We’ve long used Earth day as a day of learning and fun. Last year we spent the day at The Great Cloth Diaper Change, an international event that aims to educate and raise awareness on the ease of modern cloth diapers.
This year, curious enough, there was no Great Cloth Diaper Change in Minnesota. It was disappointing, but since Brad had to work it was unlikely I would have made the trek anyways. Instead, we used it as a day for learning and science.
Today had even more meaning to us this year as clean air and water are more threatened now than any other time in recent history. Thanks EPA cuts!
This affects us personally now. At Franki’s last pediatrician appointment, I was asked- for the first time ever- where my children’s drinking water, food, and bath water come from (as in bottled, well water, or city). In our current rural farmland environment- paired with the deregulation of pesticides- this new question was startling. They are monitoring the results in rural children- in my children. Like involuntary guinea pigs.
I wonder how many people would be okay with their children’s water being poisoned?
It’s now or never to educate and push for regulation and an environmentally conscious government. So I started the day with coffee and emailing my state representatives while explaining to Marshall the importance of activism.
Once the girls woke up, we changed them out of their overnight diapers (click here for our overnight cloth diaper solution) and into planet and wilderness message prints in honor of the day. Marshall and Vi both donned astronomy shirts as well.
Before even having breakfast, we got straight to work on prepping our afternoon snack. With repurposing things we already had around the house, we created a solar oven. I explained to the kids about solar energy- how the sun’s rays can be harnessed into producing energy that is healthier for us and the Earth while also being cheaper! Marshall was especially excited to combine science (his favorite subject) with cooking (one of his favorite hobbies).
We typically eat meals in the dining room as a family when Brad is home. When he’s at work, however, the kids eat at their small table in the living room while I read them books as they eat. It’s easier for me because Franki gets hungry at the same time as her siblings and it’s much more comfortable to nurse on the couch than at the dining room table. The kids really enjoy the stories too so it’s a win-win for us all. Of course, we had to have a special book theme going for breakfast stories.
After breakfast the kids got to work on their morning snack- which was unusually sweet but also an Earth Day tradition of ours. Earth Cookies! Earth cookies are always eye-catching and a favorite among kids and adults alike- but also so simple.
Just make your favorite sugar cookie dough and then separate 3/4 of the dough into one bowl and 1/4 into another bowl. Dye the 3/4 bowl blue with food coloring and the 1/4 dough with green dye. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour to allow the dough to sturdy up a bit. After the hour is up, roll the blue dough into about a one inch ball and then place a few small pieces of green dough around the ball. Voila! Bake for about 10 minutes at 375F and you have adorable little Earth cookies.
It was now time to plant our flower seeds in small green houses in preparation for our spring flowerbeds. The whole point of today is education, so I again made a point to explain to the kids why we were sowing seeds (other than to get pretty flowers). That we breathe air and plants clean the air. How the sun and water feed the plants just like how they can provide us with clean renewable energy!
Lunchtime grew nearer (yes, young children and toddlers pretty much do nothing other than eat with brief periods between) and, in keeping with the theme, we had a green lunch. Violet’s favorite: chicken Caesar wraps! She consistently picks salad wraps over cookies and sweets. Sided with milk, apples, and roasted almonds.
The clock showed it was time for the girls’ nap. Marshall usually looks at books or plays quietly during this time since he has long outgrown naptime. Today, though, we quietly did a science experiment that is more age appropriate for him- not so much his sisters.
We recreated an oil spill with cooking oil and dyed water. I then challenged Marshall to clean the oil out of the water so that it wouldn’t hurt the “environment” of the dish. He tried a sponge, sucking it up with a dropper, skimming the surface with a paper towel, and scooping it out with a spoon.
Marshall discovered just how hard it was to clean up the spill. Each time he would successfully get rid of a small amount of the oil but not without great disruption to the ecosystem of the dish. The oil would split and spread more with every attempt to clean it up. He grew frustrated with the task and I explained that this is another reason why oil isn’t an ideal energy solution. Marshall agreed and expressed his hope that we (as a people) start using more renewable energy sources instead of oil.
The girls awoke from their nap and we enjoyed another Earth Day book- I am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer. It was the perfect way to bring up the rainforest and delicate ecosystems. It was also an opportunity for Vi & Franki to be exposed to a woman scientist. Marshall & Violet loved the gorillas and started chasing each other around pretending to be little monkeys.
