Just for Kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been an advocate of engaging children with the outdoors and nature ever since the early 1980's when my children were young.  In my early parenting years as a mom to three sons, I decided to quit a good state job with a pension to be a full-time mom, and then as they headed off to school, worked in the school system for several years, assisting children with learning difficulties.  

Parents and educators through the generations know that outdoor and nature activities help children develop a quest for learning, an inquisitive nature and a love for most creatures in the animal and plant kingdoms.  Introducing children at a very young age to the great outdoors, and ensuring it is integral in your family’s lifestyle, nurtures a lifetime of dedication to and conservation of our natural resources.  Creating experiences that make children eager to continue with the activity, and adopt more, is also vital to success.  I am also acutely aware that offering advice to parents on how to raise their kids is treading on dangerous ground; similar to telling my brothers, all three with advanced degrees in civil engineering, how to build a bridge or a dam!  So, I will attempt to provide words of encouragement without offending or alienating you…at least that is the goal!

Each child is different, with his/her own internal mechanisms that determine his/her interests.  As a parent, we have the ability to shape and inspire, and act as a role model. Young children perceive what we do as the norm, and typically want to emulate whatever we are doing.  But it is essential that we have the ability to pivot, because again, each child is different, and what one child enjoys, the other may not – and the goal is the gift of enthusiasm.  The outstanding news is that the list of activities available to inspire our children, while not endless, is pretty expansive, and one activity can lead to the introduction of a multitude of environmental discussions and hand-on activities. 

Take gardening as an example – gardening helps children learn responsibility, cause-and-effect and a greater understanding and appreciation of where food comes from.  There is so much life to explore in the garden – flora and fauna alike!  Additionally, gardening offers opportunities to discuss and demonstrate organic versus chemical applications, soil conservation and sustainable gardening, water conservation and pollution, pollinators and the plant species that support them, beneficial and destructive insects that either support or impair gardening efforts, just to name a few.  The knowledge and experience that your child gains from these activities boosts self-confidence, which is a building block to future successful endeavors! 

​I am dedicating this page to parents/grandparents who are interested in instilling, or continuing an already established objective, a planet Earth ambassador-like attribute in your children, but like most folks, have limited time to research resources.  I am in the process of scouring the Internet to find information and exercises that can be utilized to introduce and promote nature/outdoor activities for your munchkins!

Work-in-Progress

This page is a work-in-progress.  Keep checking back, as I will continue to work on this page as I have time to find and add more resources.  My goal is to keep the page updated with local events and activities in the Central Iowa region of the state.  

 

Feedback

I hope you find at least some of the resources beneficial!  If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate feedback on the the information provided, so this page can be of value to parents and children alike!  Please use our Contact/Subscribe page to send the feedback via email!

 
 
Internet Resources
 

Conservation for Kids - Top Tips and Tricks

Focuses on water conservation - take time on the site - there is a lot of resources and activities!

Pollinator Activites

Look for the educational videos for kids on this site under the Youth Education tab.  

Pollinators for Kids

Information on pollinators!  At the bottom of the page, you can click on various pollinators to learn more.  

https://kidsgrowingstrong.org/pollinators/

Iowa State Extension - Milkweed Planting Kit 2020

Target audience is youth grades 3 through 8.

Plant a milkweed, grow a butterfly! These kits are provided at no cost courtesy of a partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa DNR REAP Conservation Education Program (CEP) Grant, and the Iowa State University Seed Science Center. 

Simply pay a nominal postage fee during checkout.  Kits appear to be limited.  

Iowa State Extension - Gardening for Butterflies and Pollinators

A butterfly garden can be created as simply as planting a bunch of butterfly-favorite plants in a sunny corner of your yard. Learn about effective butterfly garden characteristics and which host and nectar plants are best for different butterflies.

Download the brochure using the hyperlink below. 

Iowa State Extension - Insect Investigator

Learn how to keep an insect investigator journal and see how many of the world's one million different types of insects you can find.

Download the brochure using the hyperlink below.  

Environment for Kids 

This link just takes you to the environmental section.  Site has tons of information, and is geared to learning activities for kids on many subjects.  I encourage you to take the time to view all that is available.  

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle

Site has activities and games, and much more.  Explore!

Iowa State Extension - The Sweet Lives of Honey Bees

This colorful, interactive info-graphic provides a look into the life of a honey bee. Beekeeper Ben guides readers through information on beehives, types of honey bees, bee jobs, planting flowers for bees and harvesting honey.

Download the brochure using the hyperlink below. 

A Kid's Guide to Recycling

Nico is on a quest to help save the planet! He’s passionate about sharing his knowledge of recycling with everyone, so join Nico on his journey to reduce, reuse and recycle with tips and fun activities. Once you have the practices down, you can share your recycling knowledge with your family and friends too!

This is a great site for engagement activities for your children -  provide opportunities to help develop your environmental ambassador today!

 
Children's Gardening Books

The link to each book takes you to Amazon.  Take advantage of the reviews and descriptions to ensure this is a topic that will be engaging for your child.


1.   Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
2.   Frog and Toad Together, by Arnold Lobel
3.   Compost Stew, by Mary McKenna Siddals, illustrated by Ashely Wolff
4.   Water, Weed, and Wait, by Edith Hope Fine and Angela Halpin, illustrated by Colleen M. Madden
5.   Plant a Little Seed, by Bonnie Christensen
6.   The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson
7.   Sunflower House, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt
8.   The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown
9.   Planting a Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert
10. The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carle

11. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

 
Children's Conservation/Environmental Books

The link to each book takes you to Amazon.  Take advantage of the reviews and descriptions to ensure this is a topic that will be engaging for your child.  

1.   The Earth Book, by Todd Parr

2.   I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, by Alison Inches

3.   Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

4.   The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps, by Jeanette Winter

5.   Don't Let Them Disappear, by Chelsea Clinton

6.   Bee and Me, by Alison Jay

7.   10 Things I Can Do to Help My World, by Melanie Walsh

8.   The Water Princess, by Susan Verde

9.   Green, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger 

10. The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest, by Lynne Cherry

11. Miss Maple's Seeds, by Eliza Wheeler

12. Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles, by Philippe Cousteau

13. One Love, by Cedilia Marley (Bob Marley's daughter)

14. The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling, Alison Inches

15. The Lonely Polar Bear (Happy Fox Books) A Subtle Way to Introduce Young Kids to Climate Change Issues,            by Alison Inches

 

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