One of the major reasons we decided to homeschool was because my partner and I thought it was imperative that our children understand science. Like, really have scientific knowledge and the ability to think with with a healthy amount of skepticism. We didn’t want them shielded from politicized issues, because quite frankly, genetics, reproduction, and climate change aren’t political. Or at least they don’t have to be, if you understand the scientific method and what it means within the science community to reach a consensus. Environmental issues are often a glib or a neglected topic.
Earth Day in our house is a near daily topic, but I wanted to celebrate it with the rest of the world and we (the kids and I) came up with a fun activity! Today is extra special since this year’s Earth Day coincides with the first-ever March for Science! Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend a march, but maybe we will in the future.
-Start off with a book that has an environmental spin. For young kids, keep it simple with a fictional picture book such as the Lorax. For older kids, have some texts. “The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet” is a great choice.
-The best way to demonstrate how plants work and encourage an appreciation for plant life is to…plant something. Plants literally give us the oxygen we need, provide shelter to millions of animals, fungi, and bacteria, and supply the food chain. As you wait for your seed to germinate, then grow, observe the changes. It’s easy for us to give up because the process can take a long time. Check out this blog to help you track the seedling and to hone observation skills. You can even participate in a larger project with the National Arbor Day Foundation.
-Ecosystem “Guess Who” game. If you remember the game with the silly faces where you had to guess your opponent’s character, you can adapt it to learn more about ecosystems and the organisms that live in them (as well as developing your language skills)! Check out these printables! Rather than describing the picture, the student has to describe the habitat and/or organism while the other guesses what it is. Encourage them to use descriptive words and to focus on a different aspect each time they play. This game is best suited to 8 years old and above.
-To further reinforce the importance and types of renewable energy, build a water wheel together! Check out this website for directions.
-Lastly, get crafty and make wind chimes out of recycled materials. You can use metal washers, cans, plastic bottles, pieces of wood, seashells. Get creative and use materials from the earth!
Share with us in the comments with your ideas, tips, and completed projects. Remember to make it easy and fun!
Happy Earth Day!