Every spring, we should take the time to teach students to take care of our Earth and our environment. Nature is an amazing treasure, and it is our job to take care of it! Go grab your lesson plan book or binder, and let’s plan your Earth Day theme. Don’t forget to grab the FREE Earth Day Vocabulary Posters in this post too! Check out my Earth Day Math and Literacy Centers and my Little Learners Science Unit, All About Trash and Recycling, to complete the theme in your preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten classroom!
Grab the FREEBIE by entering your email in the box at the bottom of this post. This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a tiny commission when you use my links at no cost to you.
Earth Day Books! Fill the bookshelf with books about the Earth, recycling, saving resources, caring for the environment, garbage, and various habitats (forests, rivers, ponds).
My favorite non-fiction series is Helping the Environment by Charlotte Guillain, which includes Caring for Nature, Saving Water, Cleaning Up Litter, Saving Energy, and Reusing and Recycling. My favorite fiction books are The Earth Book by Todd Par and 10 Things I can do to help my World.
Earth Day Literacy Centers
Earth Day Letter Sort! Kids are fascinated with garbage and recycling trucks! To build on this interest, I made a Recycling Truck Letter Sorting activity for them. Students pick a card and stamp the letter on the matching side. Letter stamps make any activity more fun!
Earth Day Read, Build, Write! This activity has students make the letters with small manipulatives and then practice writing them at the bottom of the mat. I like to laminate my mats so they can be used repeatedly and dry erase markers wipe off. You can also slide them in to wipe and write pockets.
Make the activity harder by using these read, build, and write mats to practice sight words. Your preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten students will be ready for reading after incorporating this hands-on literacy activity.
Earth Day Vocabulary Posters FREEBIE! Most students may not understand what water pollution is or may not have ever seen a recycling plant or a landfill before. These full-page FREE Earth Day Vocabulary Posters will show students what these things actually look like. Keep them out and refer to them throughout the theme.
>>Grab the FREEBIE by entering your email in the box at the bottom of this blog post!<<
Earth Day Writing Center! To spice up the Earth Day writing center, I added NEWSPAPER for students to write on and use to decorate their writing. It is a way for students to practice reusing something instead of throwing it away!
I also added Earth Day vocabulary cards, Earth Day writing paper, skinny markers, colored pencils, crayons, scissors, paper, and glue. There is always a basket with previously themed vocabulary cards and family word cards (grab HERE for FREE).
Earth Day Write the Room Outside! Since we are learning all about the Earth, why not take the learning outside?! We did “write the room” outside! I placed the Earth Day vocabulary cards all over the ground. Students then went around writing the words on their Earth Day paper using a clipboard. Super simple and so much fun!
Earth Day Writing Tray! Make an Earth Day writing tray with a recycling twist! Tear up a few pieces of paper and write letters on each one. Then place some colored sand or dyed salt in a tray or kid plate (like the one in the photo) with marker lids. Students use the marker lids to write letters in the sand! Now, this is a fun way to practice writing letters!
Earth Day Syllables Game! My students LOVE connecting cubes! I made an Earth Day Syllable game where they clap the syllables and build a tower with the corresponding number of cubes. At the end, they have a visual representation of what words are short (small towers) and what words are long (big towers).
Earth Day STEM & Building Ideas
Earth Day Blocks & Stem Props! In the blocks center, I added Earth Day STEM Challenges and fun props like cardboard, a small bucket of crumpled-up paper, cans, cups, lids, cardboard, recycling trucks, and garbage trucks. Encourage fine motor exercises and imagination while students build and create structures for Earth Day.
Earth Day Stem Challenge! This little learner made a recycling plant using unit blocks, recycling trucks, cardboard, crumpled-up paper, and lids. She told me that one side was for paper and one side was for plastic! SO creative! I can’t wait to see what kinds of structures your preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten students create!
Earth Day Little Walks! Litter walks are a must for any Earth Day theme! Grab a paper bag, go outside, and students can help clean up litter around the school. Be sure to wash your hands when you return! This is a great activity to talk about volunteering and getting your little learners up and moving around!
Earth Day Math Centers
Number Build It! Earth Day Building Numbers in ten frames is an easy and fun way to develop one-to-one correspondence and number identification. Students pick a number card, identify the number and count out the corresponding number of gems. There are mats for up to twenty. My younger friends used a single ten-frame board and cards from 1-10. This way, everyone can play the same game at their own level!
