For practitioners who struggle for ideas and inspiration for outdoor play activities I often suggest choosing a favourite book, reading it with children and brainstorming ideas with them for follow on activities. Using literacy as a springboard to outdoor work is fun, relevant and meaningful for children this way.
My chosen book is I'm in Charge of Celebrations by Byrd Baylor. It is an astonishingly powerful book and a great read for Earth Day because it launches the idea that there are many natural events to celebrate all year round... so why stick at one special day when there are so many possibilities. It's about celebrating awe and wonder of the world in which we live.
- Start keeping a journal. Have a special book that is small enough to carry around with you. Make it an interactive one - use Gordon MacLellan's book Celebrating Nature for suggestions.
- Record the moments of awe and wonder you see, hear, feel, taste and touch all around you in nature. Look for the little moments of magic to remember and celebrate.
- Note the date and make this day a special celebration day. For example I now have a Gull Day in May. This is based on witnessing several greedy gulls trying to eat shells in our playground in the middle of a maths activity. They spat them out.
- Think of something special to do on that day to savour the original memory and collect new ones. For example, I'm going to take my binoculars with me to watch the gulls. I may decide to look at all the different vantage points they use such as roofs, the tops of lamp posts, the edges of harbours, etc. I may read the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull but if I'm working with children perhaps we'll read The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch. We can do whatever we want, as it's going to be a celebration of our choosing.
As a teacher, I value celebrations - special days to mark different events. This books simply put this into the context of nature and recognising the value of the natural world. Something we all need to do.
Happy Earth Day Everyone! Our world is precious. It's the only one we've got.
Now don't go away because there are even more Earth Day books along with great ideas being shared by these bloggers today! Stop by and bookmark or even go ahead and pin them all!