreen.com/home/green-kids2/

We hope you enjoyed the small ways to go green on St. Patrick’s Day and found it more rewarding than the motivation to pinch someone! You can find even more ways to reduce your carbon footprint by checking out the green resources below. Thank you for playing your part in sustainable living and passing it on to the next generation, after all, that’s a pot of gold to look forward to in itself!

Resources: