There’s nothing quite like a child’s wide-eyed curiosity and interest in learning about the world they live in. Remember the first time you stood under a towering tree, or watched a butterfly pollinate a flower?
At Plant Heroes, we believe science skills are essential to the health of our planet, and that nature education is for everyone, every day. That’s why we’ve created ready-to-go resources to help educators and parents facilitate exploration and learning wherever children work, study and play across all cultural, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Early education and exposure to the natural world is key to developing an appreciation and respect for our planet. That will influence the decisions and priorities they make as adults. In preparation for Earth Day activities with young learners, we’re featuring some of our favorite journals children can use on their own, with their families or in group activities to strengthen their connection to the natural world.
Introduce children to the sense of well-being that quiet time in nature gives us. Young learners will blend art and science to create a one-of-a-kind mandala using items they find on the ground as they wander through nature, such as leaves, flower petals, pinecones, berries, and seeds.
This activity is appropriate for all ages and is ideal for children who love creating art, building, and working with their hands. It is also an excellent opportunity to teach children the important lesson to take nothing and leave nothing but footprints. Once children have created their mandalas, they can take a picture to remember their creation and then leave it for others to enjoy.
Introduce children to the art of making mandalas, which can be as simple or elaborate as this one shown in this short introductory video:
In our new springtime Pollination Journal, young learners are introduced to pollinators such as insects and birds that help flowering plants reproduce. They’ll also explore how wind helps transfer pollen between trees that don’t produce flowers. Activities encourage children to use art and language to record their thoughts, and what they see in nature, and can be modified for children of all ages.
This activity can be used to teach young learners how healthy reproduction of plants and trees are fundamental to all life on Earth, and how pollinators help produce the majority of food for humans.
Before children begin their activity, share this short video introducing them to pollination and our pollinators:
Explore the great outdoors from a whole new perspective: through sound. Teach children how to recognize human-made, animal, and natural sounds that are unique to a specific location. This activity introduces children to the ability to identify different ecosystems based on the sounds they hear and to begin to interpret what sounds may mean, such as the calls of animals.
This activity can be modified for children of any age and is ideal for auditory learners and children who love to observe. Learning to be a good listener is an important skill for any naturalist because we can’t always observe everything in an ecosystem with our eyes. A soundscape rich with animal sounds is an indication of a healthy ecosystem, which begins with healthy plants and trees.
During this activity, bird songs will likely be some of the most common animal sounds heard in nature. To expand on this activity and introduce children to the specific calls of birds they’ll hear, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which has recordings of all the different birds in nature.
Explore more learning resources!
For more Plant Heroes materials to use this Earth Day and every day, visit our page where you can filter resources based on age group, language, themes, learning environments and learning styles. Together we can empower young learners to be stewards of planet Earth!
Written by: Jennifer Junghans