This week was jam packed with Earth Day themed fun We learned about recycling, planting trees, and of course, the planet Earth!

So here were our plans for this weeks Earth theme:
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience* 

And here is what we actually did:

Our favorite books this week were:
The Earth Book By Todd Parr
Michael Recycle By Ellie Bethel
The Giving Tree By Shel Silverstein
The Lorax By Dr. Seuss

 Paper Plate Earth:

For this 2 step project, start out by painting a paper plate blue and green using different textured brushes. Then, allow the paint to dry completely. Tape the plate inside a shallow box and add a few marbles dipped in white paint.  Finally, roll the marbles around on the plate to create clouds.

 Recycled Trees:

I don't know about you but we go through food pouches in this house like crazy! Which means tons of those little circle tops everywhere!! I came up with this recycled tree project for a fun way to use a few of them up. First, I cut up pieces of cardboard box into various sizes for Madelynn to use for the tree. I gave her the cardboard pieces and the green pouch tops and asked her to arrange them to make a tree.  She used white glue to stick the tree pieces to a large piece of blue card stock.  I used a dot of hot glue to stick the "leaves" in place after she decided where she wanted them.

 Earth Dot Painting:

I love encouraging Madelynn to use different materials when we paint and create different crafts together. For this Earth painting we used a simple Earth outline and a cotton swab dipped in paint to create small dots.

 Tree Sticky Window:

 After reading The Giving Tree, and talking about all of the things trees give us, we worked on this tree sticky window project. First, I taped contact paper to window, sticky side out of course. Madelynn used tissue paper squares to make the trunk and branches and added foam leaf shapes.  

 Truffula Tree Craft:

I just couldn't let Earth Day pass without reading The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Afterwards we created these simple Truffula trees using small paper plates and tissue paper squares.

Foot Paint Earth:

We took advantage of the warm weather this week and moved all of our gross motor activities outside.   We began by painting a large Earth. I drew a circle on poster paper, dropped a few blobs of green and blue paint and let Madelynn get messy! 

**Make sure to warn your littles that this can get REALLY slippery!

 Clean Up the Yard:

We've been talking about recycling and what we can recycle vs. throw away so I created this sorting gross motor game.  I printed pictures of garbage and recyclable containers and scattered them around the yard.  Then I labeled small pails with trash and recycling. Madelynn ran around to pick up the cards and sort them into the correct pail. 

 Truffula Tree Toss:

To make the truffula trees I scrunched up large sheets of tissue paper then taped them to popsicle sticks (In the future I would definitely use longer dowels, or skewers but we didn't have any laying around) Madelynn stood back a few feet and tried to toss small rings around each tree.

 Recycled Bag Kites:

Have you ever seen plastic bag flying around in the wind? That was the inspiration for this activity. I simply tied a string to a plastic bag and sent Madelynn running. Of course it was NOT windy at all the day we did this activity which made for lots of tiring exercise!

 Nature Walk Checklist:
We pulled out our nature walk checklist again this week and looked for all of the wonderful things our Earth has to offer.
 Earth Day Theme Snacks:

Earth Day Popcorn: Pop a bag of microwave popcorn, divide into 2 bowls. Melt blue and green candy melts (separately). Pour blue candy melt over one bowl of popcorn and green candy melt over the other. Mix well then spread both colors over wax paper to set. Break pieces apart into bite sized pieces and combine in a large bowl.

Earth Swirl Cookies: Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe and divide the dough in half. Dye one half blue and the other half green.  Grab a piece of blue dough and add a few smaller pieces of green. Blend together and bake according to the recipe.
Tree Snack: Use pretzel rods, sticks, and halved grapes arranged on a plate to create a tree.
Fruit Earth: Start with a large rice cake. Cut up kiwi and arrange kiwi and blueberries to create an Earth.
Truffula Tree Snack: Use the standard Rice Krispy treat recipe but replace Rice Krispies with Trix cereal. Instead of spreading in a pan, use your hands to form the mixture into balls and add a cake pop stick to the bottom to form a truffula tree.
 Green & Blue Sensory Play: 
In this sensory bin: Shaving cream, blue & green paint, and plastic animals
Recycling Sensory Bin: 
In this sensory bin: Black beans, pictures of recyclables and trash
 Play Dough Earth: 
In this sensory bin: Blue & green play dough and laminated Earth outline
Planting Trees Sensory Bin: 
In this sensory bin: Black beans, pipe cleaners, and green pouch tops
Truffula Tree Play Dough: 
In this sensory bin: Play Dough, pipe cleaners, and pom poms

 That's it for this week, next week we will be learning about caterpillars and butterflies:

And here are the themes that will be coming as we begin our last month of tot school!
And if you want to catch up on our past Tot School Activities, you can find them all here:










Books, books, books... Hi my name is Jessica and I have a book buying addiction. I think I buy at least 10-15 new children's books each month... Curse you Amazon Prime and your suggestions for making it so darn easy to fill up my cart!!

This month, I found a great new book for spring so I thought I'd tell you all about it for this month's Books Teachers Love. You are definitely going to want to add it to your May read alouds!

The Curious Garden is about a little boy named Liam who discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. The garden begins to spread, transforming the city into a much more beautiful and inviting place.
You can find the book on Amazon here (affiliate link).

The illustrations in this book really draw you into the transformation of the sad and lifeless city...

...into a lush and vibrant world.

Since Earth Day is this weekend, this book is absolutely perfect for this week or any time you are talking about how our actions affect the Earth.  The first activity I do with this book is identifying cause & effect.

Next I LOVE a good sensory bin, so we played with this "Build a Garden Bin."
In this bin: split peas and this adorable garden playset 
*A few weeks ago in Tot School we did a Plant theme. Check out my post here for more fine motor, gross motor, sensory bin and snack ideas you could try out after reading The Curious Garden.

