If you’re looking for easy, hands on ways to teach your child about the earth, we have some great suggestions. There’s no better way to inspire love and respect for our planet, then by discovering more about it through play!
Before you begin
Get the most out of each experiment and make it a fun learning experience with the following bonus tips:
(1) Involve your little one in the set-up as much as possible. Most kids can at least handle pouring and stirring.
(2) Ask your kiddos to make a guess (or hypothesis for bigger kids) about what will happen before you begin.
(3) Encourage little ones to observe any changes that might occur.
(4) Discuss whether the hypothesis was correct or if something unexpected happen.
Mini Rain Cloud
Show even the smallest of budding scientists how rain is formed with only three ingredients: water, foam shaving cream and food coloring.
Set up a clear jar and fill ¾ of the way with water. Then form your “cumulus cloud” by spraying a big puff of white shaving cream across the top of the water.
Explain that clouds fill up with moisture. But when they get too full and heavy, the water starts to leak out in the form of rain.
Encourage your child to add drops of food coloring with a small dropper. Kids loving watching the “cloud” of shaving cream hold the coloring until it becomes too saturated and starts to beautifully “rain” into the jar.
This experiment is a colorful way to demonstrate how plants absorb water, and will totally impress your kids!
You’ll need three clear containers of water and some food coloring. Fill each jar one third of the way with water. Add a few drops of food coloring in each and give it a stir so that you have three glasses of differently colored water. We like red, blue and orange – but use whatever you have on hand.
Grab several individual leaves from a Napa cabbage (or use white flowers, such as a daisy or carnation).
Have your child insert one leaf or flower into each glass so that the bottom of the leaf or stem is submerged in the water.
Within 24 hours you’ll have brightly colored leaves and a gorgeous visual of how plants get their water and nutrients.
Grow a Plant
This classic experiment is perfect for kids that are able to wait for longer periods before making their observations. Watching the plant grow before their eyes will help them understand what happens to seeds planted in the ground.
Take a few dried beans from your cabinet. Butter or lima beans work well!
Fill a jar with cotton balls and place a bean or two between the cotton and glass so that it can be easily viewed. We want to make sure that we can see every step of that little bean growing.
Water the cotton balls so that they are damp, but not soaked. Check the progress daily. Within just a few days the beans will sprout and shoot up right out of the jar.
A Final Tip
Extend each lesson for more fun! Get immersed in the topic and treat the experiment like a theme for the day. Go outside and observe the subject in nature. Create related art projects or read a children’s book on the subject.
Nurture a love for nature and the environment and the next generation will treat every day like Earth Day!