(Our guest blogger has taken over the Earth again! Read on to find out her Top 5 ideas to celebrate Earth Day.)
On Sunday April 22nd 2012 we celebrate Earth Day and it’s the perfect opportunity to show the Earth how you care about it. Its goal is to recognize the non renewable qualities of our Earth and to help promote awareness that we, as a society, need to take better care of what we DO have, while also teaching the next generation that there is fun to be had WITHOUT a lot of materiality needed. Below you’ll find some activities to promote a healthy Earth, healthy child, and healthy society for many future generations. Check them out and try them out for Earth Day and then you can continue teaching your child about how to lessen his/her carbon footprint all the way through the year! Check out these activities and try them out to show Earth why it’s special to you!
Top 5 Activities for Earth Day:
1. The Foot Patrol
Make starting to walk to school with your kids a good opportunity to discuss ideas surrounding the environment and nature. Take a look at flowers starting to grow in gardens. Use this walk as an opportunity to discuss the carbon cycle (in simplified form of course) regarding what trees and plants do for the environment. If you live close to the grocery store, school, or work start walking on short trips. This not only provides a good exercise routine, it also helps to reduce needless pollution by vehicle emissions.
2. Hyacinths, Daffodils, Tulips, and ferns...
This weekend take a trip to the local flower shop and grab a few bulbs to plant. Make a spot in your garden or have your child take care of a small plant in your home. Talk with your child about how often to water it, why plants need water, how plants get energy, and share with them the responsibility of looking after something. Having a plant in your home gives you the added benefit of better health. Having your child take care of something living, something small like a plant, also relates to the grade 3 Science and Technology curriculum where they learn about the plant cycle in the Growth and Changes in Plants unit. Planting a garden or enjoying simple plants also helps relieve adult stress and has been proven to be therapeutic as well as another great form of exercise.
3. Shower Power:
It takes all of five minutes to install, but can save you a ton of money! Buying a showerhead where it either reduces the amount of water coming out or has a shut off valve so you can turn off the water when you’re lathering up is a great way to help the environment! It is simple, cost effective, and helps reduce use of such a precious non renewable source that is getting more depleted every day.
4. Fans of the Fan
Buying a simple fan will help circulate air, it can help with cooling in the summer and moving heat around in the winter. It will likely reduce energy costs for parents, but also the installation can be used as an opportunity to discuss the workings of the fan’s motor. This can provide real life connections to the pulleys and gears unit in grade 4 Science and Technology. Talk with your child about how the motor works and what you need to do make a machine work. Saving money, making connections, and spending time with your children -what better way to spend the day?
5. The 3 R’s: Recycle, Repurpose and Revamp
If you are into arts and crafts, take any old materials you may have that are about to get the kick to the garbage and turn them into fun ideas for your child to make and use. You can take old newspapers and decorate a journal to your personal tastes, use cardboard or CD’s to make a bill organizer, melt some old crayons to make candles(with adult supervision of course), or take clean non-BPA-lined cans and decorate them to hold your child’s school supplies. The old saying, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” really does apply in this sense. You can have fun making cool designs while using materials that normally would have been sent to the landfill. It’s also a great way to have some fun and relieve some stress. Help to teach your child that just because it has one use that has been fulfilled does not always mean that its shelf life is over.
5. Neighbourhood Clean-up
Help make your neighbourhood a better, cleaner, greener place. Together with your child, plan a neighbourhood party! Ask your friends and neighbours to help pick up any trash that is floating around. Provide them with garbage bags, gloves, and a central location to meet when all the area is covered. Get your child to help with the planning, purchasing any supplies, and following through with ways to keep your neighbourhood cleaner. Use this as an opportunity to teach them about the money needed to buy the things, how to buy environmentally friendly supplies that will decompose, and the effort and organization it takes to gather a bunch of people. Take a park in your area, the block, or any type of area you want and help to make it a little bit cleaner and make Toronto (or where ever you live) a more beautiful place you’re proud to call home!
Other ideas to reduce your energy use and carbon footprint all through the year
- turn the water off when brushing your teeth
- get a shower head/nozzle where you can turn off the water during your shower when you aren’t using it (such as when you’re shampooing up your hair!)
- turn off your lights, or get timers to set the lights when you want them o
- wash clothes in cold water and hang them out to dry instead of using a dryer
- invest in a programmable thermostat to reduce your heat consumption when no one’s home
- try AutoShare, buy a greener car or take transit when you need to travel longer distances
- use the washing machine or dishwasher during low usage hours to save money and reduce the demand for water
- get your paper bill statements transferred to e-bills so you don’t have to waste useless paper
Try to think of more ideas on your own. Have a little competition with your child to see who can be the ‘greenest’ during the month of April , May, June, …
Your Friendly Neighboorhood Teacher, Miss Whitworth