With Earth Day quickly approaching, I've been thinking about ways we can instill a love of Earth with our children. For Henry, concrete examples work best to give him a clear picture about why pollution, in particular, is such a problem in our world.
These are trays that we also used last year that have stuck with Henry all year long. He still talks about this work every time we see pollution in our everyday lives.
This simple tray simulated air pollution with a candle. I would light the candle and Henry would blow it out. We would then talk about where the smoke went and how it would effect the earth if it was dangerous pollution. The card had a definition of air pollution that we could read and a picture of a factory emitting air pollution into the air.
This was another really easy way to simulation pollution. Here I just filled a large container with dirt and some garbage. I stuck mainly to wrappers and small pieces of plastic that wouldn't start to smell in the house. Then, I included a large pair of tongs, a shovel, and a garbage pail. Henry could then dig in the dirt and use the tongs to throw away all the trash.
We followed this tray up by going around our neighborhood and picking up any trash that we found. Henry still stops to pick up trash he finds outside.
This was by far the most engaging of the trays. Here I used a big container of water, some sea animals, rocks, and some cooking oil. I placed a few tablespoons of cooking oil into the water to simulate water pollution. The rocks and animals where then placed into the water. Henry used a sand sifter to scoop them out of the water.
I then asked a bunch of wondering questions to see if I could lead him into some discoveries. "I wonder how the animals feel now? I wonder if they like that? What will happen to them if the pollution stays on them? Can we take the pollution off with our hands? Is it easy to remove from the water?" These questions led him to the conclusion that pollution was bad for the animals and hard to remove.
Once the animals were removed from the polluted water, Henry could place the oil covered animals in a smaller bowl of soapy water and scrub them with a toothbrush.
Have you talked to your children about pollution? How do you plan on celebrating Earth Day?
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