Earth day isn't until April 22nd, but it's never too early to start introducing the natural world to kids!
There are so many different facets of ecology, sustainability, and environmentalism, in fact, that it may seem overwhelming to figure out where to begin. To help out, here's some projects that get kids thinking about our planet - from the toddler set to older kids!
- 6 - 24 months: We clearly can't expect very young children to understand the concept of recycling, but that doesn't mean parents can't feel good about it! Pick up one of the awesome baby items from Green Toys. Whether it's a shape sorter, stacking cups, or chunky blocks, ALL of their toys are made from 100% recycled milk jugs in the U.S.A. You get to know you're investing in low-carbon footprint toys, and baby gets safe, developmentally-stimulating play!
- 3 - 5 years: Kids in this range will love hands-on learning; grab a notebook and head out on a nature walk! Gather leaves for rubbings and identification. Collect bugs (carefully!) in a insect box and learn about them together. Keep your eyes and ears open for birds and other animals. Simply observing and being aware of the ecosystems all around us will help kids understand and respect nature!
- 6 - 7 years: We can't write suggestions without including books! Some of our current favorites are: The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston, and of course The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. While the former are picked for those around second grade, we of course have TONS of books for every age with an environmental bent!
- 8 - 9 years: Older kids will learn some great concepts (while having fun!) with an eco-themed science kit. The Eco Forensics Lab from Mindware comes with everything an aspiring ecologist needs to assess the health of the planet! Create a chemical crime scene lab, identify microscopic water creatures, plan a portable pollution buster, learn a polluted water survival trick and even decode secrets in the soil! Or try Eco Science Toys from 4M and learn to repurpose common household waste into awesome toys! Make up to seven different toys, including a race car, a gravity-powered walking robot and a tornado inside a bottle. The kit contains all the necessary parts; just add common household items to complete the designs! This kit is a great way to get older kids thinking about waste reduction and upcycling!