Celebrate Earth Day 2009 with an entire week of activities designed for your preschooler. This issue of Craft Your Kids Smart has ideas to help your kids celebrate, learn, and craft their way to a better world.

Here at Preschool Learning and Crafts, we try to be GREEN (and save a little "green") by making crafts, learning activities, and games that reuse everyday items. Water bottles can be transformed into fun toys. Cardboard rolls can be turned into binoculars. And, tissue paper from birthday gifts has endless uses!

Many of these crafts, activities, and printables are only available to Craft Your Kids Smart subscribers. I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter. As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter or pass the site along to friends.

Thanks! Shannon

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REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE! The “3-R’s” are a great way for your child to learn how to be Earth friendly. Discuss ways that your family can practice them… purchase less, find ways to reuse old items, recycle what you can. Happy Earth Day!


Day 1: Personalized Re-usable Shopping Bag
We all know that using reusable shopping bags helps the environment. However, if you’re like most of us, your good intentions are usually left in the car. Get your preschooler involved by creating a one of a kind eco-bag… she won’t let you forget to bring it shopping!

Supplies
  • Re-usable shopping bag ($.50-$1.00 at most retailers)
  • Plain fabric
  • Fabric markers/ paint
  • Embellishments (pieces of fabric, ribbon, & lace, jewels, flowers, buttons)
  • Scissors

Directions

  1. Cut a piece of plain fabric large enough to cover the store logo on the bag
  2. Provide your child with fabric markers, glue, and embellishments to decorate the square of plain fabric
  3. Once your child has finished her “masterpiece”, allow to dry completely
  4. Sew or use fabric glue to attach the fabric to the bag. Glue ribbon around the edges.
Skills practiced & learned:
Fine motor; Creativity; Understanding of reusable bags



Day 2: Plant a Container Vegetable Garden
Planting a garden with your child can be a wonderful learning experience. He will learn where his vegetables come from and how to take care of growing plants, and also learn the very important lesson of delayed gratification (which is missing in so many activities today!)

If this is your first vegetable garden, start small. You’ll be a lot more likely to succeed : )

Supplies
  • Plant containers (2 large round and 1 long rectangular is a good start)
  • Seeds or seedlings ( good plants for beginners are tomatoes, herbs, greens, and beans)
  • Potting soil
  • Kid sized shovel
  • Watering can
  • Rocks or pebbles

Directions
Lay out your supplies. This activity will require some help from you, but your child can do all of the steps.

  1. Place a layer of rocks in the bottom of the container (helps drainage)
  2. Fill the container with potting soil. Press down.
  3. Follow the directions on the seed package or seedling for planting
  4. Water and place container in appropraite location (most require 6 hours+ of sun.) If you live in a colder climate, start containers inside and move outdoors after danger of frost.
  5. Repeat for additional containers
  6. Encourage your child to check on his garden every day or so. Make sure it gets the right amount of water and sunshine!
Skills practiced & learned:
Responsibility; Delayed gratification; Science skills

More Ideas for Gardening with Kids

Day 3: Recycling Sorting Activity

Supplies

  • 2 or more bins for recycling
  • Paper (bonus points for using scrap paper!)
  • Tape
Directions
  1. Have your child create a sign for each type of recyclable (paper, plastic, etc.)
  2. Tape each sign to the appropriate bin
  3. Put bins where your child can help “sort” the recycling
Skills practiced & learned:
Early math skills (sorting); Responsibility; Self-help skills; Fine motor/ writing (creating the signs)

More Preschool Math Activities


Day 4: REUSED Container Vase
Get a head start on Mother’s Day by reusing a plastic container to create a one of a kind mosaic vase that Mom or Grandma will LOVE!
Supplies
  • Plastic container (clean and dry with label removed)
  • Tissue paper (REUSE from gift bags!)
  • White glue (like Elmers)
  • Scissors
  • Flowers

Directions

  1. Have your child tear or cut the tissue paper into small pieces
  2. Using a paint brush or cotton swab, spread glue over a section of the container
  3. Place pieces of tissue paper on glue
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until the entire container is covered
  5. Allow to dry
  6. Place artificial or freshly picked flowers in container
  7. Give to Grandma or Mom…

Skills practiced & learned:
Fine motor; Creativity; How to REUSE items

More Gifts for Kids to Make


Day 5: Neighborhood Clean-up
Take a walk with your child to clean up your neighborhood or a local park. Use a wagon or stroller with bags to collect trash and recyclables that you find along the way. For safety, wear gloves while picking up litter.

Use this activity as an opportunity to talk to your child about littering and the importance of cleaning up after oneself.

Preschoolers respond to ideas such as “keeping the park pretty”, “not hurting the plants and grass”, and “staying safe” (who wants their child to trip over garbage while running through the park?)

Skills practiced & learned:
Responsibility; Self-help; Care of public places



More Earth Day Activities and Ideas

Preschool Spring Crafts and Activities




I try to add new pages and ideas to Preschool Learning and Crafts several times a week... please visit often!

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Look for next month's issue of Craft your Kids Smart!