We are lucky to have a small zoo nearby that participates in this great event to encourage children to interact with wildlife and our community. And these guys are worth celebrating! Did you see the baby turtles in this picture? Even cuter in person!
list of zoos participating in this months, Party for the Planet. Find a list of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) here.
#2 Interact with an animal. Find out what it eats, where it lives, and an interesting fact about it. Did you know that a Boa Constrictor incubates it's eggs inside its body and gives birth to up to 60 live babies at one time? That is what they told us today! I had no idea! Local pet stores are also great places to interact with animals. Many times staff are more than willing to answer any questions about their animals and may even provide you with a touching experience. Some will give small group tours for kids and just require advance notice.
#3 Make and pretend with an animal costume. We have an easy tutorial for an owl headband here. You could adapt it to any animal you wanted to be. Once you have made it, see if you can move like that animal. Maybe write a story or a play with the animal as the main character - use your imagination!
# 4 Fold an origami frog! You have to be better than me at this. I tried 3 times today to get this frog thing right. We had lots of fun with our attempts, but no success. Can you fold it???? Here is one frog tutorial and another jumping one.
#7. Make a tissue paper butterfly. I know, not the most Eco friendly - but you could re-use tissues from any birthday bags or even colorful scrap paper for the wings. There is just something about kids running around flying their butterflies that make grown-ups smile. Kids could write a sweet poem about spring or nature and give it to a friend or neighbor.
#8. Re-use an egg carton. Make an ant (or any other animal or insect you can think of) and use it as a spring board for even more learning!
#9 Keep a Nature Journal. This can be a simple or fancy as you want it to be. A bunch of blank pages stapled together with the label Nature Journal works. Here is one Kim made for spring if you need some inspiration. Have your kids take their journals on a walk and record their observations. Encourage labeling and writing as well as sketching and drawing!
#10 Raise a butterfly. Even if you have done this before, it is as fun and education the second or third time around. We have raised both painted ladies from the Insect Lore company. The first year we bought the entire set. This set comes with a coupon that you must send for the caterpillars by mail, you must send money for shipping and it does take time, so order ahead!
The second year, we just purchased the caterpillars in a cup and re-used the butterfly garden. We have also put our own milkweed plants in the garden enclosure with some baby monarchs. My word of advice is to make sure they are big enough to not fit through the enclosures holes! Otherwise, they crawl everywhere!
To help you remember these activities, I have made a FREE checklist to print out and hang on your fridge or classroom bulletin board. It is available for you to download here!
How will you be celebrating Earth Day? If you are a blogger and have a great activity for grade-school kids, we'd love to have you link up these and any other ideas for after-schooling that you may have!
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