Since Earth Day was on a Sunday this year, I thought it only appropriate that I dedicate a full week of Em's tot school to teaching her why we celebrate a holiday specifically for our Earth, and what types of things we can do specifically to help make it more beautiful and clean! Sustainability and living green is something that I've always been fairly passionate about but am not very vocal with because I know that there are so many others that do SO much more than me, but I knew that if I wanted Em to share this same desire to live a cleaner life that she was going to learn it through teaching and example, so this week just felt like the perfect opportunity to put a little bit more of a focus onto the little things that we already care about and work towards each day in taking care of our little green slice of home. Because I'm a big believer that caring for the Earth is something that should be done every day and not just once a year, I'd encourage you to still incorporate this activities into your own tot school routine even with the holiday already passing. With spring & summer coming up, these are perfect activities to do with your kiddos to celebrate the warm weather and all the beauty that comes with it!
Tot School Week 8: Earth Day
Theme: Earth Day
Snacks (One per day):
Books (We read one book a day specific to the weekly theme):
Monday - Earth Day Create a Book Activity & Earth Themed Phonics Cards. The little create a book I found for Emery was filled with cute pages about different things that she could do to show love towards the earth, and the point of the vocabulary cards was more to help her understand what some of the things that we'd be doing this week were actually called. For the sake of also working to show Emery to not create unnecessary waste, we actually left the pages for the book out on her table for a couple of days so that every time she wanted to color a picture she was using the same paper, and using both sides of the paper for coloring as well (a specific suggestion from her "10 Things I Can Do to Help My World" book).
Tuesday- Sing songs about recycling & recycle old plastic grocery bags. Emery is literally the only person on this planet that appreciates my tone-deaf singing voice and loves hearing little songs throughout the day, so when I found these two cute poems about recycling put to common nursery rhyme tunes I knew they'd be perfect for our recycling day! Our part of Kentucky unfortunately isn't the most recycling friendly part of town (we don't have separate garbage bins for it, etc) BUT I remembered that our local grocery store had large bins at the front of their store where people could bring in their old grocery bags to be recycled. We usually use reusable grocery bags to cut down on waste (plus they're bigger and more durable), but had collected up a few of the plastic ones over the months from shopping trips where we either had more groceries than bag space or had accidentally left our bags at home. After singing our recycling songs that morning, Em and I walked to our local grocery store (for exercise and the sake of keeping the air cleaner), and put our collection of plastic bags into the recycle bin. Emery loved being able to put the bags in the bin and kept saying "we-cycle" to everyone she saw throughout the rest of the day to show off her newly learned word. 😂
Wednesday- Earth Play-dough activity & Nature Walk. We started out this morning by reading our "What a Wonderful World" book, which is literally just the lyrics to the classic song sung by Louis Armstrong put to beautiful colorful illustrations in a child's board book. Emery LOVES this book (and the song now too because of it), and I thought it applicable since the overall theme of the song/book is appreciating the different things in the world around you. After reading the book, I opened it to a page that had an illustration of the earth on it, then gave Em our homemade blue play-dough and some green buttons (green play-dough could work too with older kids) and let her make her very own "earth" with the supplies. That afternoon Kyle happened to get home early from school and had some rare free time, so we went and walked our favorite nearby walking trail, pointing out the "trees of green, red roses too....skies of blue, and clouds of white..." and all of the other beautiful parts of the trail.
Thursday- Garden-themed sensory bin. Every year in the spring we plant flower boxes as a family tradition, but because of yo-yo type weather, have been waiting to put them in until after Kyle's finals/random cold days that would freeze the flowers. As a way to help get Emery prepped for the real thing, we pulled out some old silk flowers from our garden-themed halloween costume a few years back and put them in the bin with some kid's gardening toys from Target's dollar section and let Em practice "planting" the flowers. The weather on this day was actually pretty nice, so we moved the activity outside onto our porch to help tie in the outside element - Em loved being able to play with her bin outside, and the cleanup was easier too since the stray rice wasn't falling into carpet so overall the activity ended up being a win!
Friday- Earth themed kid yoga & putting up bird feeders. Emery will do parts of my yoga/pilates routine with me every morning, but on Friday I wanted to make the yoga a little more centered around her and connecting to the world around her. Along with example, most yoga is taught to kids by connecting the different poses to things around them that they already know and recognize, so when I found this list of earth/garden themed yoga poses for kids I thought it'd be fun to try with Emery. Em's level of bounciness and energy is EXTREMELY high (even for a toddler) so I really enjoy using yoga as a way to help calm her down a little bit while still doing something that involves movement to keep it fun. That afternoon after her nap, we put together some bird feeders that I'd picked up from our local feed store and picked out some trees around our complex to hang them up in. I'd looked into doing some sort of DIY bird feeder as well, but after some research found that at least for us just buying the pre-made feed/cages to put it in was a cheaper and easier option. Emery has been loving birds lately, so having an activity focused around doing something nice specifically for them was really good for her. As an ode to our sweet KY home, we bought feed specifically for our Northern Cardinals (our state bird) as well as other song birds, and the music that they've been making around our apartment ever since has been so fun to experience!
