Oh no! Tourists visiting the Hermit Ridge and Woodland Sanctuary Tuff Spot left all of their trash behind!
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I asked my children who were all “ooh” and “ahh” over the new Forest Friends Tree House if there was anything wrong with what they saw. They replied, saying there was trash everywhere. I asked them if it was a good thing or a bad thing. They said it was “very bad”. High fives for my kiddos, because they rock. This of course is a perfect opportunity to take things further and discuss the WHY of it if wanted / needed.
For Earth Day (April 22nd), I wanted to address an issue that is very important to me and my family. We live on a small island in the middle of the pacific where trash left on our beaches get dragged out with the tide and into the water where sea creatures eat or get stuck in them.
Teaching our children to care for their environment is important! Not just at home but for when they are visiting other homes as well, be that of humans or other creatures. Our actions have consequences, some we know of and others we don’t.
“Take nothing but pictures and memories. Leave nothing but footprints.”
Here is what I used in this set up –
– 3’ x 3’ of green artificial grass (Local hardware store. Cut down to size)
– Black river rock, large (Local hardware store.)
– Black river rock, small. You’ll notice on the smaller river rock, there are drawings. In a previous activity, I had drawn lines and squiggles on them with liquid chalk for the kids to use as puzzle and shaping pieces. The liquid chalk washes right off if needed, but I liked the way it looked so I kept them as is (though they were a bit smudgy from use). I’ll be happy to make another post showing how the chalk puzzle activity works if there is interest in it.
Then finally, I purchased (commercial use) clipart from Etsy, printed and laminated them, and then cut them into 2” squares. If you would like to purchase and use other clipart from the sets I used, you can find the artists here –
I was happy to see that not only did my kids recognize the issue, but also knew immediately how to help without much instruction other than me double checking if they remembered which bin was which. They quickly knew to use the chopsticks to pick up the trash or recycling item and then drop it into the correct bin.
Halfway through, my son started using his hands instead of the chopsticks. His grip wasn’t gentle enough to hold the laminate without slipping. He continued using his fingers instead and it went a lot smoother for him.
The kids actually had it sorted much quicker than I thought it should have taken, but I think that happens with many (most) activities. More so for the parents and educators, than the kids themselves. haha
The educational value and benefits are aplenty, and include but are not limited to:
– Learning how to care for the earth and our environment.
– Fine motor practice and development.
– Hand-eye coordination
– Language skill exercise
– Discussion of important issues
– Daily living practice (cleaning up after yourself)
At the time of this activity, my happy helpers – Miss K and Mr. O, were 5 and 3.
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Yvonne Leialoha is an introverted night owl, and a perfectly imperfect mother of two. Along with with being way too over-excited about creating scenes and sensory play for the Tuff Spot, she loves playing with her food (and then photographing it for good measure). She has an incredible knack for adding new and creative ideas to an already infinitely long to-do list.