Cleaning up litter in the neighborhood is something even preschoolers can do.

Environmental Activities for Preschoolers

by Shelley Frost

The intricacies of global warming may be beyond the grasp of the average preschooler, but your child is never too young to start learning about taking care of the environment. From recycling to cleaning up pollution, your little one has the power to make the Earth a better place to live. Family projects and learning activities reinforce environmental concepts so your preschooler grows up to be a friend to the environment.

1. Neighborhood Cleanup

This preschool environment activity requires you to get your hands a little dirty, but it's all for a good cause. Organizing a neighborhood cleanup day makes the area look nicer while giving you the chance to talk to your preschooler about litter and pollution. If you know other families in the neighborhood, get them involved in cleaning up the outdoor space. Gloves protect your child's hands from slimy goo while picking up the trash. Better yet, pick up a few trash picker tools so you don't have to touch the trash. Supervise your little one closely so he doesn't grab something sharp or dangerous.

2. Gardening and Composting

A backyard garden is a small way to help the environment and teach your preschooler about how things grow. The garden shows the importance of clean water and soil. You can also teach about how our activities impact the environment. Choose the plants that go in the garden with your preschooler so he feels like it's his garden. A compost bin complements the garden and helps out the environment. By putting yard waste and kitchen scraps in your compost bin, your preschooler learns how to reduce waste and turn it into something beneficial.

3. Recycling Crafts

All those recyclables sitting in the garage waiting to go to the recycling center hold the potential to become cool craft projects for your preschooler. For an open-ended craft project, lay out a bunch of materials and let him make his own 3D creation. For example, he might make a car out of an old cardboard box or a robot from some recycled aluminum foil and tin cans. Empty jars can hold craft supplies or toys. Paint them before stashing treasures in them. Transform old food containers into homemade instruments. Oatmeal containers make ideal drums, while old yogurt containers filled with rice create maracas.

4. Games

Games offer a way to talk about the environment without an involved process like that of gardening or neighborhood cleanups. For a simple game, print off pictures of both good and bad things for the environment. Negative pictures could include an oil spill, chemicals or lights left on when no one is around. Positive environment pictures might include someone recycling, lights shut off or people walking instead of driving. Have your preschooler sort out the pictures into things you should and shouldn't do to help the environment. Or, collect pictures of different ecosystems like a pond, ocean, farm and forest. Have your preschooler sort different items that would go in each ecosystem. For example, squirrels, trees and flowers might go in the forest ecosystem.

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