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Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day Craft

Earth Day Craft

It’s Earth Day! A time to take a moment from our busy lives to stop and appreciate and celebrate God’s amazing creation. I wish I could say that I do this every day but between grocery shopping, diaper changes, cooking, cleaning, and general busyness I don’t often take time to stop and look around me at the beautiful world we live in. That whole “stop and smell the roses” idea is wonderful, but it’s difficult to do when you’re juggling a car seat, diaper bag, and totes full of groceries! Which is why I always appreciate Earth Day.

When April 22nd rolls around each year, strangers meet at local parks to pick up garbage, communities join together to plant gardens, and for one day there is a common focus: the Earth. I can’t help but think God smiles at this, as He gifted us with the earth—the plants, animals, oceans—and calls us to take care of it.

With our experience working with kids we’ve found that most LOVE activities that involve nature and the earth, so getting kids excited about Earth Day is fairly easy. In the past we’ve had our classes pick up litter around the school, and the kids were more excited for this than if we’d surprised them with an extra recess! But we’ve wished we could take it a step further and share why it is important to care for and love the earth—that it’s God’s creation! We are so excited to do this at The Garden Preschool. To teach kids about God’s creation, how to honor and care for it, and to celebrate it not just on Earth Day, but every day!

Here are a few things you could do with your kiddos to celebrate Earth Day this year or in years to come:

  • Read the creation story in Genesis with your kids
  • Get out and enjoy God’s creation: go for a hike, a nature walk, or take a picnic to the park and enjoy the beauty around you
  • Make a family resolution to help the earth: Start composing? Make a recycle bin? Have fun with it!
  • Join with other families to clean up your neighborhood or a local park
  • Use earth materials (sticks, rocks, etc.) or recycled goods to create an art project! (Our classes have done this and the kids LOVED it. And their creations were quite impressive!)

Here are a few websites/blogs we found that have other great activity ideas. Happy Earth Day!

http://www.creativefamilyfun.net/2013/04/10-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day.html
http://playfullearning.net/from-the-bin-diy-recycled-vases-flowers/
http://www.housingaforest.com/recycled-crafts-and-activities-for-kids/
http://blog.melissaanddoug.com/2013/04/19/4-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day-with-your-child/

Our craft…we talked about composting and set up our can.  We also made a scrap holder for our birds so that they can have a soft “bed” in their house.

Logan learning about continents and The Earth this morning

Logan learning about continents and The Earth this morning

Composting Can

Composting Can

Scrap Holder for Birds

Scrap Holder for Birds

Lastly, we had our Garden Preschool meeting outside with a picnic lunch today…beautiful!

Kari and Keira at our meeting

Kari and Keira at our meeting

Logan and Dylan at our picnic

Logan and Dylan at our picnic

It’s February Already?!?!

Valentine’s “crafternoon”

I was walking through Target yesterday picking up a few things for my poor sick little man when I noticed the 10 aisles of red and pink Valentine’s “stuff”. I turned to my husband and said, “I need to get started on L’s class Valentine’s! Only 14 more days to go!” He responded logically, like he always does, “Why? Logan is old enough to make his own Valentine’s this year.”

But, they have to be cute and have a clever pun on them…right?

Last year, I made shovel Valentine’s with the “I Dig You” message and they were really cute. I love being crafty and putting together things like this, but my husband was totally right. Logan can make his own Valentine’s and they will mean a lot more if he does the “work” instead of Mommy handing him a bag to give to his teachers to pass out. I found this idea to have a Valentine’s “crafternoon” and I think this is great! I love the simplicity of it and I love the freedom and exploration that it allows the kids to have in expressing their love for others. I think I am going to cut out some hearts, get some foam and regular stickers, put out the crayons and stamps and let him go to town. After the cards are created we will sit down together and decide what we want to say on our cards. We will talk about why we love other people and put something meaningful to Logan on each one.

I was fully prepared to pump this blog post full of cute Pinterest “punny” Valentine’s but I know that letting him learn and explore will be most meaningful this year!

Happy Crafting!

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year 2013This morning you are either one of two people: you are feeling rested, refreshed and excited about the possibilities of the New Year because your young children go to bed at 8pm and you followed shortly behind them, or you are feeling exhausted because you stayed up late to ring in the New Year and your children didn’t get the memo to sleep in, but you’ll be excited for the possibilities of the New Year once you get your infusion of morning energy.

Whichever Mommy you are today, I’m sure you know that you have a lot to look forward to in this New Year! Along with the excitement of new possibilities you might also be feeling the “I’ve gotta change some things this year” itch. Isn’t it great that we get this little kick to make things better? As long as you aren’t being hard on yourself, this motivation to change, this resolve, can be great for you and your family. As parents, we can pretty easily see what needs a resolution to change, make a list, make a plan, and attempt to carry out those plans. Our children however might struggle with this concept a bit. Here are some tips to help make some family resolutions that everyone can help carry out this New Year:

  • Start the conversation off with a discussion about grace. It’s easy for kids (and adults) to think that they failed because there are SO many things that they could be doing differently. Remind children that you love them and God loves them even though they aren’t “perfect” (that’s Grace), but that we always have a chance to make ourselves better.
  • Pick realistic and attainable resolutions. One idea is to pick one goal in different areas. For example, pick one goal in health and wellness, one in quality time, and one in spirituality.
  • If you haven’t already, take time to come up with a family mission statement and have a discussion about what things are most valued to your family. This could be a great way for kids to see where the resolutions come from and will help bond you together as a family.
  • Make the 1st a celebration too! Have a special meal together, play games, dance, make a fun craft out of your newly made family resolutions.

Here is a cute craft to help your family display their resolutions.

We hope that you and your family have a wonderful day together today and can use these tips to help build an even stronger bond in 2013!