With the weather warming up and spring approaching, it is the perfect time to start thinking about fun activities and projects to try during the spring months. After all, Earth Week is just around the corner! Here are a few of my favourite eco-friendly activities for you to try!
DIY Bird Feeder
This DIY bird feeder could not be any easier! It requires no more than 5 items. These types of bird feeders can be done in many different ways but I took the simplest route so that my little one could build it independently. For this bird feeder, I use a recycled toilet paper roll, soy butter, bird seeds, a chopstick for my perch (sometimes you have to improvise…ha!), and a ribbon (or string) to hang it.
You will start by spreading the soy butter on the toilet paper roll. Make sure to get all of that good and sticky stuff all over the roll so that the seeds are able to stick to it. Then, roll the roll in the bird seeds and fill any of the gaps that you miss. My son loved being the one to hang the bird feeder to the tree and waited patiently for the first bird to land on the perch! By the time I got out there to snap a picture, he was gone.
Some seeds will fall to the ground in the process, but we definitely had a few birds who appreciated not having to put in the work to earn their little treat!
Recycled Musical Instruments
Kids love making noise and what better way to do that than by building recycled musical instruments. For example, kids love pretending to play the drums on practically anything they can get their hands on. Children are very creative, and if given the tools, they can create practically anything.
My child had to create an object during online learning using recycled materials. He decided to build a few maracas using recycled water bottles and toilet paper rolls. He filled the water bottles with materials that produce different types of noise and connected them to the toilet paper roll using washi tape. Not only is this a fun way to re-use recycled items, it is also a fun sensory activity for younger kids.
Pressed Flowers Frames
This is one of my favourite activities to do during spring and it is a great way to preserve dried-out flowers. They make great home decorations and great gifts, especially with Mother’s Day around the corner. I purchased these double glass frames from Dollarama.
The best type of flowers to use are flowers that have been dried and pressed flat. You can hang dry the flowers upside down, but I find that pressing them between two books and spraying them with hair spray from time to time does the trick. Once they are dry, you can start organizing them in your frame.
You can also use this technique to press specific types of leaves for students to study up close. There are so many ways that you can use these frames, not just during spring, but year-round.
S.T.E.M. Based Challenges
Once you introduce S.T.E.M.-based challenges in your classroom, it is hard to go back. Take my word for it! When I was first introduced to STEM, I thought it was another add-on to my program and I did not know how I was going to fit in another expectation. Little did I know, I was (for the most part) already doing “STEM” in my classroom. I just never called it that. I used to call them project-based assignments.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. You might also be familiar with STEAM, where the A stands for art because….why not! These types of challenges typically require recycled materials, inquiry, problem-solving, and creativity. They make great eco-friendly projects (and quite the mess…but what is learning without the mess!) and you can find so many great themed challenges to use year-round.
Here are two examples of a pinball machine project my students completed. They created a pinball machine with specific requirements (i.e. a ramp, moving flippers, etc.), Many of them were able to find recycled material, such as cardboard, toilet paper rolls, glass jar, etc. They had a lot of fun going around and trying the different pinball machines other groups created.
With any STEM-based project, I always include this generic STEM template that students use to complete throughout the building process. They use these activity sheets to reflect on their problem, hypothesis, materials, and plans. They are also expected to reflect on what they could have done better or what they do would to improve next time. This resource includes a generic template that can be used with any project and posters that you can display to illustrate the various stages of the STEM process.
I would love to hear from you if you give any of these activities a try! If you have any other great eco-friendly activities for me to try, leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you!