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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

Our Learning Garden!

March and April are our favorite months because they signal the start of spring. At The Garden Preschool it will mean that we can start planning and planting our beautiful garden and the students get to learn many lessons as we work together in the great outdoors! How great are these ideas for our learning garden? We will spend a lot of time in the spring studying science, math, art, health, and literacy through our garden. We will have units on seeds, insects, weather, healthy eating, plants, and water that will integrate learning from all subjects.

Last Spring Nicole’s family planted a garden and had a great time learning about the growth process and enjoying the bounty of the harvests.

Logan_Garden

Logan helping plant the garden

Nicole's Garden

Nicole’s Garden

Along with our personal experiences with home garden building we have found some other great ideas to help us build our future learning garden at the preschool.

Garden Ideas

Each student gets their own tire planter!

Pea trellis the kids can paint

Colorful garden fence

Colorful garden fence

We have a passion for all of the lessons that can be taught through hands-on experiences in God’s glorious outdoors and can’t wait to get out there with our students next year!

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!

Resolving to Serve as a Family- Start at Home

Charity Begins at Home
Charity-Begins-at-HomeCharity-Begins-at-Home

I ran across this blog post in early December and was greatly impacted by the simplicity of its concepts. Ever since my son Logan was born 2 years ago my husband and I have talked about how we really want to instill in him a heart to give and serve. I often get frustrated because I feel like we “talk” a lot and then we have a hard time following through. Since having Logan we have done a few small service projects but have definitely not done as much as I would have liked. Finding projects that are appropriate to the toddler and preschool ages is tricky! Anyway, this article struck me because the main premise was just being charitable and giving at home…I can totally do that! We are our children’s role models and if they see us doing nice things, even if it is just for Daddy or Grandma, they will remember. So, my biggest advice for giving as a family is to start small at your home.

When you are ready and have the time, I also recommend this book for ideas on how to serve with young children: The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference

The text is definitely for older kids, but all project ideas can be adapted for our preschoolers!