My daughter is a dirt girl at heart and I have grown to love the Earth in so many ways. So one week is by no means long enough for us to fully cover all that we would love to do regarding land and Earth, but it’s a great time to focus on the details that maybe get forgotten in the grand scheme of our eco-consciousness. Understanding the ground we walk on seems kind of odd at first, but then the more I ponder the thought, the more I realize it’s important that kids know that dirt is a world-wide kind of thing whereas an iceberg is not.
There are so many different directions that we could have gone with this theme and many directions you can choose to go as well. You could choose to make the week about digging into soil or you could be exploring globes, maps, and atlases. You could even talk about the animals that live on the earth and make this unit study an extension of other units. There is no wrong way and a combination is the best of every world (no pun intended). For us at 23 months, we focused on the basics and did not dig in too deep into the subject, but had fun with the concepts and extended some previous learning themes.
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Studying the Earth and Land
When I hosted an Earth Day event in April, Dayna at Lemon Lime Adventures put together a great boo guide for Earth Day and just for exploring the earth in general. It’s worth checking out to see a more environmental side of teaching about the Earth! Click the images below for some of our favorite book recommendations. In all we went through about 20 books this theme!
Toys and supplies would include anything from puzzles to supplies to get outdoors and have fun with the Earth. A few toys and supplies you might consider are as follows:
- Gardening Set including a shovel, rake, etc..
- Sandbox or Mud kitchen outside
- Seeds and plants
- Atlases, globes, floor maps, and more
- Montessori Maps and Puzzles
- Montessori Sandpaper Land and Water Form Cards
- Matching games for geographical land forms such as 3 part cards
- Natural materials like sticks, pine cones, nuts, etc..
Land & Earth Vocabulary Words
Some words and concepts to consider implementing this week are as follows: land, earth, dirt, soil, grass, trees, state, nation, continent, hill, mountain, garden, plants, seeds, sun, moon, clouds, stars, seasons, weather, climate, etc..
Activities for Teaching about the Earth
- Make toys and Crafts from Nature. Use what nature has given us to talk about the Earth in a fun way by using it for fun crafts and activities. Ideas range from making play blocks out of twigs and branches to making a play tea set out of acorns!
- Get Dirty & Make Mud. It’s such a simple concept and idea, but it’s so much fun and what better time than now to have the excuse to do it (for those that are cleaner than others). Erin at Bambini Travel has a great suggestion to not only do it but to ensure you have enough to for unhindered play and for clean up. Both are important in this instance!
- Throw Rocks. Make some gross motor games where you throw rocks into circles that have been drawn with chalk on the sidewalk.
- Explore Maps – You can do this by pulling out globes, atlases, maps, placemats, puzzle, or even looking at sensory bin ideas like this one from b-Inspired Mama. We spent a lot of time with puzzles, but also investigating our rug map. She loves know “Home-uh” (Oklahoma).
- Do some Earth Yoga . This is SUCH a fun and active way to get your kids involved in learning about the Earth. Kids Yoga Story shares several yoga stretches and poses that range from imitating a tree to pretending to be a blossoming flower. My daughter loved doing these and is very excited when learning means pretending and being active!
- Go on a Hike. Catch bugs along the way, pick up sticks, admire the flowers, and enjoy nature with your toddler.
- Make a Water Bead Earth Sensory Bin. Not only is it beauitful, but it’s a fun idea from And Next Comes L to help little ones get hands on with the Earth in a way other than just dirt and mud. This is also a great way to explore colors and that our Earth is blue and green.
- Use Nature for Art Projects. Again, using nature and what the Earth has given us to create our own works of art is so much fun.
- Climb a Hill. And have a picnic there!
- Make Play Doh Globes! What child doesn’t love an opportunity to play with play dough? This is a fun way that kids can explore the globe and what the Earth is as a whole.
Bible Verse of the week “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” Psalm 24:1
For more on Tot School, see all of our Weekly Themes or visit our Ultimate Earth Day Education Guide.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!