Do you know what I’m going to say about Earth Day?
Yep! I know you do! “No saving anything!” “No tragedies before 4th grade!” “We must let children love the Earth before we ask them to save it!” You’ve heard it from me before, but Earth Day is just another good reminder.
Just play outside! Keep it simple!
We cannot burden children and adolescents with disasters if we want them to care at all about preservation. All we do is foil our good intentions when we present Earth “issues” all the time. Children want to have fun, teenagers want to know there is an awesome world out there waiting for them to become adults in–which there is! In time, with a careful balance of developmentally appropriate ecological education and wonder filled connecting experiences, they will understand the importance of their actions on the health of the Earth and will be inspired to act in socially and environmentally conscious ways. Trust the beauty and joy that connection with nature brings. It will work. It has been proven over centuries of naturalists lives.
Build a scarecrow, or as we like to call this person, a “green gardner”
Time in my grandpa’s garden and fun family trips to the mountains and the ocean are what inspired me to work for environmental preservation and live consciously, not some adult harping on me to recycle and telling me how screwed up everything will be if we don’t stop driving cars. No one likes a prophet of doom. Connection inspires action, so spend this Earth Day doing something fun in nature that builds happy memories and connections with the Earth.
Listen to the shadows and all the little things
So, as Earth Day quickly approaches, what do you have planned? Are there events in your community or school that you and the children in your life will be participating in? Do they center around enjoying and appreciating nature or do they want you to save something, learn more about pollution, conserve energy and water, or something along those lines? (All important things, but not at the expense of connection and wonder.) If the Earth Day events don’t inspire wonder, if they push the children beyond their developmentally appropriate level of understanding, may I suggest canceling them? That probably sounds crazy, but why not? Plans change all the time, no biggie.
10 Ways Not to Save anything for Earth Day! Hooray!
(And make incredibly positive short and long term impacts)
1. Have picnic outside in the schoolyard with blankets for lounging and cloud watching after eating,
2. Make a nature based art project outside,
3. Explore a nearby unique local habitat like a marsh, forest, beach, or desert,
4. If you have a school garden prepare a delicious meal, if you don’t have one, plant one,
5. Go on a schoolyard bird walk and see how many species of birds you find, invite a naturalist along
At Home: (Spending time in nature together is the key on this one.)
1. Cook a dinner together and count how many local or home grown ingredients you use,
2. Build a fort in the backyard together,
3. Learn how to climb a tree together,
4. Play in a creek or some type of nearby nature water and get dirty together,
What do you have planned for Earth Day and will you be changing it up? Let us know!!
Seeds to Sprout:
If the links above weren’t enough to get you going, here are some more specific Earth Day links for you!
Earth Day is Tuesday April 22. Validate spending the school day outdoors to your administrators and parents by registering your Earth Day events at EarthDay.org. If you choose to use some of their activities in this educator’s link, be sure that you frame them in a no pressure way. Remember they must love the Earth if they are going to want to save it – No Ecophobia!!!
Awesome Huffington Post article on wonder inspiring ways to celebrate Earth Day in schools. See I’m not the only one saying this!!
Many activities for families to do on Earth Day from Family Education. Seriously there at least 20 ideas with instruction links
*****Special!! Show your teachers how much you appreciate all they do this Teacher Appreciation Week is May 5-9! Use the coupon code ilovemyteacher2014 in the Etsy shop at check out now through May 16 and get a 10% discount on the book and consultations!*******
Exploring the morning dew on a collard is super interesting for an infant. Remember to slow down to the child’s pace. It is all new for them and I bet you will discover something new too!