Monday, April 17, 2023
Hello Everyone! Welcome Back to Our Grand Lives!
We hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter celebration
and that spring has sprung in your neck of the woods!
Last week was such a welcome change with sunshine and 80 degree temps...
we thought spring was finally on its way!
Sadly, here in Minnesota, WINTER attempted a return this weekend!
Yet, we are going to keep telling ourselves that Spring is just around the corner…
We both enjoyed our week away from the blogging world!
Yet, we both are eager to get going once again
as we share our thoughts and experiences as
retired kindergarten teachers now embracing our roles
as first time grandmas!
We love sharing simple ways to engage with these precious little ones in our lives
as well as ways to support and celebrate life with our own grown children,
while also fully appreciating this new stage of life!
THANKS FOR JOINING US ON THIS JOURNEY!
Springtime is such a wonderful time of the year to spend with children
and neither of us can think of anything more fun than
sharing the beauty of nature with our grandkids,
or, as we call them in this blog, our Littles.
This week our focus is Earth Day and
simple but meaningful ways we can experience it with our Littles!
Earth Day is just around the corner!
It takes place this coming Saturday and it is the perfect opportunity
to share with our Littles
hands-on ways to help and celebrate our beautiful planet, Earth!!
This annual event, which began in 1970, takes place each April 22.
Its focus is to remind us of ways to care for our environment and help it thrive!
The theme for Earth Day 2023 is
Invest in Our Planet.
What a befitting message
as it also reflects our investment,
in our own children’s and grandchildren’s futures!
It is never too early to start teaching Littles
about our planet and ways we can help protect and preserve it!
These 5 ideas are all suited for families or grandparents/grandkids to do together and many are appropriate for school-aged, preschool or even toddler Littles… be sure to check out our Toddler Tips along the way!. Each idea shared will provide a fun and engaging way to celebrate Earth Day together!
#1 - Earth Day Clean Up!
This is probably the most basic and simple Earth Day activity yet it can have a huge impact, especially if taken on as a family!! Head outside and clean up your yard, your neighborhood, a nearby park or any outside area you choose! You could also check your local newspaper or city website to see if there is a community clean up scheduled that your family could participate in! Grab a big bag for your group or enough smaller bags so that each person has one. If you have gloves, bring them, too and then go in search of litter! You could have a contest to see who picks up the most trash. You can sort the litter collected, putting trash in one bag and recyclables in another! As an added incentive, you could set a timer (5 or 10 minutes) and see who finds the most items, the biggest item or the most unusual item! Happy hunting!
Kindergartners cleaning out storm drains in their community.
Toddler Tip! Even your littlest walking Littles will love contributing to this clean up! They will love holding their own bag as you add litter to it or you can point to an object on the ground and ask your Little to pick it up! Tell them “Let’s keep the earth clean!”
#2 - Make an Earth Day Suncatcher Together!
This suncatcher is a wonderful reminder of Earth Day and so simple to create! It does require some prep ahead of time though, so beware of that! Depending on the age of your Little, he or she may need some extra guidance from you.
2 pieces of clear contact paper (about 12” in size)
1 piece black construction paper (to be cut into a circle frame)
Small pieces of green & blue tissue paper, cut to about 1” or so)
OPTIONAL - Piece of ribbon, twine or string (to hang your suncatcher)
Prep Ahead of Time:
Make a circle frame out of the black paper, as shown above.
If not done yet, cut the tissue paper into small pieces, about 1”.
Peel 1 sheet of clear contact paper.
Place the paper STICKY SIDE UP!
Place the black circle frame in the center of the sticky contact paper.
Now let your Little(s) have fun adding the tissue paper squares inside the black frame, filling the space. Your Little(s) can overlap the squares, filling as much of the area inside the frame as possible. As your Little(s) work, help them as needed and spend time talking about how this project reminds us of our planet Earth, with the green squares for the land covering the Earth and the blue ones representing the water!
Once the frame is completely filled with tissue paper, peel the second piece of contact paper and place the STICKY SIDE DOWN on top of the tissue paper pieces. This will seal all the papers in place.
Then trim around the frame, cutting away the excess contact paper. As an optional final step, you can punch a hole at the top of the project and add a string for hanging OR you can simply tape the artwork to a window as we did. (Please ignore the dusting of snow in the background... we are doing our best to do so! 😳)
Such a lovely reminder of our beautiful planet!
Toddler Tip! As mentioned above, your littlest Littles may need some extra guidance when completing this activity. We suggest putting out 2-3 tissue paper squares at a time so your toddler can manage the materials without getting overwhelmed. Add additional tissue paper squares as they are used.
#3 - Sort Waste Together!
