Earth Week Plans
I've finally finished reading the Keys of the World Primary THEORY Album. And I've learned a lot about Montessori education and how I've been doing several things wrong (though at age 2.5, it's still mostly PLAY)! I change things way too often, and I don't have a lot of order to my shelves. I need to keep some practical life, sensorial, math, and language stuff out at all times, based on where Alexander is. Right now, I just change everything by theme. I need to look more into the details (which will be in the specific keys albums), but for now, it's just a work in progress. Alexander hits age 3 in June of this year, so I have two months before we technically need to be a little more focused.
Earth Day is this week, on April 22 (Friday) so we're going to do some Earth Week activities. According to the folks behind Earth Day, the holiday was created to bring awareness to recycling, climate change, pollution, endangered animals, cycles of life, and a few other things. I took that list of objectives and came up with some ideas that were at least somewhat related. In the future we'll be able to do more complicated activities, but for now, these will touch on very basic concepts.
This weekly plan would also be appropriate for an Earth theme, regardless of whether Earth Day is coming up. There are links to specific products that we're using, and there are two free printables. (They are affiliate links, which cost you nothing extra! I just get a tiny commission if you decide to purchase something.)
Check out our Earth Day Activity Video!
CUP OF CATERPILLARS
This cup of caterpillars is an actual cup of actual caterpillars. It comes with instructions for how to care for them as caterpillars and how to care for them as butterflies. They don't suggest keeping the butterflies contained. After a week of feeding them, we'll release them!
CATERPILLAR LIFE CYCLE
Alexander loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. So I wanted to do another caterpillar activity. Besides just reading the book, I printed this life cycle print. We'll color it in one day this week.
COUNT THE TREES
I got the tree Toob from Safari, and I made these tree 3-part cards where he can either count the trees and match them with the cards OR he can match the trees with the numbers. Here is your free printable if you would like to print the cards yourself!
FELT MAP OF THE WORLD
I got a sewing machine! So this is my first sewing project. I just cut out the continents of the world in felt and stitched two layers together. Then I stitched the outlines onto a blue sheet of felt (as the main surface), and he simply has to match the continents to the map. It's VERY simple, but it's an introduction to geography, I guess!
I made these recycling labels, attached them to 4 boxes, and all week we are giving Alexander the bits of recycling to sort. Easy! Here is a free printable for the labels.
MAKE A BIRD FEEDER
We followed this set of instructions to make our own little bird feeders. Sadly, not a single bird has stopped by our two feeders outside! Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the sort of seed we used. Either way, we'll leave them up for now and hope for the best!
I picked up some plain white roses from the grocery store. Then I filled 3 vases with colored water. I used 12 drops of red, blue, and green food dye in the vases and stuck the flowers in. Within a few hours, the flowers had started changing colors, and after several days, they were boldly red, blue, and green. It was a fun transformation to watch!
GROW A PLANT
This is a work in progress. I bought a cactus-seed kit from a craft store. Together, we watered the soil, planted the tiny seeds, and have the plant sitting in the windowsill. The particular kit we bought will grow at least 1 foot tall but, possibly, 8 feet. (I'm assuming it's because they used "cactus" seeds and don't mark which type of cactus plant.)
OBJECT MATCHING PUZZLE
I love object matching puzzles. This week, I will pick up some nature items (rocks, leaves, etc.) and create a puzzle for Alexander. If the weather permits (if it rains, then the leaves would be soggy) I could make more than one of these.
This particular balance boat features endangered animals. (One of the included animals has recently gone extinct, sadly.) We will talk about endangered animals and then practice balancing.
CRAYON MELTING ART
To display the power of heat, we melted crayons onto a canvas. I soaked the crayons in water to make the peel come off more easily. Truth be told, half of them were still really difficult to peel, but the others peeled instantly. Once they were peeled, I created a rainbow and then used superglue to attach them to the canvas. We used a hairdryer to blow heat directly onto the crayons in a downward motion. Within 30 seconds, they started to melt and drip, and after about 3 minutes, we had a final project! This is also a pretty rainbow art piece that we can use when talking about rain and rainbows.
USA MAP PUZZLE
This isn't applicable if you're outside of the United States, but we love this Melissa and Doug map puzzle. I would like to put this together every day this week.
ART FOR OUR STATE (Georgia)
We live in the state of Georgia. I used the Georgia cardboard piece (from the map puzzle) to create a cut-out on some cardstock. I will place a plain white sheet of paper underneath, and Alexander will use paints to color inside of the cut-out. Once it dries, we'll remove the cut-out and be left with a pretty version of Georgia. This could be done with any state or shape.
CUT THE GRASS
I cut green construction into "shreds". Then I rolled up each sheet and placed them inside of a box with the "grass" pointing upward. Alexander practiced using scissors by cutting the "grass"!
RAINBOW RICE SENSORY BIN
I had some rainbow rice left over from our St Patrick's Day activities. I stuck some spoons and a funnel inside the box for him to dig through. I also hid some of the Toob trees in the rice.
MAKE RECYCLED PAPER
Recycled paper is fairly simple to create. It calls for newspaper, but since we didn't have any, I just used scraps of paper that I could find. We will follow this tutorial to make our recycled paper.
This will be a demonstration of climate change, how heat from the sun melts glaciers. Basically, we will put some ice in an open pan and turn on the stovetop. We'll watch as the ice melts to water and then turns to steam.