I am excited for Earth Day (April 22) because I think it is a fabulous time to celebrate the beauty of our Earth and preserve it. I have observed that Little Bee, at his young age, is already a conservationist at heart. He is diligent at picking up all the trash along the path on our daily walks around the neighborhood. He really takes his job of "clean-up" seriously and will carry trash in his little hands until he finds the nearest trash can. He is also aware of what items go into the trash can and what items go into the recycling bin. I'm so thankful that he has a caring spirit for our Earth.
Little Bee is very fond of the sun, moon, and stars. However, he hasn't been exposed to the concept of the Earth yet. I wanted to introduce the Earth to Little Bee with fun sensory play for Earth Day activities.
Little Bee helped me mix up two bowls full of shaving cream with blue and green food coloring for our sensory earth window art. (FYI: Instead of shaving cream, you could use whipped cream.) This first activity exposed Little Bee to the main colors and elements of the earth - green/land and blue/water.I taped a piece of contact paper to the glass window and gave Little Bee the blue bowl to start painting the blue water on the earth. Next I gave him the green bowl to add in the green land. I encouraged Little Bee to keep his shaving cream painting within the outline of the circle. Cleaning up was easy because most of the mess was contained within the circle of the earth and I simply peeled off the contact paper to discard it.
Overall, this was just a really fun and messy sensory experience for a toddler to enjoy!
Toddler Painted Solar System
Next, Little Bee hand painted a blue and green earth. I encouraged him to finger (hand) paint the earth in a big circle as shown below. Little Bee also painted a white and yellow moon on black paper. Then he sprinkled the moon with salt to add texture to its surface.
Finally, Little Bee painted a yellow and orange sun in a big giant circle that ended up covering practically the entire page! Little Bee enjoyed swirling circles in the sun and using his imagination as he painted. After these beautiful paintings dried, I cut them out into various shaped circles to represent the sun, moon, and earth. We placed the circles onto sticky contact paper that was already attached to sliding glass window. Then Little Bee practiced his fine motor skills by adding star stickers to the sky on the sticky paper.
Toddler Painted Layers of the Earth
Little Bee hand painted the four layers of the earth basically the same way that he painted the sun, moon, and earth in the activity above. I cut each of his hand painted layers out into four sizes to represent the layers of the earth - crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. Then I laminated the circles for durability.
Little Bee and I will come back to this lesson when he is older. I thought this activity was a neat way to preserve Little Bee's toddler art work in an educational way.