They were thrilled when I told them it was time for the nachos. I couldn’t tell what was Marshall’s favorite part- the nachos or the use of a makeshift solar oven.
It wasn’t long after and Brad was home for the evening. The kids were excited to tell him all they learned and did while he was gone.
I know that some think that I expose my small children to big concepts too early. I don’t agree with this; I believe that we don’t give kids enough credit much of the time. For example, a few weeks ago, our family was at a restaurant that had its walls lined with plate-glass windows. It was a beautiful day out with the sun shining brightly through each and every window. Marshall sat in our booth, looking out the window and then up at the light above our table. He then looked and observed that each of the booths lining the room had a (curtainless) plate glass window- as well as a light fixture hanging above the tables. “Mom!” he proclaimed, “they shouldn’t have the lights on with the sun out! They’re wasting electricity!”
You see, they do understand and apply what they learn to real world scenarios. Our kids continue to amaze me with their independent observations and conclusions. Their little minds make me incredibly proud.
As my personal Earth Day project, I will be making more reusable snack and sandwich bags from cotton and velcro- perfect for dry foods. They have worked wonderfully for our little family and so I would like to offer them to friends and family reading this. Drop me a text or Facebook/Instagram message letting me know you would like some (as well as your address) and I will send some off to you. To any readers who don’t know me personally, never fear, I plan on having a giveaway soon so stay tuned for that!
Now, a special Earth Day list of some of my favorite things! All environmentally friendly, economical, and socially conscious. Perfect for your children, baby shower gifts, or birthday presents!
- Bumgenius One-Size Diapers
Can be purchased at: cottonbabies.com
Why I love them: Bumgenius diapers are very affordable for the quality. They last effortlessly through multiple babies and can be resold at a reasonable price. Best of all, Bumgenius is mom made by Jennifer Labit. She was a struggling mother who created a socially conscious company. She has personally traveled overseas to be sure that her cotton that is secured is fair trade. The company is run primarily by women and they are allowed to bring their children to the office. Also, the diapers are made in America- many of which are Syrian refugees! She also just announced Big and Bigger diapers fitting 35-70lbs and 70-120lb special needs children. American made, mom friendly, socially conscious, high quality, and economical. What more can you want?! Buy allllll the diapers!
- Thirsties Newborn Diapers
Can be purchased at: thirstiesbaby.com
Why I love them: while I adore Bumgenius for their one-size diapers (8-35lbs) I prefer thirsties for newborn diapers. The components of the diapers are USA sourced, all the diapers are made in America by moms working in their homes, and the quality is second to none. The designs are adorable, the diapers are affordable, and the benefits of cloth diapers for the environment and your baby are unsurpassable.
- Free to be Kids
Can be purchased at: freetobekids.com
Why I love them: you have got to check out these shirts. Seriously. Go now and come back. With slogans such as “Boys will be good humans”, “Kind like daddy”, “She was warned, she was given an explanation, but nevertheless she persisted”, “feminist”, and more I’m won over without even hearing the details behind the company and products. Then when I hear that they are 100% guaranteed sweatshop labor free and is 100% women driven state side I just want to give them all my money! Psst: there is also an adult clothing section. Your welcome.
- Green Toys
Can be purchased at: greentoys.com
Why I love them: books, puzzles, and toys! Brightly colored with old school charm, these make for durable and fun gifts. They are made in America and made 100% from recycled materials!! The production of their products cuts down on water usage, waste, and energy.
- RePlay dishes
Why I love them: RePlay dishes are extremely affordable, easily accessible, and so durable for little hands. They are family owned and operated with their products made in America from 100% recycled milk jugs! Heads up: this is my go to baby shower and birthday present side gift. Available in a variety of bright colors, they are easy to match with other gift items.
- Rover lunchbox
Can be purchased at: planetbox.com
Why I love them: instead of buying a new lunchbox every year as the plastic and fabric wears down from heavy use by little hands, go for the sturdy (and sharp-looking) rover lunchbox! It comes with a larger than usual price tag at $55 but it also comes with a 5 year warranty and holds up extremely well! Perfect for any age and has wonderfully convenient add ons to accompany yourself or your child and ensure a perfect lunch. Non-toxic, environmentally friendly, easy to clean, and customizable- it’s well worth the price!
Do you have any favorite environmentally friendly and socially conscious items? Let me in on the secret and drop me a line!
I hope you found ways to celebrate and educate on Earth Day. Let’s make every day Earth Day with trying to figure out ways we can improve.