Earth Day Activities!

April 27, 2020

Let’s celebrate Earth Day every day with the help of Danielle at Neighborhood North!

Hello everyone and Happy Earth Day to you! It’s Danielle from Neighborhood North. I know this year looks a little different from years in the past, but don’t worry, there are still plenty of ways for us to learn something new, show the planet a little much-needed love, and yes even get outside! So let’s find some of those ways together, let’s go!

Water Cycle: Let’s start off with a little indoor water cycle experiment. This one is simple, all you need is a sandwich bag, ¼ cup water, some blue food coloring, a sharpie, and some tape. Start by drawing a little sun and cloud figure on the top of your bag. Then add your water, about four drops of blue dye, seal it tight then tape it closed. Find a sunny spot on the window and tape your bag up. Over the next few days, use this experiment to observe a miniature water cycle. But just what exactly is a water cycle?

As the sun outside heats up the water from our rivers, ground, and in your bag, it draws the water upwards by turning it from a liquid to a vapor state. This process is called “evaporation”. As the vapor is pulled higher into the sky, it begins to cool down and form back into tiny liquid droplets. Water changing from vapor to liquid droplets is called “condensation”. Clouds are made from these droplets and as more collect the clouds get darker and heavier. Eventually, these droplets fall back to earth in a form of “precipitation” or as we know it, rain, snow, sleet, or hail. Then, the sun comes out and the water cycle can start all over.

Planters: For our next activity, we’ll be making planters using items we might normally throw away. I have with me some milk jugs, an old juice bottle, a coffee canister, some plants obviously, extra soil if needed, scissors, and some art supplies for decoration. First I cut a hole in the top half of my milk carton. I left the handle intact but you don’t have to so long as the hole is big enough to fit the plant.

Next, I added some decorations. I found some old paint and got to work. I didn’t have any paintbrushes so I cut the tip off an old sponge and dipped it in. I like using a sponge to paint because you can make a lot of different textures that are hard to get with a brush. While I waited for the paint to dry, I took my other milk jug and simply poked some holes in the top to make a water canister. I took my juice jug and laid it on its side so I could cut a rectangle shape out of the top. I also chose not to decorate this one, hoping I could maybe see the roots grow when it's planted. No holes to cut in the coffee canister, and I chose to decorate it using some scrapbook paper. I did, however, laminate the paper in between clear tape so it wouldn’t get wet when I watered the plants. I wrapped it up, and it was good to go. In all my containers I also added a little hole at the bottom to drain water. Then I took my soil, my containers, my water jug and my plants outside. I filled the containers with a little extra soil, added the plants, topped it off with a little more soil ~always pickup your run-away trash~ and gave my plants their first drinks. And that’s it! Now take them home and watch them grow.

Nature Hikes: For our final Earth Day activity, go play outside! It’s absolutely allowed under social distancing rules, and a great way to show Earth you care is to spend more time with it. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. See how many different kinds of birds, animals, and insects you can find. Look to the trees! Do they have leaves yet? Are they budding? What kind of fruit will this tree produce? Nuts? Or just leaves? How can you tell? Can you spot every color of the rainbow from what you find in nature? On a bug hunt? Under every rock, there’s bound to be some creature wiggling around.

If you’re planning on doing some gardening, here’s a simple soil test you can do. Simply grab any jar and fill it up about halfway with the soil you’re hoping to plant in. Test out a few areas if you like then screw the lid on tight and wait till you get home. Top it off with water and give it a good shake. After about 24hrs, the sediments will settle from lightest to heaviest particles. Sand on the bottom, followed by silt, clay, water, and then debris. “Loam” is a term used meaning the perfect combination of sediments. As you can see we’re not quite there yet. There are tons of ways for you to explore the world around you. The important thing to get outside, to make discoveries and to have fun.

Thank you, everyone, so much for hanging out with me today! I hope that you are all able to find a great way to celebrate Earth Day this year whether it be by picking up trash around your neighborhood, doing one of the activities we did today, or coming up with something on your own! There are plenty of creative and helpful ways we can say thank you to our planet. As always to be sure to let us know if you like this video and if you want to see more. Have a fantastic Earth Day and we’ll see you next time!

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