Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Celebrating Earth Day With Natural Materials







Earth Day is just around the corner, April 22nd.  #Kinderfriends, a group of early childhood educators, decided to do a blog hop to showcase some of the fun ways we've found to celebrate Earth Day - thank you for stopping by!

I like to use natural materials with my kiddos whenever I can, so I thought I'd share some ways to use free, natural items from your environment to teach important concepts!  The only item you need to provide for this is a way for students to contain their collection - a lunch sack or reused grocery bag works really well.  Take a walk outside, and see what natural items your students can find!  Have them make a collection of treasures.
These natural materials are beautiful and free, and just right for teaching math concepts too! I love the Earth Day tie in, and that anyone can do this with whatever natural treasures they can find.
My collection includes a variety of leaves and fallen flowers, plus some seed pods - but your collection will vary, depending on where you live.  Your students might find rocks, sticks, pine cones, sea shells - what ever you have around your school or home will work!

Have students sort their collections into piles of similar things - they're working on sorting and classifying skills.  How many different ways can they sort them?
These natural materials are beautiful and free, and just right for teaching math concepts too! I love the Earth Day tie in, and that anyone can do this with whatever natural treasures they can find.
These natural materials are beautiful and free, and just right for teaching math concepts too! I love the Earth Day tie in, and that anyone can do this with whatever natural treasures they can find.

Natural materials make excellent counters too.  I found a lot of acorn caps in pairs - time to count by 2s.  How about making groups of 10s and 1s, then figuring out how many items you have?
These natural materials are beautiful and free, and just right for teaching math concepts too! I love the Earth Day tie in, and that anyone can do this with whatever natural treasures they can find.
These natural materials are beautiful and free, and just right for teaching math concepts too! I love the Earth Day tie in, and that anyone can do this with whatever natural treasures they can find.

Maybe your students would rather make a design, like this mandala - and practice symmetry while they are at it. 
These natural materials are beautiful and free, and just right for teaching math concepts too! I love the Earth Day tie in, and that anyone can do this with whatever natural treasures they can find.
For slightly older students, counting the individual items in a mandala will reveal multiples of the number of axis it has.  For example, this mandala has 6 leaves, but 12 pink seeds and 12 crepe myrtle seed pods - because everything is in multiples of 6.  Can they add items in another multiple of 6?

These natural materials are beautiful and free, and just right for teaching math concepts too! I love the Earth Day tie in, and that anyone can do this with whatever natural treasures they can find.
Designs don't have to be math inspired - check out these insects!  While they are all symmetrical, this is also a great way to show understanding of other concepts that you've covered - such as insects have 3 body parts, antennae, and 6 jointed legs.

There are so many ways to use natural materials in our teaching and learning, I'd love to hear how you and your students integrate them into your Earth Day celebrations!

For more Earth Day ideas, continue the blog hop and check out the free ideas from our clever #Kinderfriends!  Next stop: Class of Kinders
Class of Kinders

5 comments:

  1. Fabulous ideas Paula!!! Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, I love all the activities with natural items. So fun! Thanks for sharing:)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You sure do have some beautiful treasures!! What a fun and easy activity that students can do with their family! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love! Such a great activity! I could see my kiddos loving this!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is so easy and practical to add to a lesson. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete