Party for the Planet - Afterschool Express

 "Earth Day is April 22nd, and what better way to celebrate than with the planet’s amazing and diverse wildlife? More than 100 of the top zoos and aquariums across North America are throwing the 6th Annual Party for the Planet™ – the largest combined Earth Day celebration in North America!"
                                                                                                                         -AZA Website

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!
 And our National Bird - definitely worth celebrating!  With earth day coming up on April 22nd and Screen Free Week coming up in 2 weeks, here are a few ideas for activities and crafts to have a party in your own home!  Feel free to do them all in one day, or spread them out over a weeks time!

 #1.  Visit a zoo!  Here is a 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.

 #5 Make a toad home.  Speaking of jumping things, this is a great craft to re-use your empty, cleaned out yogurt cups as homes for the toads and frogs in your yard!  Just cut an opening and place in a shady area.

 #6 Play an animal memory game.  This one is a matching game between a fact about an animal and the picture.  I can weigh up to 70 pounds when I am an adult.  I take a dust bath weekly to stay clean...  The kids can collect facts and pictures and make their own memory game!

#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!

The Afterschool Blog Hop is hosted by:





7 comments:

  1. We just ordered our Butterfly kit! I am so excited! So many other great ideas here too :)

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    1. Will this be your first time raising the caterpillars? I hope your girls enjoy it! We are hoping to make some of your sensory bins this week =)

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  2. Great ideas! I hope you will enjoy the Earth Day.

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  3. What a lovely selection of ways to enjoy Earth Day! We need to visit the zoo again sometime soon!

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  4. Loving the toad homes!! Great idea! :):)

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  5. What a great list of Earth Day activities that can be done any day! I particularly fond of the toad home. What a great way to upcycle a plastic container. Thank you for linking up to The Outdoor Play Party, and I hope you come back againg tomorrow.

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  6. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

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