Fun and easy Earth Day activity

I am always amazed when parents say their boys have no interest in arts and crafts. They all say the same thing and claim boys get bored and just don’t have the attention span or patience for art projects. Since most craft activities involve hands-on creativity and limitless use of the imagination, all mixed with major messiness, it seems arts and crafts are a real-life wonderland for little boys. I’ve found when my kids are on each others last nerve (or mine) that if I pull out the tempura paint and brushes they eagerly belly up to the table and spend an hour or more peacefully painting. It’s amazing to eavesdrop while they are working at the kitchen table–they’ll talk about what they are working on, share ideas, give thoughtful criticism, or help each other overcome an obstacle they encounter. So although his brothers were at school, when Ryan whined to me for the umpteenth time this morning I decided it was time for a painting project.

I remembered a simple Earth Day project I saw on Teach Preschool  a while ago and figured Ryan would enjoy the activity. He squirted green and blue paint on a paper plate then flipped it over onto some craft paper and spun it around and around, pressing it down with his hands. When he pulled the plate away from the paper he was excited to see the earth that he had created on the paper, as well as on the plate. He did it over and over again until I ran out of counter space for drying. I told him what Earth Day was all about and asked him about ways we can help the earth and the things that live on the earth. Then he used brushes to add other earth-related items to his painting. He eagerly painted another nature scene once he finished his earth painting, too. Afterwards, we went out back and he helped to transplant some of our herbs that had outgrown their original pots. We talked about how the sun and water help the plants to grow and how the plants help to keep the air that we breathe clean.

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It’s always a great surprise when a spontaneous activity, initially designed to just keep peace in the house and save my sanity, turns into a fun learning experience. Bonus!

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