Five Things to Prepare Your Preschooler for Earth Day

Julie Pippert
April 16, 2009

Earth Day will be here soon, and now is the time to start preparing your preschooler for the important occasion. There are a lot of fun things you can do in advance and on Earth Day to help your little one understand what it all means, and why it's important. There are my top five favorite--and easy--things to do with preschoolers for Earth Day:

1. Sing a song!

This is probably the most popular song for Earth Day.

Earth Day song, sung to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"

Earth Day, Earth Day,
Comes once a year.
But we should make our message clear.
Love and clean our Earth each day.
Make that plan a plan to stay.
Earth Day, Earth Day,
Comes once a year,
Love and care for our Earth so dear.

2. Make a craft, with an activity: Decorate the earth!

  1. Give your child a precut blue circle (earth)
  2. Glue on green pieces for land, and cotton balls for clouds.
  3. Decorate as you like. You can even add animals and people. If you don't like to draw (like me) you can cut these from ads and magazines.

Extra idea! Make it like an Advent calendar if you feel extra crafty and only glue down one side of each "land" piece. Under that write a special earth day activity such as: pick up litter at park, make sure to turn off lights every time leave a room, turn off water while brushing teeth, don't eat anything from a wrapper for one meal (or day), find spare change to donate to help an animal or green project.

3. Take a walk to enjoy nature! And read a book!

Take a walk through your neighborhood and look at trees--count different kinds, observe different leaves and trunks, bring home leaf samples for an art project, or whatever strikes your fancy. You can sort the leaves at home, identify which are alike, which are different, and more important preschool lessons.

Talk about the important roles of trees, that they give us air to breathe. Read a story about a tree.

Here are a few good good preschool books about trees that I recommend and that you should be able to find at most libraries (many thanks to Teachers and Families' Web site for the great synopses--you can find great book suggestions there, too):

  • Johnny Appleseed - by Rosemary & Steven Vincent Benet
    This is a very simple version of the poem about Johnny Appleseed. The book follows Johnny’s journey as he plants the seeds and cares for his trees.
  • My Mother Talks to Trees - by Doris Gove
    Laura is embarrassed because her mother stops to talk to each tree in the neighborhood. As her mother relays the information about each of the trees, Laura soon finds herself interested.
  • Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf - by Lois Ehlert
    This is a very informative story about a maple tree; beginning from the time it was a sapling. The vibrant colors and wonderful pictures offer a unique version of this life cycle seen through a child's eyes.
  • The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree - by Arnold Gibbons
    Arnold loves to spend time at his apple tree. Follow Arnold's activities as the tree and seasons change.

4. Learn about the water cycle! And make a craft!

The best book for helping a preschooler learn all about the water cycle is Waters by Edith Newlin Chase. This book has gorgeous illustrations that really help a child learn visually about the "life" cycle of a drop of water. it's narrative is easy for children to comprehend, too. And it's fun.

After the book, make a bracelet to remember the parts of the story--the cycle of water. Use a different color for each part of the cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection

5. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Talk about each thing you do in a day to reduce, reuse and recycle. If you aren't already doing this, try a new thing for each piece. For example, avoid packaging for food for a meal or day, use rags to dust or clean instead of paper towels, and put paper in a bag to recycle.

Recycling is a great way to teach preschoolers about sorting, too.

Most of all, enjoy this time to think about the Earth and teach your child to love the planet!

Julie is the Houston City Editor for The Savvy Source. You can read more of her work every day at Being Savvy Houston

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