Spring is the perfect season to celebrate nature and be outdoors! There are so many ways to be environmentally kind when engaging in activities with your children. Our little ones love to explore and engage with the world around them. They also enjoy crafting and being creative. Make the most of this enthusiasm with a Spring-inspired go-green activity!
1. Scavenger Hunt
Children love a good treasure hunt. A great way to teach your young ones about the vulnerability of our planet is to take them on a scavenger hunt for litter. Take a garbage bag and some gloves with you the next time you go on a walk around your neighborhood or in the park. Set your children to the task of finding as many items of litter as they can. When you get home with all your treasure, the kids can sort the recycling from the other waste.
There is so much that you can teach them while they are on their scavenger hunt:
- The harm of plastics.
- In warmer countries/areas, the dangers of discarded glass causing fires.
- The threat that various kinds of litter pose to wild and domesticated animals.
- The issue of the volume of litter that finds its way into our dams, lakes, rivers, and oceans and the devastation that it causes there.
After the cold of Winter, simply being outdoors is enough of a celebration of the arrival of Spring! Pack a picnic, grab a blanket and head out to your favorite picnic spot. My children just love picnicking. From the excitement of packing the picnic basket to the festiveness of eating together on a blanket on the grass.
While you are out on your picnic, you can chat about all the different trees, shrubs, and flowers you can see. Ask your kids to point out and describe leaves of different shapes and colors.
3. Planting Seeds
I LOVE gardening, so this is one of my all-time favorite environmentally kind activities to do with my children! There are so many ways that you can go about this depending on the age and attention span of your little one/s.
If you have a bit of space in your garden, assign your child an area to take care of their own plants. Once the spot is ready, they can measure the rows and place the seeds correctly spaced apart. For younger ones with a shorter attention span, you can simply buy a seed packet of mixed flowers and let them scatter it at will in a designated area. If you do not have space to plant a whole square of vegetable seeds, you can use a few pots instead.
Here is an idea for children with a short attention span and in need of instant gratification (is that not all of them)! Place seeds (beans work nicely) on a saucer between two layers of paper kitchen towel or cotton wool. Dampen with water slightly and place on a sunny windowsill. Your children will be able to watch the daily progression of the germination process.
Which Seeds Are Best for Young Children?
As we all know, kids want fast results. So, you want to choose seeds that will germinate and give results quickly. Here are a few goodies:
- Sugar snap peas. These legumes germinate within ten days and are usually ready to eat in less than two months. Your kids can just eat them straight off the plant!
- Carrots can take a little longer to germinate and mature than some others that I will mention here. However, they are such a win for children. Kids love pulling carrots out of the ground! For a quicker turnaround time, try smaller-growing varieties such as Babette and the little round Romeos.
- Tomatoes. Especially cherry tomatoes. These too, your children can eat straight off the plant. They are easy to grow and continually bear fruit.
- Lettuce. These are great for fast results and are well suited to container planting. To up the excitement level, plant a colorful mixture of different lettuces.
- Root vegetables. My kids love pulling vegetables out of the ground. There is always much excitement about what they are going to get in return for that tug! Potatoes, carrots, onions – all incredibly exciting! Radish is another thrilling underground grower. These little red globes have a great turn-around time. You can harvest them within a month of planting.
- Marigolds. These work well in pots, in a flower bed, or as pest control in your vegetable garden. Kids love their bright and cheerful colors. They are hardy and easy to grow – perfect for little green fingers in the making!
- Sunflower seeds can germinate in seven days. By the end of Summer, the taller varieties can tower over your children. A fantastic lesson for them about the potential of tiny things to evolve into something big.
- Potatoes. The nice thing about potatoes is that you can plant them at just about any time of the year. Your children will be amazed at how one potato or piece of potato can turn into a plant with a whole bunch of potatoes hiding underground!
- Nasturtiums are easy to grow and germinate quite quickly. Their bright flowers look gorgeous tumbling over the edge of pots or in the garden.
4. Rock Painting
Collect some smooth, nicely shaped rocks in your garden or out on a walk. Your children can have great fun painting them with bright colors. Paint rocks to look like animals or bugs. Be sure to use environmentally kind art supplies so that when those rocks go back out into nature, they do not leach toxins into the environment.
You can use the painted rocks as doorstops, paperweights, or as decor in the garden. Finding practical uses for your children's crafts is a super affirmation of their value. A wonderful confidence booster!
5. Nature Stamps
Painting activities do not need to be limited to paintbrushes. Finger painting is so satisfying and a great tactile experience for little ones. You can also use kitchen utensils like forks, spoons, and potato mashers to create different patterns on a page. Use string or raffia to make lines and squiggles. The list goes on.
For a lovely go-green activity and to celebrate that Spring has sprung, go on a scavenger hunt for items that you can use as paint stamps such as flowers, leaves, seed heads, and so on. Your children will have so much fun seeing these shapes translated onto a piece of paper with the aid of environmentally kind art supplies.
Environmentally Kind Arts and Craft Supplies for Kids
When planning projects for kids, you want to ensure that all the tools and supplies your children will use are safe for them and the environment. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing environmentally kind art supplies for your green crafts:
- Packaging – if the item is packaged in plastic, it is not environmentally kind. Opt for pencil crayons rather than twisters or retractable crayons.
- Many would think that wax crayons are an environmentally responsible option. This is not always the case. Many wax crayons comprise paraffin wax, which comes from petroleum. Look for beeswax crayons or crayons made from soy.
- When choosing paints for your green crafts, look for paints colored with natural pigments. Or you can try mixing your own paints using natural things to color the paint. Turmeric, tea, berries, spinach, and beetroot all work well!
- Most of our little one’s masterpieces begin on a paper or card backdrop. Look for card or paper not packaged in single-use plastic. Also, have a look for recycled paper or card.