Finally, after some time for pretend play and discussion about plant needs, we write our own versions of "How to Plant a Garden."

You can grab the cause & effect and writing activities in my Plant: Read & Respond pack here, along with differentiated reading response sheets, writing activities, and crafts for 5 plant themed read alouds:
I'm so ready for April showers to turn into May flower, but I do love when Easter falls so late in April. Lucky we had plenty of sunshine, so we spent all weekend outside finding Easter eggs, riding bikes, and enjoying a little taste of summer.

So here were our plans for this weeks Easter theme:
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience* 

And here is what we actually did:
Our favorite books this week were:
The Earth Book By Todd Parr
Michael Recycle By Ellie Bethel
The Giving Tree By Shel Silverstein
The Lorax By Dr. Seuss

 Straw Bead Necklaces:

Did you know that paper straws make perfect beads for threading? I found these straws in the Target Dollar Spot, cut them up, and pulled out a few lacing strings for some easy peasy fine motor practice. 

 Chalk and Tape Easter Eggs:

For this project, I taped off an egg outline with washi tape, then Madelynn dipped chalk into a cup of water, and colored each section of the egg. The wet chalk turns into a really pretty pastel watercolor texture.  Some of the tape was pretty hard to get off, so I'd definitely recommend trying to limit the amount of water before it gets too messy.

 Pom Pom Egg Painting:

For this open ended project I gave Madelynn pom poms clipped with clothespins and an egg outline.  Using different tools to paint with always adds a little extra interest and spark of creativity.

 Plastic Egg and Bunny Stamping:

I saved the paint from our pom pom paintings and pulled it back out to reuse for some stamping fun. We use cookie cutters as stamps quite a bit, so I thought a plastic egg would be a great tool to try as well. after creating a fun texture on the page Madelynn added some bunny stamps for a festive Easter themed touch.

 Easter Egg Color Matching:

These cute little felt eggs were another Target dollar spot find from last year and I thought they'd make a great color matching activity.  I gave Madelynn some tiny pom poms in matching colors and she used tweezers to stuff them in the correct colored eggs.

  Carrot Bowling:

How perfect are these little fillable carrots? When I saw that they had flat bottoms I just had to set up this fun bowling game. It was also a great way to practice counting how many carrots knocked down and how many still standing to build very beginning addition/subtraction knowledge.

  Easter Egg Balance:

For this twist on the classic egg on a spoon relay game, I used washi tape to create different types of lines on the floor. Then Madelynn tried to follow the line and keep the egg from falling. 

 Easter Egg Letter Hunt:

Madelynn loves to play hide and seek so scavenger hunts are just the next best thing these days (and perfect for when I'm tired of hiding in the bathtub for the 43rd time in a row).  I filled Easter eggs with lowercase letter beads, hid them around the house, and set Madelynn loose with her basket.  After she found all of the eggs, she opened them up to find the surprise letters inside. Then, I gave her an uppercase alphabet page to name and match her letters to.

Easter Bunny Hop:

I know it is hard to see in the photos because Madelynn chose pastel pink tape, but for this activity I taped horizontal lines at varying distances apart on the floor. Then Madelynn started at one end of the room and tried to hop from one line to the next as I played the bunny hop song. I was exhausted just watching her! And of course we had to pull out the bunny ears, nose and whiskers ;)

Easter Theme Snacks: 
Chick Crackers: Cut cheese into circles and place on round crackers. Add candy eyes, a small piece of orange pepper to the face. Cut small slices of carrots and peppers for the feet and hair.

Fruit and Veggie Carrots: Peel and segment a clementine. Cut small piece of cucumber into a crown like shape. Arrange 2 overlapping clementine segments and one cucmber to make each carrot.

Bunny Bait: Pop one bag microwave popcorn (or make it in a pan if you'd like) let the pop corn cool for a minute while you melt about 1/4 cup white candy melt. Pour over popcorn. Add 1 bag Easter M&Ms (I prefer the peanut variety) and mix until evenly coated. Spread out on wax paper. Sprinkle pastel sprinkles on top. Allow candy to harden.  Break apart into smaller pieces then toss in a bowl with Bunnymallows.

Easter Egg Treats: Make a batch of rice crispy treat following the classic recipe.  Cut into egg shapes with a cookie cutter.  Use sparkle gel to add decorations.

Bunny Butts: Make your favorite batch of cinnamon rolls (from scratch, or the tube to save time like me!) add the icing, then before it hardens add a little marshmallow tail in the center and these adorable bunny feet decorations.
 Egg Theme Sensory Bin: 
In this sensory bin: Easter Grass, Mini Glitter Eggs, Mini Ice Cube Tray, bunny egg tongs
  Easter Eraser Sensory Bin: 
In this sensory bin: Black beans, mini erasers, fine motor tools
 Easter Play Dough: 
On this play dough tray:  colored play dough, egg cookie cutters, cut up pipe cleaners, gems, sequins, and buttons
 Glowing Egg Sensory Bin: 
In this sensory bin: Battery powered LED tea lights, eggs, clear water beads, and cups 
Rainbow Egg Sensory Bin: 
In this sensory bin: Rainbow rice, eggs, stretchy bunnies

 That's it for this week, next week will be full of Earth Day celebration!

And here are the themes that will be coming soon as we approach the end of the school year!
And if you want to catch up on our past Tot School Activities, you can find them all here:









 Spring has finally arrived for good here in Wisconsin. We are enjoying every minute of the fresh spring air, and this week's theme combined bugs, plants, frogs, ducks, chicks, and all things spring.
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