I love taking kids outside and teaching them about nature. It’s so simple too, especially when they are young. They love being out there anyway and I love to nurture that wonder and curiosity, fostering that appreciation for the world around them.
It’s one of the reasons I really like celebrating Earth Day – though I believe we should be doing things every day to save and protect the Earth, it’s a great opportunity to enhance that experience and perhaps expand on it a little more.
One of the things I like to do is find ways to create natural or environmental crafts that either highlight nature or are created from recycled/ reused materials to demonstrate that there are other uses for things we have around the house.
I also find that it encourages them to expand their mind and look at things a little differently. Like I need a watering can but don’t have one. What can I use that I have or create in order to meet that need? Or how can I take this natural item and turn it into something else, learning a little more about it at the same time?
Plus it reduces our impact on the planet by reusing things creatively (and teaches children to do so as well).
Try these Earth Day Crafts from Recycled Materials
Children of all ages enjoy making crafts, and it is an excellent way to teach them about reusing and recycling. Make these fun and easy crafts with items from around the house.
Plastic Jug Watering Can
- 2 litre plastic milk jug
- small nail
Wash milk jug out thoroughly. Using nail, poke holes in the lid of the milk jug; this should be done by an adult. Have the child decorate the jug with stickers. Child may also decorate by painting the jug or gluing on buttons, beads or yarn instead of or in addition to the stickers. When finished, fill the jug with water, put on the lid and show the child how to tip the jug to water the garden.
What is needed:
- smooth, round, oval rocks
- acrylic paint in colors of choice
- 2 googley eyes per ladybug
- black sharpie marker
- acrylic matte sealer
- white glue
Wash and dry rocks. Paint the rocks in desired colors, let dry. Paint 1/4 of the rock black for the head and let dry. Using the black sharpie, draw a line straight down the center of the rock. Dip the paintbrush in black paint and paint dots on the back of ladybug. Once paint is dry spray with acrylic sealer. Glue on the eyes when the sealer is dry.
Coffee Ground Fossils
What is needed:
- 1 cup of used coffee grounds
- 1/2 cup of cold coffee
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of salt
- wax paper
- mixing bowl
- some small objects to make impressions in dough
- empty can or butter knife
- string to hang fossil, optional
Mix together coffee grounds, cold coffee, flour and salt. Knead dough and flatten it out on to waxed paper. Use the can or knife to cut out circles of dough large enough to fit “fossil” objects. Press objects firmly into the dough. Take object out. To hang fossil, poke holes into the edge to hold string. Let fossil dry overnight.
Paper Plate Earth (makes a nice keepsake)
- small paper plate
- blue paint
- green paint
- red construction paper – cut in shape of heart
- white paper
- paint brush
Place the white piece of paper on table or counter. Make sure they child will be able to reach it easily. Paint one of the child’s hand green. Have them place their hand on the white paper, press down and then lift straight up to make a print. Let the hand dry.
Paint the paper plate blue, covering it entirely, so it looks like the Earth. Write the name of the person making the craft on the heart (if the child or person is old enough they can write their name themselves). While the paint is still wet place the heart on the left side of the plate – the wet paint will act like glue and it will stick. Cut out the green hand print in a circle shape, stick the hand on the blue plate on the right side. Let the whole thing dry.
Whatever you choose to make the kids will love it, and though they may not connect all the dots today about what it’s all about, an impression will have been made and you’ll be surprised what they remember and appreciate! And if your child’s not the crafty type you can always try out some of these great Earth Day hands on nature activities.
What are your favorite Earth Day or Recycled Crafts?