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Toddler & Preschoolers Learning To Go Green: Six Ideas That Foster Respect for the Earth

Toddler & Preschoolers Learning To Go Green: Six Ideas That Foster Respect for the Earth

Naturally curious about their surroundings, toddlers and preschoolers love to learn about the Earth. Creating habits early in life that help children respect the planet can only foster a better place for them to grow into.

Welcome to April edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama. This month’s topic is “Celebrating Our Earth – Green Living”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!

These are six activities that can help toddlers and preschoolers learn about and respect Earth:

Recycling: Our town has a fantastic recycling program, from oil to batteries, cans to plastic and paper, just about everything is expected to be recycled here. Even the yogurt cups are made in two parts, cardboard labels that go in the paper bin and plastic or glass containers that get recycled or reused.  We talk about the reasons for recycling as it comes up and once a week we take a trip down to the recycling collection point and all three children help dispose of each item in the correct place. We call each section of the recycling area a certain “station” and the children can look into the bags of recyclables and deliver it to the appropriate container.   They feel so capable and helpful, and hearing the glass crash is an added bonus!

Up-cycling: Sometimes, instead of recycling or trashing something we try to give it a new purpose.  It’s fun to give the children a container or wrapping from something and ask if they would like to come up with a new purpose or use for it. Recently we took a lot of old stockings and transformed them into a giant play snake. The boys had a blast shredding the materials, stuffing and learning to sew a simple stitch. 

Trash Art: We often like to create art projects or tinker with glue and paint, to reduce how often we are wasting new resources I encourage the children to choose items from the recycling or old clothes pile that they may want to use in their projects instead.  We made some really cute dragons by painting egg cartons, spin art with rinsed paper plates and sculptures with plastic bottles. We have ground crayon stubs and melted them into new crayons and revived markers by dipping them in water too.

Take a hike: There is no better class room for learning about nature and the earth than the great outdoors. Surrounded by trees and foliage of every sort, toddlers and preschoolers are bound to start asking questions. We are fortunate to live on a mountain with a beautiful forest. On our most recent family hike we talked about tree bark, why leaves fall, how animals survive in winter and why humans cut down trees, what they are used for and the importance of striking a balance between using and abusing the earth’s resources.

Plant a Garden:  Watching food grow from the earth and experiencing the work involved in tending to a garden are fantastic ways for toddlers and preschoolers to learn more about the earth.  The idea of having fresh lettuce, carrots, squashes and more is enticing, but keeping in mind that my thumb is ten shades away from green, simple is going to be the way to go for us if we want to enjoy the experience. This year we will try to grow tomatoes and bell peppers.

Off with the lights & water: Creating a habit turning the lights off when leaving a room and turning the water off while hand washing and brushing teeth are simple yet very effective ways to help children learn about respecting resources.  Modeling these steps usually work well for encouraging toddlers and preschoolers to do the same.

What do you do in your house to help your child learn to be Green and respect the Earth?

Peace & Be Well,


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