In our ramp-up article to this one, we told you about three excellent reasons to take care of the earth. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, it’s easy to think of it as an unimportant holiday, so in that article we tried to put a very parental, Christian view on it. It’s vitally important to consider the condition of the planet when the kids who attend our Christian daycare center today grow up to have kids of their own. It’s also important for us to remember that God has given us stewardship of the planet, and because the planet isn’t ours then we should take care of the gift. Finally, a planet that isn’t healthy is going to see more people fighting for resources, which will cause more pain and suffering for our neighbors…and maybe our children as well.
As you consider the activities you can do with your children for Earth Day after you’ve picked them up for school, we’d like to encourage you to do something: find God somewhere in the activity. Perhaps you’ll use some of the suggestions we provide below, or you might come up with your own. Either way, it’s a great way to remind kids to take care of the planet on which God allows us to live.
The Craft: Crayons are always breaking and getting worn away, and there comes a time when you have too many small pieces that are going unused. (This is something we know very well at our seven Christian preschools and daycare centers!) By removing the wrappers and baking the crayons in silicone oven molds, you and the kids will create colorful, shaped crayons that also leave multiple colors behind as they draw. Here’s an easy tutorial we found on the web, and remember to look for the silicon molds at the dollar store to keep the project cheap.
It’s hard to find a craft that’s more colorful, fun, and useful than this one. Not only does it make beautiful crayons, but kids will be able to use the craft afterward. It’s an excellent way to teach the second and third “R”s in “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.”
The Christian Takeaway: Crayons right out of the box are perfect, but they don’t stay that way too long. Life in the Garden of Eden was also perfect, but it, too, didn’t stay that way for long. Use this craft to remind kids that just because we aren’t perfect doesn’t mean that we can’t be useful in furthering God’s plan. Also, if the kids love these crayons, remind them that God loves them even though they’re not perfect!
The Craft: Cupcakes are fun, but so often they’re just one color. This is a great way to make colorful, multicolored cupcakes that kids will enjoy looking at as much as eating (well, almost!).
The recipe you’ll find on this page involves combining earth-green and sea-blue batters. When the cupcake bakes, the colors swirl together and create patterns that are surprisingly earthlike! Not only that, but the colors go all the way through the cupcake.
The Christian Takeaway: While we might be able to make earthlike-cupcakes, we have only one actual Earth on which to live. Unlike God, we can’t create a real Earth, so we’d better take care of this one. Also, you can point out that the patterns in the cupcakes are random, while God put every mountain and desert and fjord in place.
Tin Can Drums
The Craft: Kids love to find ways to make noise, whether they have instruments or not. (Again, it’s something we’re very familiar with at our early childhood education centers!) So if they’re going to be banging on something and singing to the music, why not have them do it on a drum you both made together?
In this simple craft project, you’ll use some discarded tin cans in order to create small drums. A balloon piece works as the diaphragm, and hot glue keeps the balloon in place. Once the glue cools, kids can decorate the drum any way they choose. If they get tired of using their hands to hit the drum, just give them some unsharpened pencils to use as drum sticks!
The Christian Takeaway: There are many instances in the Bible of people using instruments to help them praise the Lord. David’s use of the harp is mentioned over 50 times in the Bible. Wind instruments such as flutes, trumpets, and shofars were commonly used. Cymbals and tambourines are also mentioned multiple times.
The drums you’ve made with your children can help accompany them while they sing songs they learned in church or at daycare. When you hear your kids making a loud noise in praise, it can be strangely soothing. As Psalm 98 says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!”
Egg Carton Caterpillar
The Craft: Remember Chia Pets? While many of you will now have that jingle stuck in your head for the rest of the day, Chia Pets certainly aren’t around like they were a couple of decades ago. This is a nice recycled version that you start on Earth Day and then see what happens in the coming weeks.
In this project, you cut up an egg carton into three, four, or five sections and place dirt in each cup (here’s a pic). Use a pipe cleaner to give the caterpillar some antennae, and draw some eyes on. You then plant grass seeds in the soil so that they caterpillar grows hair, just like a Chia Pet.
The Christian Takeaway: This is a good time to talk about how God made the many different materials that they’re using. He created the soil the seeds are planted in, and he created the process that allows grass to produce grass seed. You can talk about the wonders he does to make it grow as well. God also made the trees grow that provided the cardboard, and he watches over the real-life caterpillars in the world, too (and the sparrow that eats them!)
Put Some Peanut Butter on a Pine Cone!
The Craft: There aren’t many crafts as simple as this! Just put some peanut butter on a pine cone and roll it in bird seed. Hang it from a tree and see what shows up!
The Christian Takeaway: Drawing wildlife to your yard is a good way to remind kids of how creative God is. Have them watch the way the squirrel twists its wrist to climb down trees instead of backing down. Mention how God made bird’s bones hollow so that they are light enough to fly. Point out the amazing variance in colors among the birds that show up.
Happy Earth Day!
From all of us at the seven Kid’s Kampus Preschool and Christian daycare locations, we hope you can use some of these ideas as a teaching moment with your kids after you pick them up from our early education center. Happy Earth Day!