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Around The Internet: Plant It Forward

While perusing the blogosphere this week, I came across a link to an interesting site:  Plant It Forward.  This site is dedicated to the preservation of forests for generations to come by planting trees to replace the ones harvested each day. 

Plant It Forward has a great database of ideas for moms, teachers, grandparents, and kids.  You can find ideas for homemade, recycled gifts, projects, and home improvement ideas.  Look for information on recycling and reducing the amount of “stuff” you throw away each day.  Most of the activities are easy enough for everyone to try and enjoy.  Plant It Forward also gives information on planting your own trees and boosting your own recycling program (or even getting started with recycling).

Go check out the Plant It Forward site and post your favorite idea here!

Recycled Projects

My second grader came home last week with a small note stapled to his take-home folder.  It seems that a project is to be created for a parade his class is having.  This project could be an instrument, a flag or a banner, but the idea is to make the entire thing from recycled materials.  Use things that you would normally get rid of in a new way.

Naturally, my son’s idea was to take an empty water bottle and put some pebbles in it for a shaker.  I, however, swayed him down a more involved path than rocks in a bottle.  We ended up making a banner.

We took a torn pair of jeans that my husband had in a pile of clothes of which he needed to dispose and cut off a leg.  We split the leg open down the seam to make a long, denim banner.  Since this parade was in preparation for a big, statewide test the older children at my son’s school would be taking, we came up with a slogan and wrote it in large letters on the material with glue.

Then, the fun began!  We took shredded paper (I had spent the weekend, purging old tax documents) and sprinkled it in the glue.  Since I had been shredding various types of papers, everything from old checks to colorful brochures and documents, we ended up with a myriad of colors in our banner.  It was quite impressive!

This entire process reminded me that, while recycling is a valuable and (should be) necessary part of our lives, reusing is even more important.  Being able to take something that is no longer being used and finding a new job for it is even better than simply recycling.  Look around your house, your trash can, your recycle bin.  Are there things you are getting rid of that might be used for something else?  Giving new life to something is the best way to improve our environment.  See what you can come up with today.

EARTH DAY 2008

April 22nd is Earth Day!  In actuality, every day should be Earth Day as we strive to make our environment a better place for everyone and everything.  Here are some fun, quick, and easy activities you can try with your child in celebration of our Earth:

  • Walk.  Take a walk around the block, or make a trek to the school or a store.  You will find that the time you spend walking (and talking) with your child is more valuable than the time spent in the car.  And, you will be saving a bit of gas by not running the engine!
  • Recycling Treasure Hunt.  Choose an area (building sites are great for this activity) and see how much recyclable material you can collect.  Our town has curbside recycling, so my boys and I hit the new home construction sites in our neighborhood at least once a week for aluminum cans and plastic drink bottles.  Several crews know about our “quest” and will even pile or bag their recyclables for us!
  • All Natural Bird Feeder.  Cover a bagel or a piece of toast in peanut butter and roll in bird seed.  Tie with string to a tree and watch the birds flock!  Our feathered friends will appreciate the treat.
  • Here Comes The Sun.  Utilize natural light by opening the blinds and curtains and flooding your home with sunlight.  Turn off the overhead lights and save on electricity.  Find other things to occupy your time besides the television…puzzles, books, board games, and even playing outside are all better for the environment and for you!
  • Plant A Tree (Or Something Else).  Give back to the earth by planting a tree, bush, shrub or other plant today.  Create a container garden of tomatoes or beans to grow your own vegetables.  Plant flowering plants to grow and cultivate for your own home decorations.

Post your ideas and thoughts in our comment section.  How will you celebrate Earth Day?

Grow With Me – Remembering Important Events

Children grow so quickly.  One day, you are changing diapers, chasing toddlers and relaxing during naptime.  In the blink of an eye, homework abounds, the phone is ringing off the wall – and it isn’t for you, and fashion has a whole new meaning. 

We found a way in our family to celebrate life’s more monumental feats…the birth of a child, first steps, first day of school, and even graduation.  We plant a tree.

 We have found that, while gifts, cards, and momentos are wonderful, something as stoic and life-long as a tree carries more meaning.  When each of our boys were born, we planted a tree in their honor.  With our first son, we knew we wouldn’t be in our home permanently, so we found a plot of land at my in-law’s home.  By the time our second son was born, we had moved into our current residence, and his tree is directly out of my bedroom window.  A new tree was also planted, slightly larger, for my older son as well; he was beginning kindergarten that year.  And, with each passing event, a shrub, a rose bush or a tree is added to our landscape.  Walking into our backyard is a journey into our memories.  And, we’re bettering our home and our environment.

Next time you are faced with the issue of finding a way to honor someone in a special way – a child, a parent, a teacher, a friend – consider a tree.  It is a gift for the recipient and to the world.

plant a tree in rememberance of an event – not even on own property – perhaps family property, etc

An Ecological Balance

As a preschool teacher, I spend a great deal of my time testing stuff out on my kids at home.  My poor boys are subjected to bad playdough recipes, craft projects gone bad and leftover broken crayons.  They also get the benefit of the good stuff, too.  We spend a lot of time talking about science and history, reading a variety of books, and playing with every kind of math manipulative known in the Northern Hemisphere. 

I have found, though, that many kids tend to be a bit wary of our natural world.  And it is of no surprise.  Many times, our focus on subjects like science on pollution, the need for programs like recycling, endangered species and other natural issues.  I am a huge believer in raising my children to be aware of the environment and to take care of the world in which we live, but I am also very keen on teaching my children about the fun and beauty that can be found outdoors.

Children should be allowed to play and experience the world around them.  Playing in mud and sand, dirt piles and with sticks is all part of growing up.  Digging for worms and collecting bugs encourages respect and care for our little critter-friends.  Take a nature walk and collect treasures along the way.  Let kids walk in the rain with galoshes and umbrellas (provided it isn’t a thunderstorm).  Find an earthworm and watch him wiggle when you touch him.  Ask questions.  Find answers.  But, above all, teach your children that our environment is FUN.  It is our natural playground.  And, as long as we take care of it, we can enjoy it.

As kids get older, they will take an interest in the world, wanting to care for and stand up for their big playground called Earth.  Encourage a love of the environment and you’re raising your own nature lover.

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