Celebrate Earth Day and Learn All About the Earth!

This Earth Day post was brought to you by Oriental Trading.  All opinions are mine.  This post contains affiliate links.

Earth Day Education

Earth Day is April 22nd and we are prepared to learn!  Oriental Trading provided us with complimentary educational materials to facilitate plenty of lessons about the Earth, how to take care of it, and the fabulous things the Earth does.  The boys have really enjoyed using this awesome stuff to have fun and learn.

I always thought that Oriental Trading Company was just for parties and Vacational Bible School, but it's so, so much more.  I went to check out their recommended products for Earth Day and came up with so much stuff.

We started our Earth Day fun by planting DIY seed pots and the Watch It Grow Plant Viewer:

Earth Day Grow

The boys and I loved watching the seeds sprout and roots go down into the soil.  We love our garden, and this brought so many more teachable moments concerning the life cycle of a plant!

roots

Earth Day pots

There is just SO much STUFF that parents and teachers can use to teach.  Educational products are always so expensive, but I was impressed with the cost at Oriental Trading.  A four pack of life cycle posters was only $5.99.  Huge, full color posters like this one:

life cycle butterflyWe used each of the posters and created a fun lesson about the life cycles of the butterfly, frog, chicken, and plants!  The visual really helped the boys understand it all.

Then we began talking about how it is our responsibility to take care of this Earth that God gave us.  The Captain loved coloring these Earth Day magnets for our fridge, to help remind us to recycle and go green!

magnetsGlobes are cool.  Every kid loves globes.  But an inflatable globe?  SO MUCH FUN!  We can search for countries and continents on the globe and talk about the oceans, then take a break to toss it in the air.  This was the boys' favorite part of our Earth Day study:

inflatable globe

We also found an awesome sorting game that really got us thinking about recycling.  The Learn to Recycle Activity Boxes was tricky, but so much fun.  We divided up the items to be recycled and talked about each piece and what it was made of.  

recycling game

Lightbulbs, cans, and even worms were part of this fun game!

recycling game

Each box has a "Fun Fact" on the side to help you decide what to put where:

Earth Day recycling

I am so thrilled that I discovered all the great, well priced teaching tools at Oriental Trading.  Check it out for all of your supplies needed for teaching, homeschooling, Sunday school, holidays, VBS, and more!

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day bible verse

 

 

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The School Quandary for a Fall Child

Captain Fussybuckets' birthday is in November.  Here in Texas, you have to be 5 on September 1st to start to kindergarten.  So, while one of his cousins and most of his preschool buddies will be starting kindergarten in the Fall, he will not.  He has been in the 4's and 5's class at a two day preschool program since September.  It was the first year of this program, so they were still trying to figure out which class to put the kids in when school started.  The Captain was three when he began the 4's and 5's class, and that's where he stayed when they pulled some younger kids out and put them in another classroom.  This has been such a great experience for him, as he has made new friends his age and learned new things, as well as practiced being away from Mommy and Daddy for long periods of time!  

His first daycare experience didn't go quite as well.  After his third birthday, we put him in a daycare that was owned by friends of ours from church.  In fact, his teacher from church was the director of the daycare.  He had been asking to go to school and well, we thought it would be great for him.  And it was!  For three hours, two mornings a week, he happily went to daycare where he played with his friends and loved his teachers.  But then he got sick about six weeks into it and had to miss a few days.  I think then he realized how much fun he was missing at home, so he didn't want to go back.  We tried to take him back, but he just wasn't having fun and so we pulled him out.  There was no sense in forcing him to stay there if he didn't want to and we didn't need him to.  I really feel for you parents who have no other choice.  I don't know how you do it!

drawing

So back to the current situation….a few times he hasn't wanted to go to preschool but that passed quickly, although we thought it wouldn't.  But now we have started to realize something….in the fall, he will be going to school with maybe a couple of the kids from this year, but mostly it will be kids from the younger class that have moved up to his class.  We assume that he will have the same teacher, in the same room, learning the same things over again.  This is great for his social well being, but is there a better option for him?  Well, maybe.  We have heard the local daycare where he attended before has a great pre-k program.  There is also a pre-k at the school that he might qualify for, but being a former teacher, I know those programs are meant for kids who really need them, and I do not want to take that spot away from someone who might need it more than he does.

So where does that leave us?  I know how great an extra year can be for some kids.  An extra year of maturing, an extra year of preparing can be great, especially for boys.  But I've also seen how an extra year can be negative and I've seen a few kids…even boys! with summer birthdays thrive in kindergarten.  I do believe that it's all about how you prepare them in the preschool years.  Sometimes it depends on maturity, which you can't really teach or force, and maybe the Captain won't be mature enough to handle kindergarten in the fall, even if we were given that option, but as his mother, and also one who taught kids his age in the past, I would say he will be ready and he would thrive in kindergarten in the fall.  Of course, though, that's not my decision.

Over the weekend, we went to visit my parents.  Luckily my sweet mother had saved my teaching supplies, so I grabbed some of those and brought them home so I can maybe work with him on a few things at home, to keep his learning momentum going.  Also, hopefully we can sit down as a family and consider our options and we will find the answer to the question – what's the best choice for our child?  I'm just happy and feel so blessed that we do have so many options.

Daycare?  Pre-K?  Preschool?  Montessori?  Homeschool?  Private school?  Public school?  I'm interested to hear what the best answer has been for your family and why!