This was a powerful activity that Laura did each year with her kindergarten class. We’d lay out a big waterproof tablecloth or piece of plastic and then dump our class waste cans on the floor. We’d then sort the items into different piles - those with items we could (1) reuse or (2) recycle or (3) compost. After sorting this way, we’d see how much we actually had left to throw away. Everyone was always amazed at how much of our waste was reduced by doing this!
Imagine doing this activity with your grandkids, using your own weekly trash to do so! You could even take it a step further and sort the recycled pile into different groups - plastic, paper, metal and glass! And… if you compost, be sure to show your Littles your set up! They will be so intrigued by it all! As an extended activity challenge yourselves to a “Zero Waste Contest” between households and check in on each others’ progress each week!
Toddler Tip! Start simply with recycling and have your Little sort 2 or 3 items - for example, paper and cans. Tell them in easy terms that a big machine will make them into new cans and paper and Earth will be happy!
#4 - Create a Recycled Art Gallery!
This fun and simple activity will stretch your LIttles’ imaginations! All you need is clean recyclable items from around your house. Check out your recycling bin to see what you have! Give each Little 3-5 items and encourage them to build - anything - everything! Let their imaginations soar!
Some suggestions for items are boxes (empty food boxes, toothpaste, Kleenex, etc) cans, plastic bottles or milk jugs, paper towel or toilet paper tubes, large sheets of newspaper. The list goes on!
Your Littles will also need tape (masking tape seems to work the best), glue or glue sticks, markers, crayons, construction paper (and perhaps help with a stapler)!
Toddler Tip! Give your toddler some empty boxes and let them stack and play with them. Provide some little people or animals to put in the boxes.
#5 - Go on an Earth Day Scavenger Hunt Together!
Enjoy the return of warmer temperatures and all it brings by taking a walk outside with your Little(s)! You can look for things that recognize Earth Day!. Feel free to use the graphic here to lead you on your journey or come up with your own list, giving your Littles one item to hunt for at a time!. You could also take photos of items found!
Mind you, please do not take items from their natural habitat… unless they are considered litter, of course!
Toddler Tip! Print out your pictures (plain paper is fine) and staple them into a little book so you can look at them together. What a wonderful vocabulary builder!
We’ve gathered our favorite online ideas for you to explore…
Just tap the link or video highlighting each option to learn more!
🌎 Earth Day STEM Projects!
If your Littles are older and looking for a project to do they might enjoy one of these Science, Technology, Engineering or Math possibilities!
5 Recycling STEM Challenges for Earth Day
from Carly & Adam
Earth Day Water Science Experiment for Kids STEAM
from Little Bins Little Hands
Earth Day STEM Activities to Inspire Kids to Care for
from Schooling a Monkey
🌎 Happy Earth! Directed Drawing Fun!
This activity is for those older Littles who love to draw! It’s a directed drawing lesson that is simple enough that your preschool and older Littles could be successful with it! You could either watch the video below and then do the activity with your Littles step by step OR you could watch the video together, stopping the video after each direction to give your Little(s) time to complete each task.
🌎 Exercise on Earth Day!
If your Littles need an activity to get the wiggles out, this one fits the bill… celebrating Earth Day at the same time!
🌎 A Few of Our Favorite Stories to Share on Earth Day!
You all know how much we love snuggling up with our Littles and a good story! Here are 5 of our favorite children’s books that celebrate Earth Day! (We’ve provided two links for each book - one providing details about the book from Amazon and the other, a Youtube read along option!)
by Mercer Mayer (All Ages)
by Todd Parr (All Ages)
I Can Save the Earth by Alison Inches (All Ages)
by Dr. Seuss (All Ages)
Thank You, Earth A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre (Elementary Age)
As you can see, there are A LOT of Earth Day resources
to share with your Littles!
However, the MOST IMPORTANT resource you can share with those Littles
is your own love and appreciation of this planet we call home… Earth! ♥️
While we always look forward to celebrating Earth Day - in past years with a classroom filled with eager 5 year olds and now as Grands to our curious Littles, we also know that the focus of Earth Day must extend much, much further - into our daily lives! We each have a voice and a responsibility to help take care of our Earth! By investing our time, energy and efforts into protecting our planet and conserving its resources we can ensure that its beauty - God’s amazing creation - is here for future generations to come! Sounds like the best kind of investment to us!
Poster Credit to PBTeen
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We’ll be back on Thursday with an edible way to celebrate Earth Day
with your favorite people, of course!
Wishing you all a blessed week ahead!
We are happy to join these link up parties and blogs:
Sundays on Silverado/A Pinch of Joy/ Grammy's Grid/ Your Moment Blog Hop
Random-osity/ Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop @ Ridgehaven Homestead
Modern on Monticello/ The Happy Now Blog Link-Up/ Inspire Me Monday
linda's lunacy, making a home/Pam's Party & Practical Tips