4 Earth Day Books (and Earth-Friendly Activities!)

I am going to be real for a second.  I love a cute craft as much as the next teacher.  However, I feel very strongly that Earth Day is not the time for that (unless you are using recycled items, of course!). So instead of having my kiddos cut some fresh paper and open new glue sticks this Earth day, I will be looking for ways to save some trees and show my students how we can learn without waste.
Here are some great books along with extension activity ideas for doing the same!
This book provides excellent information about bottles that are recycled and their journey to becoming reusable plastic.  However, it does not show the “dark side” aka bottles that are not recycled so that might be a good discussion point after reading.
{Photo credit and idea by Jackie Currie}
Collect water bottles throughout the week or have each student bring in a plastic bottle from home to make these beautiful wind spirals! Students can take them home to hang up or maybe you could ask your principal if it would be okay to decorate the school.  Check out the directions here.
This “Little Monster” book is all about…you guessed it, a monster! He doesn’t like to go outside and has zero appreciation for nature.  Then one day the lights go out and he is forced to check out the outside world which he grows to love. Bonus to this book: It is made from recycled materials! #winwin
Keep it simple: Go on a nature walk.  Smell the roses. Take the time to check out things around your school you might not normally notice. If you can’t do this during your school day, assign it for homework! Pick a day where the weather is nice and encourage your students to head out into their yards and neighborhoods.  Have them record their observations on a piece of recycled paper and share the next day!
This book encourages students to think outside the box about how they can reuse items to reduce waste! It includes actionable suggestions for students to implement right away! The message that new is not always necessary (or better) is loud and clear in this colorful book!

Recycle and Reuse Exchange: Have students bring in an object from home they no longer use.  And/or find objects in your classroom (think: deep in that closet you haven’t opened all year). If students bring something from home, have them swap with someone else and think of ideas for repurposing the object.  Provide some additional materials like scissors and glue.  Partner students up if needed.  At the end, have students share the new use for their object!
Class Yard Sale Swap: Instead of coming up with a new use, simply have students shop and swap their items. Then have them share how they will use in their home.
This simple yet well-written book provides a no-nonsense answer to this powerful question. It highlights the impact that all individuals (even little ones!) have on the earth!
Do you have a recycling bin in your classroom? (We do but I question whether everything is truly being recycled.) If you don’t ask around for an extra classroom and make one for your room.  After you read the book, make a list of things that should and should not be recycled. At the end of the day or week, work in groups to sort the items into groups (plastic, paper, non-recyclables ect).  Ask for help from the custodian staff or parents to get the items to where they belong in the community!
What are your favorite Earth Day activities and books?!
Happy Teaching!

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