4 Earth Day crafts for kids
A lecture probably isn’t the best way to teach children about the importance of recycling and honoring the planet on Earth Day.
But getting crafty with them and helping them find new uses for everyday household items (some that might otherwise end up in a landfill) will bring the message home. Carve out a few hours on April 22 to help your children let their imaginations run wild.
The magic box
Give them a challenge: Take a shoe box or any box of a similar size, and ask the kids to create a room out of items around the house – and a few supplied by Mother Nature. A bottle cap glued onto a small bit of wood could be a table. Ask them to create chairs, wall art or even table settings out of found objects inside and outside the house. If they need a nudge, ask them what they might do with a used postage stamp (wall art), a few toothpicks (frame for the art), moss (rug) or an acorn cap (a big bowl).
A leafy lesson
Though we’re many months away from the most colorful leaf season, in many parts of the country, they’re finally filling up on those branches. Leaves make for simple projects; there’s no need to even make a mess. Simply have the kids place leaves, pine cones and nuts in rows on a sheet of construction paper and help them trace the shapes. Color the leaves in close to their natural shade, then mark the name of the tree next to the shape. Even kids who can’t yet spell can learn to discern an oak from a maple from a sycamore or fruit tree leaf. After the project, recycle the leaves in a garden spot.
Take the kids on a walk and watch them impress you by identifying trees by the shapes of their leaves. Back in the house, point out the woodwork, bowls or floors made of wood. If it’s an oak or pine floor, remind them where that tree was spotted and what those leaves look like. If you have a black walnut table, but no trees of that variety in your neck of the woods, find photos online of the trees. Remind the younger children that even the paper they write on comes from trees. And as a final note to the day, why not pick up a young tree and find a spot to plant it?
If it held an egg, it can be re-imagined. Cut out a dozen egg “cups” and snip down the sides to create “petals.” Your child can paint each flower with paint, or even color them in with markers. Add pompom or cast-off buttons to the centers and glue on a pipe cleaner on the backs of the cup to create stem. Instant flower power.
World in their hands
If you have a globe handy, encourage your child to study it. With the help of finger paints and disposable white paper plates, have the tiny hands work to create the general shape of continents on paper. With your help, have the kids label each continent. Then, work with them to explain how the earth is all connected and have each one come up with a way to do their part for the environment (like not leaving the water running while teeth brushing).