A bit of Earth Day gardening

Before our American native nanny left Hungary we had a flower planting last session with her. Although I wanted to do this activity on Earth Day, the weather did not favour us so we had to postpone it for a few weeks.

I bought the plants at a flower market that is close to our place: 6 flowers and  a green plant:


Verbena
Snapdragon
Marigold
Periwinkle
Petunia
Dakota Sunspot
White-edged Swedish Ivy (a kind of mosquito repellent with leaves that has special smell if you rub it, no flower though)

 

 

You can download the flower picture here. (Buttercup is also included as E. found one in a field and we needed to check what it was). The names are added both in Hungarian and in English.

 

What you need:

  • flowers/plants of your choice
  • flower pots
  • soil (we had 5 kg for 7 plants)
  • shovels
  • watering can with water
How we did it:
Best to do it in the garden or on the balcony but the weather has been very windy (still is) so I put down an old wax tablecloth on the floor and we did the planting on it indoors. In this way we did not dirt the whole living-room and it was relatively easier to clean up.
E. doesn’t really like to dirt her hands. I try to come up with ideas when she needs to do so in a fun way so she can overcome this bad feeling of dirty hands.
She touched the soil/dirt with great hesitation, though.
We filled up half of a pot with dirt.
She took the plants out of its small pot and pinched off some ends of its roots (it was L.’s advice that she’d learnt from her mom)

 

Then, she placed the plant into the bigger pot in the new soil after having created a little hole in the middle and added more dirt on top of the roots.
We have some nice blue buckets which can be hung on our balcony so the final step was that E. put the pot in the bucket.
When we were ready with all the plants she took them all out onto the balcony and hung them up.
Let’s not forget about watering the plants.

For a few days she wanted to go out and water them, but now it’s been a week she last saw her plants. I need to water them, but it’s true that a lot has been going on recently because of her birthday. Not to mention the fact that this strong wind we’ve had nowadays has destroyed the flowers and, to be honest, they are far from nice at the very moment. I can only hope a little later they’ll revive when the weather gets better and E. will show some more interest in them.

All in all, it was great fun, a nice way to have one of our last sessions with our nanny, L. I admit it was quite messy, but E. enjoyed it and learnt a lot about planting, getting your hands dirty, decorating our home and taking care of a living creature.

Her English vocabulary expanded: she learnt quite many synonyms like shoots/sprouts, spade/shovel, throw away/dump, soil/dirt. (For the Hungarian readers: when she told Daddy about our planting project she said: .” …aztán koszt raktunk a cserépbe”)

What gardening project do you do with your kids in the spring? I’m looking forward to your answers in the comment section so we can do something new next year.
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Sorting rubbish – free printable

Much to my surprise E. remembered last year’s home-made selective rubbish collection activity and asked for it again. I didn’t plan to do this sort of activity this year, but I was kinda gently forced. However, I prepared a follow up activity for her. (You can find the free printable at the end of the post)

So just like last year I collected some recyclable rubbish like plastic bottles, old newspapers and leaflets, egg carton, dog food cans and beer cans, bottles and containers made of glass etc. It wasn’t too difficult as we hadn’t emptied our own selective bins. I printed selective bin signs (plastic, paper, glass, metal) and stuck them on 4 shoe boxes. I prepared the recyclable rubbish in a plastic container (originally used for storing toys in it)

 

 

E. wasn’t as fascinated about it as last year but she did the selection (I might have given her too many items to sort.) This year we added a little twist.

I asked her how she can decide what is made of which material. She didn’t know.
I asked her while she was checking the objects:

– Can you rip it?
– Can you crumple it?
– Is it hard or can you squash it?

The bold words were new to her so when I asked these questions I showed her the actions.

So she tested every piece and then threw them in the right box. (Cartons were hard to rip but she tried anyway 🙂  )

While she was doing the sorting I told her how we use these materials to make other things, like new paper out of old cardboard and newspapers or shoes and backpacks out of plastic. She wasn’t talking much but I hope she listened.

