Earth Day Activity: Keep it simple

Earth Day:  April 22nd

Earth Day kept simple may be one of the best ways to honor our environment.

In the name of simplicity, I love doing this activity with my children.  There is no stress and the ideas and conversation that comes from it is both bonding and fun.  Like many families, we spend a good amount of time exploring new natural spaces.  Beaches, woods, rivers, etc.  It is done enough that the children often start looking for interesting treasures.  I realize that there is some controversy over taking natural items home.  My approach has been to teach the children about the concept of abundance.  If there are thousands of rocks, for example,  we will not disrupt the beauty or balance by taking a few items.  The children and their connection to the natural world will also be a valuable asset to our natural balance in the future.

Often, when we get home we are excited to lay out our natural treasures.  At times, the fun is all in the sorting and observation of the items.  At times, we get to creating!  We pull our already accessible art supplies and …. see what happens.  A few things we discovered and enjoyed after some of our outings:

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1.  She loved painting the drift wood and some rocks with water.  The natural designs that emerged were enough to entertain her for a good amount of time.

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2011-2013 0752.  Drift wood that is still damp is really easy to carve.

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3.  A natural nesting puzzle.  I loved how this was discovered without my intervention or description….. just exploration.  He decided to paint them for his little sister to play with later.

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4.  Acorns make great treasures.

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After making several acorn treasures, questions started and more ideas came.

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He wondered about eating acorns.  I had forgotten about the whole process.  His exploration lead me to learn more about how to eat acorns and make acorn flour.  We were reminded about the tannins in them and the importance of processing them before eating them.  He wanted to keep exploring.  I let him do it and find the meaty centers.  It was a great opportunity to talk to him about natural items that are edible or not.  We were inspired to collect acorns to later process and we did get our collection.  Making the flour is still on the “to do” list.  What excites me it that we want to do it because of the questions and curiosity that came from this time with natural items.

For more inspiration:

Engaging Children’s Minds

“Children have a strong disposition to explore and discover. The Project Approach builds on natural curiosity, enabling children to interact, question, connect, problem-solve, communicate, reflect, and more. This kind of authentic learning extends beyond the classroom to each student’s home, community, nation, and the world. It essentially makes learning the stuff of real life and children active participants in and shapers of their worlds. “

http://www.projectapproach.org/

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