Impact Dash-Toddler Earth Day

>> Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I have been a little slack on posting my two latest pieces on Impact Dash. Please stop by and check them out here. Trying to explain Earth Day to a toddler is complicated, so why not start at the ground level, literally.

Toddler Earth Day
by Stephaine Eads
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Everyone told me Lil'E was too young to understand Earth Day, and as far as the big picture is concerned, I agree. I cannot sit a two-year-old down and explain climate change or the layers of the ozone. Yet, I wanted to do something with her at the Saturday play date in honor of the day. I came up with the idea to help her plant some vegetables or flowers after she showed interest in helping me weed the flower garden. When I found this adorable Sesame Street Kit at Lowe’s Home Improvement, it sealed the deal. If you want my little girl to be interested in something, slap Elmo on the front and she is sold.

This type of kit is a great resource to get a small child into the spirit of Earth Day. If you don’t want to buy a kit, simply purchase a few Jiffy peat pallets, seeds and plastic kid-friendly gardening tools. They should be easy to use and bright and colorful enough to hold a small child’s attention for the ten minutes it takes to set up the seedlings. I also recommend a handy green house dome (sometimes these come with peat pallets).

By simply adding warm water to the Jiffy peat pallets and covering the seeds with the resulting soil, you can teach toddlers the simple lesson of where plant life originates. In a seed! While planting the sunflower seeds I showed Lil’E a bloomed flower and explained that eventually with a little love (aka water and light) this seed would become the pretty flower she saw in front of her. She giggled in delight at the idea. I also explained that once the flower started growing we would plant it next to her swing set for everyone to enjoy.

The highlights of the activity for Lil’E were the mixing of the dirt after the addition of water to the peat pallets and the sprinkling of the seeds in the soil. I did have to assist with the covering of the seeds, which brings to light that an adult should supervise this activity at all times. Especially if your child is prone to placing items in their mouths. I had to explain more than once that the shovel was not a spoon.

Not only did she learn about the seeds and growing flowers and vegetables, but she now has something to look forward to when we get home everyday…watering her flowers!