That wrapped up our Earth week of tot-school! Our next tot-school blog post will be focused on counting from 1-10, we hope that you'll all feel welcome to join us next week for all of the counting fun! Thanks so much for following along! Happy schooling!
I love Easter. I saw someone describe it as the day to remember and celebrate love, forgiveness, and grace, and I honestly couldn't have agreed more with them. For me, Easter has always been the holiday that I've taken to really reflect on and appreciate my family, and this past week we had a blast celebrating the holiday with Emery and teaching her about all of the different aspects of it. Towards the end of our week Em's two year molars started cutting through making for a rough few days and a little bit more relaxed of a schedule for our tot school specific activities, but overall I think she had a lot of fun, and Kyle and I of course just had a blast celebrating with her! A lot of these activities are more Easter themed (think eggs, bunnies, etc) but a lot of them can be slightly altered to turn into more of a general "spring" theme as well to make it work for you and your kiddos!
Tot School Week 4: Easter
Snacks: SKIPPED. I was having a hard time coming up with Easter themed treats that weren't straight candy (which unfortunately Em still got plenty of 😆) and teething was making it hard to get Emery to really eat much of anything outside of her favorite foods, so this week we decided to keep it simple and just forgo any special themed snacks.
Books (We read one book a day):
Monday - "What Can Bunnies Do?" coloring/create a book activity and phonics/vocabulary flash cards. This book is really similar to the weekly color books that we've been doing in past weeks, but instead of focusing on a color focused on bunnies and the different activities that they can do. The free download for the book also includes phonics cards that can be printed and cut out, and makes for a great speech development activity to either teach your kiddos new words, or to help them annunciate different letter sounds that they may be struggling with.
Tuesday- Egg Stamp Counting Activity and an "Egg Scoop" activity. I've been trying to work with Emery on counting on the side of our regular tot school activities, and both of these activities helped with that focus. For the egg stamp worksheet, simply have your child use stamps, paint, stickers, etc. to fill in the correct number of dot spaces on each egg. Em LOVES painting, so I found her some cute circle sponge brushes to fill in the eggs with. The egg scoop activity was SO simple to put on and completely free assuming you have some old Easter eggs lying around - I just put 10 of Em's Easter eggs into a basket, then gave her another empty basket and her ladle from her mini kitchen utensil set (a large spoon would work as well) and had her practice moving the eggs from one basket to the other, counting them with her as she worked. This activity actually kept Em entertained for a lot longer than I thought it would, and is a bonus for developing not only counting skills but also hand-eye coordination as well.
Wednesday- Bunny Color Hop and "Egg"-cercises. This day we tied in Em's favorite Easter book from this year and made a themed day of it. "The Great Easter Race!" shares a story all about the classic Sesame Street characters having a big race for Easter, and I thought it'd be fun to add in our own elements of exercise that could be done inside and with an Easter theme. For the "egg"-cercises, I just wrote down different kid friendly activities on strips of paper and put them in the eggs. Em then opened up the eggs and we'd do the movements together. Feel free to make up your own exercises to put in the eggs, but the ones we did were:
Thursday- Bunny Tail Color Sort. This was probably the worst day for Em's teething, and my poor girl spent the majority of the day wanting to do nothing but cuddle and watch shows. During a short period of molar relief though do to some Copaiba oil on her gums, we were able to play this fun little color matching activity. Putting it together is as easy and printing out the bunnies (and cutting them out if you choose to), and then having your kiddo use pom-poms, colored buttons, etc to match the proper colored tail to it's respective bunny. Emery has really come to enjoy these little color sorting activities, and I love that they give us a way to keep her memory fresh of all the colors we've been practicing up to this point.
Friday- Coloring Wooden Easter Eggs and making Easter sugar cookies. These are obviously the most Easter themed/least educational activities of the week, but we had a full weekend planned out for Em with Easter Egg hunts, baskets, and parties with friends coming up, so I figured why not start early with the celebrations? 😉 Before Friday I'd never actually died Easter eggs before and honestly don't even know how to hard boil an egg, but I found some cute small wooden eggs in Target's dollar section and thought that I'd give it a go. We mixed up six plastic cups with 1/2 water, 1/2 apple cider vinegar (white vinegar works fine too), and liquid food coloring into each cup, then let the eggs sit in the cups while stirring them around for about 30 minutes in the mixture. Emery loved helping to squirt the colors into the cups and would say the color as we were mixing it, and has been playing with the wooden eggs ever since! Next year we might even try dying regular eggs, but I'd love to do it with natural food dyes derived from different foods/spices.
To make things easier for anyone wanting to try out any of these activities, here's a list of all of the printables that we've used/created (to download/print just click on the link that you want. Also, for the Bunny Hop, Color Sorting Activity, and the Egg Counting Activity I've decided to include a black & white copy as well as a color copy - just in case there's anyone out there like me who doesn't have a color printer and wants to color in the worksheets themselves!
This week of tot school we're going back to finish up our color wheel and will be focusing on the color GREEN! Feel free to follow along on Instagram for the activities as we do them, or check in next week for the full blog post! Have a great week!
We hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend spent with those you love most!