What a perfect platform for celebrating the outdoors and for practicing new ways of being kinder to Mother Nature?
We are trying over here–trying–to be a ‘greener’ familia, and along the way you better believe I’m sneaking in a little bit of learning.
Here’s how we’re throwing in some earth day learning every day:
- Flower Watering Time: Planting anything, whether it’s food for your family or food for your eyes, is a great way of celebrating Earth Day. Especially for larger gardens outside, the time spent watering plants can amount to quite a chunk of time.
Maddy, Owen, and Cora literally fight to hold the hose and water our flowers. Thankfully, they take turns depending on whose day it is, but the time standing still is time I feel can be used for more than just down time. So depending on which kiddo is hose-happy that day, we might. . .
Sneak in some math practice by:
- counting to determine how long he or she waters each bunch of flowers (ex: count from 1-10 then move the hose; or backwards from 10-1; count by 2’s from 2-20 or higher; by 5’s from 5-50; by 10’s from 10-100);
- counting in Spanish;
- practicing doubling problems— 1 + 1 = 2 (move the hose) then 2 + 2 = 4;
- counting each single bunch of flowers as each is watered and move from left to right (working on making that left-right return sweep a natural movement!);
- counting the different colors or types of flowers and moving the hose as we count. . .
Sneak in some spelling and alphabet practice by:
- spelling his or her name each time a bunch of flowers is watered (this results in lots of practice, and I have to remind them to say the letters slowly: O. W. E. N, then move hose. This is easier for my kids because they have short names–we rarely do ‘Madeline’ but probably should);
- taking turns spelling each family member’s name either as each bunch is watered or by moving the hose for each letter;
- singing the ABC Song and moving the hose from flower to flower as we sing or just saying the letters of the alphabet as he or she waters each flower;
- saying as many words as possible that begin with each letter of the alphabet (‘A’– apple, alligator, ant, art, Amy. . . then move hose and do ‘B’ and so on);
Sneak in some phonological awareness practice by:
- saying as many rhyming words as he or she can for each bunch of flowers (someone calls out a word, and we all add a word until we can’t think of any more, then move the hose);
- creating silly sentences—tongue twisters–that contain as many alliterative words as possible (She sells sea shells down by the sea shore, then move hose and pick another sound);
- saying as many one, two, or three-syllable words as he or she can for each bunch of flowers (cat, bug, hit, say / bud-dy, Sal-ly, Mad-dy, cra-zy / Ma-de-line, co-lor-ful, ha-pi-ness). . .
These are just some of the ways that we sneak in a little bit of learning while tending to our pretty flower garden out front (thanks to Maddy, Owen, and Cora’s green-thumb grandfather!). But these little tricks can be used for just about a million other outdoor activities, like the long stretches of time spent pushing kiddos on the swings, sitting on the sidelines watching never-ending tee-ball games, or pushing those tiny ones in strollers.
I’ll share some other ways we’re celebrating Earth Day over here as the week goes on, but do feel free add to this list, link back to your Earth Day posts, or share your Mother Earth-friendly ideas with us! Three cheers for Earth Week!