Earth Week Part 1

Normally I have an endless supply of topics I am pondering over, wanting to write about, or actively writing about. Lately though, I have had a hard time willing myself to sit down and actually write much of anything. I think the exhaustion and constant discomfort that this third trimester is bringing with it has totally zapped my creative energy. It has at least hindered my ability to choose writing over laying in bed at 4am, staring at the ceiling and hoping I will magically get comfortable until I need to get up and pee again. Obviously the bouts of cold and snow that have plagued us this April haven’t been helpful, especially when combined with two weeks of sick kids and a serious lack of nutrition on my part since eating more then a piece of peanut butter toast or handful of grapes still sends me running to the bathroom from this nausea.

As usual, when things get a little too intense in life, my reaction is to just scale back on projects, activities, and all house cleaning that needs more energy then I have (you know, anything that requires forcibly removing my body from the couch) and spend more time relaxing, reading, singing, playing phonics and math games, and anything else that demands little more then my presence.

This week, however, has been deemed Earth Week in our house and with much determination I have put together and executed at least a few fun activities and projects with the kidlets each day. I am doing this, in part, for fear of feeling even more useless by the end of the week but also because it is very important to me that Z and Stori get a good idea of just how vital the earth is to our existence, why we need to advocate to protect its resources, and what each of us can do on a small scale to make a difference in the future of this planet and our lives on it.

Luckily, these activities have not only made this week much more bearable for me, but also provided some really fun opportunities for teaching new ideas and concepts and having lots of interesting, meaningful conversations with my sweet preschoolers. I am amazed with how quickly they seem to understand the positive and negative impacts we can have on the environment, especially when we started talking about conserving energy and reducing our waste. I have never seen two little kids so excited to be given this knowledge and fully embrace the small parts they can play in making a difference and helping our earth.

Astoria has become our light conservationist and is constantly on the lookout for a light left on unnecessarily and directs me to open the blinds and shut off the lights in a room if there is daylight to be had. Zoren is taking the waste reduction and recycling in our house to a whole new level and with the smallest amount of guidance, has come up with some great ways to reuse certain things we would normally throw away. He also seems to pop into the kitchen out of no where every time a food or beverage container is emptied, making sure it is being reused for a project or rinsed and taken to the recycling bin in the garage. It’s pretty awesome.

Since Monday and Tuesday were pretty cold and snow covered the ground, we kept our projects indoors and focused on some recycling crafts, of which their favorite was definitely crayon making. We made big chunky heart shaped crayons out of broken pieces of old ones I have been saving since the kids first started coloring so we had plenty of material to work with. Once I removed all the paper, cut the crayon stubs into little pieces, and sorted them out into similar hues, the kids went to town filling up the molds. We had a total blast choosing which color combinations to use for the new crayons and they each had a unique hypothesis about how the colors would combine once they were melted in the oven. The final product turned out great and I had two very proud preschoolers.

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Now that we had some fun new crayons, we decided to use them for texture rubbings which is quickly becoming a favorite past time around here. Since everything in Zoren and Astoria’s world right now revolves around some kind of “hunt” or grand expedition, I made them a little indoor photo texture scavenger hunt. It took nearly no time at all to prep and kept us all entertained for quite awhile. I went around the house while the crayons were cooling and snapped a bunch of photos of items that I thought could be used for crayon rubbings and was surprised with just how many interesting textures I found that I had never even given a moments notice to before. My favorite is the textured pattern on the back of Zoren’s rocking chair that was mine as a child. I remember sitting in that chair and running my fingers through the smooth carved out areas over and over. The pattern is etched forever in my memory so that, even still, the moment that my fingertips touch it they know exactly where each groove leads. And I digress…

Once I was done taking pictures (and spending an additional 5 minutes sitting in Zoren’s room, reminiscing about that rocking chair), I loaded all of the pictures onto the iPad and used that to display the photos so the kids could start hunting for each item.

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Some of the other fun activities we have done this week include making bird feeders and suet holders out of recycled materials and mixing up some home made bird suet using my moms awesome recipe. Our resident blue jay was especially appreciative! We also did some earth paper crafts and made picture charts describing a lot of the important things we get from our planet and, in return, things we can give to our planet.

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