Carbon Footprint Calculator

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We have a family tradition of heading out on Earth Day to pick up trash, whether just as a family or by joining a group, as we did today at a local preserve. I’ve posted the details in the past, so here’s just a quick blog today on a quiz we received from Raddish Kids.We loved the way this made us think about how we can do even better for the Earth in the future.

First, Travis learned what a carbon footprint is, and how carbon dioxide contributes to the warming of the planet. We went through the quiz and answered questions like how we get to school (a car – our worst answer, at 4 points!) and what we mostly eat at home (vegetables – yay, we scored a 1).

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After tallying your score, you can zero in on areas for improvement as a family. For example, our new goal is to reduce the number of trash bags we take out each week.

What will your family do for the Earth this year? Please share in the comments!

Clean Up for Earth!

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It’s never too early to teach your children love for this little planet we call home. We set out as a family this Earth Day to pick up trash at a local running trail. Find a park or trail near you on a beautiful day, and your kids will love it… and learn that everyone can help make a difference, no matter how small.

Travis was arguably most excited about the trash bags we carried along and the rubber gloves we got to wear, and headed off very proudly.

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Lots of bottle caps and candy wrappers in this neck of the woods!

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Whenever we found plastic or metal, we’d point out to Travis that those items don’t belong in the Earth.

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It was a beautiful nature excursion to appreciate Earth too, of course – butterflies and ants galore. Travis proudly helped throw our collection into the trash when we had finished.

Once we got home, I made a little pamphlet so we could remember what we had done and invited Travis to draw our adventure inside.

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The yellow was his plastic bag…

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…and then he told me this blue circle was Earth!

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Tissue Paper Globe

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Our Earth Day fun continued with this very easy tissue paper project. It’s a cute way to celebrate this beautiful planet we call home!

First, encourage your child to trace a circular shape onto the paper you’ll use as a background, which is great fine motor skill practice! Our paper plate was larger than our paper (whoops!) so I did some quick thinking and cut off the outer rim.

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Then it’s time to cut blue and green tissue paper into squares. Travis still can’t quite master this of course, but he had fun playing at it beside me while I cut up lots of little squares. (Note: No cats were harmed in the making of this project!)

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I showed Travis how to wad up the paper, dip in glue, and apply to his circular Earth, which was fun for a moment…

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…but then he quickly decided it was way more fun to use his finger as the glue applicator!

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I indulged this messy impulse, and added a wad of tissue paper wherever he had made our Earth sticky.

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Happy Earth Day!

Coffee Filter Globes

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Earth Day is tomorrow, April 22! I wanted to help Travis start to understand what protecting our planet is all about, so we made this craft today in anticipation of the holiday. You’ll celebrate Earth Day while teaching your little ones how they can help!

First, make your Earth. We scribbled in green and blue marker on a plain coffee filter, and as Travis worked I talked about how the Earth contained more water than land, so we needed more blue.

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Then came his favorite part – spritzing his globe with water to bleed the colors! From there we left it to dry overnight.

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The next morning, I traced Travis’s hands on black construction paper.

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We glued the coffee filter to a piece of paper, leaving half of it above the sheet. Glue the hands below, and now your child is helping to “hold up the Earth.”

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As a final touch, you can talk about simple gestures even kids can do (not wasting water, helping to pick up trash…) and brainstorm a sentence to add to the blank part of your paper.