What a day it has been! We had a small theme lesson planned to do with the children, but had no idea it would take over the whole day, and several unexpected and unplanned activities popped up.
To start with, I asked them all what today was. It was a struggle to get a day of the week and a date, poor things. They are so far removed from their normal routines. However, we managed to get them to the point where we figured out the day and date. And then when they couldn't guess what today was, I asked our 12-year-old to choose the planet picture from the wall, which one do you think we are celebrating today. There is was, they all realized it was Earth Day.
Then the discussion erupted. All of the reasons for Earth Day and why it was important, ideas of what we could do. Now, most of the ideas were big ones, quite removed from their daily life. So I asked, is there anything you can do now, here, today, to help take care of the earth?
Then the suggestions were flowing, and I was having a hard time writing them all down fast enough. My 7-year-old was trying to illustrate as I wrote :)
Some really good suggestions.
I then suggested we keep a logbook of everything we do today that helps take care of Earth. I had to quickly throw together a worksheet and off they went. (Keep reading, the worksheets are at the end as a freebie downloadable document.)
Next step was a little art project, making Earth Day bracelets. A bit of memory wire and a little container of green bead mix, and they were all going (giving me time to create a few more activities for them. Again, keep reading.)
A word search activities, a color by number came to life while they completed this project and as they younger ones worked on these worksheets, saving the planet seemed to be even more important and very personal. My 5-year-old kept running over to close the refrigerator or turn off the faucet (even though we needed to get some food out or were using the water to clean something).
The older boys were thinking a little more "big picture". They collected a trash bag and some gloves, and off they went. They were on a mission to pick up plastic which they had spotted on their recent walks around the area. Five hours later, they returned, reporting how they had picked up all the trash they had found!
With the older ones off on their trek, the two younger ones were around the house, outside enjoying the lovely sunny spring weather. My 5-year-old spotted that the cherry tree had started to blossom! He had been waiting for this for the last 2 weeks. So out came our camera and we took some pictures. As we stood under the tree branches, we heard some delightful sounds of spring - the bumblebees! So we stood and listened, and following the sound, we tried to catch some pictures of the bees on the blossom. Look at this one!
Of course, Miss 7-year-old got super excited, for a few reasons. We have been doing lots of work with the parts of the flower and how they are pollinated. And here was a perfect picture of the flower with it's stamen and the bumblebee climbing into the blossom before flying on to the next. She was excitedly explaining the whole process to little brother, who was more concerned about whether or not the bumblebee had a stinger.
Once the interest had died down, then suddenly they had a need to photograph all of nature in our yard. When they got to the beautiful tulips that had finally opened, another cry of excitement was heard. "Mom, I see the pollen parts here, too!"
So we got out our chart of Parts of the Flower, pulled apart a tulip and had a long discussion about the parts, even opening the pistil to see if she could find the ovary.
A while later, they were inside and one of the big bumblebees managed to follow them inside the house. My daughter's reaction was to back away. My 5-year-old grabbed the camera and tried to get a good shot.
We managed to catch it in a glass with a plate, and they did a bit of observation inside, but became worried that the bee was scared. We carried it outside and out it down on the grass, still under the glass so that we could observe it a while.
So much better than a show on the iPad!
Once we had watched the bee a while, we decided that he might be getting scared so we let him go.
Well, that was a summary of what we did today to celebrate Earth.
And now for that freebie I mentioned. CLICK HERE to download the set of Earth Day worksheets. And remember, Earth Day is every day!
Stay safe, everyone!!