Earth Day Absorption Science

Water is a fantastic “chemical” to do science experiments and investigations with.  I love this easy water absorption activity, especially for the littlest tots.   Easy to set up with cotton make-up pads, some water and droppers.  Using blue and green water, this makes a perfect Earth Day STEAM activity.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Small tray/plate or cookie sheet
  • cup of blue water
  • cup of green water
  • dropper
  • Round cotton pads

Show your little one a picture of the Earth.  We spent some time talking about our planet and where we live on the planet, that the blue was oceans, the green and brown was the land and the white were the clouds.

Next, I gave them a cup of green water, blue water, dropper and a cotton pad and told them to drip the colored water onto the pad to create their own Earth.

The tots LOVE droppers!

The youngest ones dipped their pads in the water or dumped the water onto their pads.

The older ones were particular about where to place the green and blue drops.

They were so proud of their Earths!

The Science Behind the Activity:

I love using droppers whenever possible as it is a great way to strengthen muscles in preparation for learning to write AND it develops fine motor skills, both of which are vital as pre-writing skills begin emerging.  It’s also a great way to watch how water gets “sucked up” by the cotton pad and to introduce big words such as “absorb” and absorption” to their expanding vocabulary.

Visit this link to see where I got my “wet” idea from: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/earth-day-water-science-experiment/

For more Earth Day activities, try the following:

Also, if you like this activity, you will LOVE the Water Absorption Tray!  Another easy water science activity that you can put together with whatever you have at home!

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Garbage Sorting

In honor of Earth Day, I figured it was time to really show the superheroes (and the Tiny Tots in my classes) how to separate and sort our garbage so that we can reuse as much of our waste as possible.  Here is an EASY activity to get together in 5 minutes!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • garbage of all sorts: I used: banana/orange peels, wrappers, napkins, paper, water bottles, glass bottles, bottle caps, plastic bags, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes, etc…

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  • 3 bins with labels: recycling, compost, garbage (I printed images from the internet since most of the Tiny Tots can’t read yet
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Garbage

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Food waste/Compost

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Recycling

I gave the bin of mixed garbage to the Tiny Tots and they had to sort the garbage out.  As they sorted, I discussed why they made the choices they did and corrected them if they were off track.

IMG_1573Some of the parents in my Tiny Tot classes learned a thing or two about recycling (Did you know that most bottle caps are NOT recyclable even though the water bottles are?)

The recycling bin was the fullest!

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Next was the compost/food waste bin

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The smallest was the garbage bin, headed for the landfill.

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That’s IT!  So easy!  Just grab your own garbage and sort away!

 Explanation:

Young kids love to sort!  This is a great way to practice sorting skills and also learn how to recycle and reuse our waste.  If you’re lucky, this might encourage them to clean up after themselves… one can only hope!

 

Layers of the Earth

I wanted to show my superheroes what our Earth looked like from the inside.  They’ve seen plenty of images of the outside with the oceans and the continents.  I found this great model Earth activity to do with them that would show them all the layers underneath the Earth’s surface.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Playdoh in the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown
  • Dental Floss

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I couldn’t find a single pack of brown playdoh anywhere so I made my own batch using a recipe given to me by son’s preschool teacher many moons ago.

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I made a large batch of playdoh and used brown liquid watercolor to get the color I wanted.  So mine is definitely not meant for the mouth.  I must admit, the homemade playdoh is so much softer and easier to play and mold with.  But I digress…

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We first took the red playdoh and made a very small ball with it.  (We should have made ours smaller).  The red ball represents the Earth’s inner core, a solid mass of iron.

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We next took the orange playdoh and flattened it out a bit and then wrapped the red ball inside.  We rolled it around to smooth out the bumps.  The orange layer represents the outer core, a liquid mass of iron and nickel.

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We repeated the previous step with yellow playdoh to form the Earth’s mantle and then added the brown on top of that to represent the Earth’s crust.  The mantle is thick solid rocky substance.  The crust is the thinnest part of the Earth made up primarily of rock.

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The boys ended up using a roller to flatten out the larger layers and it was much easier.

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On top of the crust, we added bits of blue and green to form the oceans and the continents.  The crust is covered up by the oceans and only the tips of the crust protrude above the oceans as continents and landmasses.

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My middle son wanted to hold the “world” in his hands!

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Finally, our Earth was complete.  But we need to see our layers, right?  So, we used a piece of dental floss to cut through the Earth.

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Why floss?  Because floss will cut through smoothly without smooshing your Earth into a lopsided blob the way a knife will.

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We got a nice clean cut and were able to see all of the layers of the Earth distinctly.

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The superheroes loved it!  And then they were ready to just play with the playdoh.  The good thing is that I was easily able to put the Earth back together to show my Tiny Tots in class the following day.

If I were to do this again, I would make the mantle layer (yellow) thicker and the inner core (red) a bit smaller.

Here’s where I got my idea from: http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2011/04/playdoh-planet-earth-and-some-babbling.html

Paper Plate Earth

In honor of Earth Day, the superheroes and I decided to do a craft, instead of an experiment.  This is a super EASY craft that takes only a few minutes to set up and complete and it looks awesome!  I’m sure you have these supplies laying around the house.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • White plate (or a large white cardboard/cardstock circle)
  • blue and green tissue paper cut into squares (leftover from all those gifts your kids receive!)
  • Glue and scissors

Cover the entire plate (circle) with glue.  We just spread ours around but you could also use a paintbrush.

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Using the green and blue tissue paper squares (we ended up using leftover streamers cut into squares) let your little ones create their version of the world map.  We looked at pictures of the Earth first and discussed what the green and blue represent.

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Let it dry.  That’s it!  You can hole punch it and hang it near a window.  Simple.  Easy.

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Here’s where I got my idea from: http://happyhooligans.ca/earth-day-crafts-for-kids/