Young children can learn that reusing and recycling are satisfying with these simple, down-to-earth activities for Earth Day.
Recycle eggshells. Mom and Dad, save your eggshells. Give them a quick rinse and toss them in a bucket in an airy place to dry. When the bucket is full, you have created a job for kids sure to make them feel important. Eggshells are mostly calcium, an important plant nutrient, but they don’t decompose easily. Get a head start on returning them to the soil by crushing the shells, a perfect job for an energetic toddler or preschooler.
- Let kids use the bottom of a cup to crush the shells, or put eggshells in a tough plastic bag that kids can pound or step on.
- After shells are finely crushed, have kids add them to a planting hole, the compost pile, or scatter in the garden. Job well done!
Plant an eggshell garden. Did you save a few of those eggshells, some nice half-shells? Eggshells make cute, kid-sized planters. Some good seeds to start are cucumbers or Marigolds. Here’s a video that shows the fun.
Make new paper out of old. Have kids collect paper that would otherwise be discarded. Then you’ll need:
- A fine flat screen like a small window screen.
- A plastic tub that fits under the screen to catch water.
- An absorbent cloth like a diaper.
- Paper bits and water.
- Rubber gloves for kids to ward off paper cuts.
Find full instructions here.
In a nutshell, making paper is as simple as tearing it into small bits, having an adult whirl the paper bits in the blender with water until you have a fine pulp, spreading the pulp on the screen, and pressing with toweling to absorb excess moisture. Let the paper air dry for a day or two and fold off the screen. Voila, paper for an art project! For another variation, add wildflower seeds to the homemade paper mix when wet, then when dry—cut into strips and give as plantable bookmarks that will grow.
Even the youngest person can learn that small actions can add up to treading lightly on planet earth. Have fun with these projects and Happy Earth Day!