Earth Day Patterns! To keep the Earth Day theme going, have students make patterns with rocks, green gems, and blue gems. You can make a pattern, and students can extend it. Students can also make the start of a pattern, and their friends can extend it, or students can make up their own patterns.
Earth Day Student Surveys! Student surveys are always a hit in my classroom. There’s something about a clipboard that makes them feel powerful! Students can go around asking each other if they recycle at home. Students can make tallies or dots (with dot markers) on the graph. Create a whole class survey about walking or riding the bus to school with my printables for little learners!
Earth Day 2D Shapes! This activity helps students learn about shapes. They can identify them, draw them, and learn about their attributes. Quick trick: make each set of cards a different color this way, if they get mixed up, students can easily tell the set apart!
Earth Day 3D Shape Puzzles! Spring is usually when I start teaching about 3D shapes. These Earth Day 3D Puzzles are super fun! Students match the 3D Earth to a real-life 3D shape. Stick the pieces in a sensory box for even more fun!
Recycle Race to 100! Print the number mats and have your students’ practice number identification, counting, and one-to-one correspondence. There are mats for 1-20, 1-50, and 1-100, so you can differentiate for multiple levels in the classroom. Use clean bottle lids for a small manipulative to add in a fun Earth theme.
Recycle Color Sort! Little learners practice sorting by color in this fun color sorting activity using pieces of trash. I collected old marker caps, the caps from bottles and squeezable applesauce pouches, and other small plastic trash items to use for this activity.
Earth Day Fine Motor & Art Ideas
Earth Day Fine Motor Mats! Grab these fine motor mats to get your students to increase their fine motor skills with activities for play dough, linking cubes, pattern blocks, and geoboards.
Newspaper Art! Earth Day art is super easy! Find some newspaper, cut, glue, and paint! It’s open-ended plus students are reusing materials and developing fine motor skills. They will make a beautiful bulletin board display too.
Coffee Filter Earths! Coffee filter Earths are just beautiful! Mix up some green and blue water and cut out a few hearts. Students drop the colored water onto coffee filers to create the Earth. Use droppers and encourage fine motor practice!
Crepe Paper Earth Art! Create paper plate Earths for a fun scissor skills activity! Grab small or large paper plates and crepe paper. Students can cut the crepe paper and glue it to the plate to create the planet Earth!
Earth Day Smash Art! Grab some pie pans or balloons and paint so students can create Earths in a different way. Students put paint on the bottom of the pan and then smash it onto the paper. This activity also helps students strengthen the upper arms and shoulder muscles that they need for writing.
Earth Day Fine Motor Bracelets! Earth Day hole paper punch activity is a ton of fun, and students go crazy for hole punches in my classroom. Plus, when students use hole punches, they strengthen their fine motor muscles and hand-eye coordination.
Earth Day Sensory Table with Mini Earths! (shhh….. it’s really chickpeas).To make colorful chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), check out my post with step-by-step directions! Then add tools like tweezers, green and blue pom poms, green and blue gems, silicone cupcake cups, dice, measuring cups and spoons, and empty plastic bottles.
Polluted Water Sensory Experiment! This looks gross, but I promise it’s not! I took a few food wrappers and washed them. Then I grabbed some clean plastic cups, straws, paper towels, and plastic silverware. Finally, I made the water “polluted” using brown and yellow liquid watercolor. I also added some fish. To help students see the colors, we like to use the white lids of some of our Sterilite containers for art trays.
It’s a sensory experience for students to be able to see what it’s like to play in the water with litter. It’s a way to help our little learners see how pollution affects the environment. At circle time or during play, talk about how they think the fish would feel if they lived in water that is polluted.
Clean Water Sensory Experiment! Then the next day, I fill the sensory table with “clean” water (water with blue liquid watercolor) so students could compare the two. If you have time, make a comparison chart between clean water and polluted water.
Teach students all about the impacts trash can have on the environment and how to recycle at the science table. Make pollution sensory bottles, sort different types of recycling and try to clean up litter. Grab my Recycling and Trash science unit HERE from my TPT store for all the printables, activities, and parent notes.
Need some Earth Day book ideas? Check out my list of the best books about the earth!
Want to do a camping unit? Check out my camping blog post for tons of ideas to have a great time!
Remember to grab the Earth Day Fine Motor Mats too!
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