Today is Earth Day, and my kids love the Earth Day challenge to turn off all electricity for one hour. So we’re planning to turn off the lights, cuddle up by our battery-powered lanterns — or the fireplace, if this cold weather doesn’t move on! For entertainment, we’ll play cards or a board game, and read some books about the environment for kids.
Because it’s a parent’s job to turn any experience into an educational one, right?
Joking aside, here are some fun and entertaining books that your kids won’t mind reading aloud together. In fact, they may not even realize they’re (gasp) learning something!
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Oliver Jeffers is in my top echelon of children’s book authors and illustrators, and his newest book Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth is a primer for anyone — child or adult — to know how to be a good citizen of this planet we live on. It’s a must-read any day, not just Earth Day.
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman and Isabel Greenberg plays with the math of nature, by exploring the numbers in our universe. For example, how many trees are on earth (3 trillion) and how many cities and towns light up the earth at night (around 2.5 million). If your child is fascinated by numbers, this is the book for them.
Carter Higgins’ and Emily Hughes’s new book Everything You Need for a Treehouse isn’t an educational take on trees, but I’d argue it could be more important. The whimsical art and imagination that spills out of these pages will inspire your child to go outside and experience nature. And at this age, a love for nature is more important than specific scientific knowledge, wouldn’t you say?
Kids (and adults) tend to take the regular rhythms of life for granted, so I love how Thank You, Earth by photographer April Pulley Sayre reminds them to appreciate our natural resources, the beauty of Earth’s landscapes, and the ways this planet keeps us alive. Especially important, the back part of this book that’s full of ideas for conservation projects kids can do themselves.