 

To reinforce selective rubbish collection with another activity that is different from the one last year I made a worksheet for her.

She needed to place recyclable rubbish in one group and non-recyclable in the other one.

We needed to discuss that dirty napkins cannot go to the recycle bin but should be thrown into the households rubbish bin.

 

Done!

Download free printable for the sorting rubbish task. Just click on the link.

Water pollution – the experiment

I wanted to create a sensory bin for E. connected to Earth Day. What makes this difficult is she doesn’t like to dirty her hands, so we tried the water pollution idea I saw at Every Star Is Different, as she could use some tools to work with rubbish.

What you need:
– clean water in a tub of any kind
– rubbish (banana skin, orange skin, crust of bread, tea bag, plastic packaging of any kind etc.)
– oil (optional – it makes cleaning up difficult)
– tongs
– strainer
– a bowl to put the rubbish in


What to do:

We talked about the clean water and name every piece of rubbish. We also mentioned natural waters (seas, oceans, rivers and lakes) and that animals live in there.

Then I asked E. to throw all the rubbish in the water. She was quite reluctant at first.

– Why Mommy? It will be dirty.

That was the point. I told her about the scarce drinking water on Earth and also about poor animals which try to survive in the dirty waters.

She also poured the oil in, which was a brave move from my part as everything got oily. The cleaning up lasted forever.

Then she fished out the rubbish from the dirty water.

She tried to clean the oil and the small tea leaves too with a strainer but she didn’t managed, of course.

We drew the conclusion: We need to take care of water and keep it clean because we can’t drink it  or animals can’t live in it if it’s dirty. And water is essential for life.

Earth Day Patterning – free printable

Celebrating our Planet on Earth Day (22 April) is a good occasion to have another patterning activity with the well-known symbols like the recycling sign, bins, bottles, newspaper, plants and the globe itself. In the past we did quite a lot of patterning activities on Valentine’s Day or on St. Patrick’s Day and it has always been a hit with E.

(The link to download the free printable is at the end of this post)

As soon as she saw the prepared material she sat down to work on it. First, we named what she can see in the picture. She could name them all. She didn’t understand why there was a tree among the picture cards:

E.: – Why is the tree here?
M.: – Because they make the oxygen for us.
E.: – Yes, and we need air.

She didn’t ask about the flower, though.
When she found the water drop picture, she simply stated: – We need water too.

She moved from the easier ABAB pattern…

 

 

…to a little bit more difficult AABAAB and ABBABB patterns

 

 

We left the most difficult to the end: ABCABC But she enjoyed it very much, although it was hard for her to concentrate this long.

The four sheets were long enough for her. She didn’t want to make her own patterns on the empty grid. Maybe at another time. But you can do it 🙂

Download the Earth Day pattern activity for free on this link. And have fun!

Earth Day 3.0 – sticky Earth

Today we have made another fun Earth related activity:

It was a sudden idea so I didn’t do the preparation myself. It was a real whole-family task.

What you need:

– contact or sticky paper (here in Hungary you can buy it as the sticky cover for school books)
– green and blue crepe paper
– scissors
– permanent marker (preferably blue)

Optional for the letter:

– green cardboard strips

While I was drawing the Globe on the transparent side of the sticky paper my dear family were cutting the crepe paper into tiny pieces. Excellent cutting practice for little hands. If you don’t want to give scissors into your little one’s hands they can also tear the crepe paper. Then we fixed it on the wall and pulled the paper off. (Note: you need to draw the mirror image of the Earth and after peeling the cover of the sticky paper you need to fix it on the reverse side – sticky side-out – on the wall)

 

Sticking could start. Green went on the land and blue, on the seas and oceans.

It took a while and we needed to help E. She wouldn’t have had patience and persistence to do it all alone.

When we finished, E. stuck the letters up. We directed her how to put the letters. Although we did this activity in Hungarian I chose to put on the English word for our planet as it would have been awfully difficult to cut out the accents in ‘FÖLD’ in Hungarian.

HAPPY

DAY!!!