This week’s theme is Earth Day. Our “Growing Minds Day by Day” educational resource lists are designed for families and educators to use during the COVID-19 quarantine and beyond.
Growing Minds Day by Day
Week of April 20, 2020 – Earth Day
We hope these resources will provide you with inspiration, or at least a starting point, as you navigate this new world of social distancing and home-schooling, day by day. This week we’re celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!
Book of the Day for Monday, 4/20: And the Good Brown Earth
Today’s book of the day is And the Good Brown Earth, by Kathy Henderson. In this story, Joe and Gram plant a garden together, but they each have their own special way of doing things. Together, this grandma and grandson pair complete tasks during each of the four seasons, then wait as the good brown earth takes care of the rest. Children will relate to Joe’s creative way of gardening and appreciate the magic that happens when the earth turns a seed into a plant. Watch a read-aloud of this book here.
Looking for more children’s books that celebrate the natural world? Visit the Growing Minds’ farm to school literature database to browse our collection of recommended books on farms, gardens, and cooking. Type “Earth” or “nature” into the search bar to discover more books that align with this week’s theme.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re also sharing a poem each Monday in April.
The Earth has come to life today,
Spring is here, hurray, hurray!
Flowers are happy, they wave into life,
The sunshine is bright with all of her might.
So fly little fairy, fly, fly, fly,
Fly through the meadow and touch the sky.
When you get where you are going, remember this day,
The day the Earth came out to play.
Recipe of the Day for Tuesday, 4/21: Mashed Potatoes with Spinach
Eating locally grown, in-season fruits and vegetables is a great way for families to help protect the Earth from climate change. Eating foods that are grown locally cuts down on the energy needed to transport them, lessening emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Celebrate Earth Week by cooking up a big batch of Mashed Potatoes with Spinach for dinner. Kids can help with tearing the spinach into small pieces, mashing the potatoes, and mixing everything together. If you prefer, you can substitute another locally grown green of your choice for the spinach. Kale, Swiss chard, or cabbage will all be tasty substitutions in this recipe.
If it’s time to restock your fridge with locally grown produce, eggs, and cheese and you live in the Asheville area, consider shopping safely at the new ASAP Farmers Market at A-B Tech, organized in response to the COVID-19 emergency to ensure public health. The market takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 am to noon. Thanks to generous support from the community, we are now offering Double SNAP to SNAP recipients. Fifty percent of your purchase total will be charged to your SNAP/EBT card.
Mashed Potatoes with Spinach
- 4 medium to large local potatoes
- 8 ounces local spinach (or other greens, such as kale, chard, cabbage)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (e.g., rosemary, dill, chives), minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
- ¼ cup milk
- Cut the potatoes into small chunks and boil them until they are soft.
- Cut or tear the spinach into small pieces.**
- Combine the potatoes, herbs, spinach, garlic, milk, and butter in a large pot and heat on medium for one to two minutes.
- Mash the potatoes until they are smooth.
- Add the cheese and stir.
**If you choose to substitute a tougher green for this recipe, such as kale or cabbage, you should finely shred the greens, saute the shredded greens for 5-10 minutes in olive oil or butter until softened, then add them to the potato mixture.
COVID-19 Meal Locator Texting Resource for Parents: North Carolina families who need help finding meals for their children ages 18 and younger during the COVID-19 pandemic can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. The texting service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.
Online Resources of the Day for Wednesday, 4/22: Earth Day
Today, people around the world are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, when more than 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest pollution and environmental degradation, and to demand changes to protect environmental health. Earth Day is credited with helping to launch the modern environmental movement, including the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts in the US.
Climate Action: This year, the theme of Earth Day is climate action. Visit NASA’s Climate Kids website with your children to learn about climate change together, plus access climate themed activities, games, and videos. Visit EarthDay.org for a list of seven eco-friendly actions kids can take at home this Earth Day.
Earth as an Apple activity: Do you have an apple in the fruit bowl or fridge? If so, do the “Earth as an Apple” demo with your children to teach them about the water and land resources available on our planet, and the tiny amount of arable land that is actually available for growing all of our food. Once your kids have discovered just how scarce and important natural resources like healthy soil are, have them brainstorm ways that they can do their part to help protect the planet and conserve natural resources.
Activity of the Day for Thursday, 4/23: Create Art with Recycled Materials
Recycled Art: For today’s activity, you’ll need paper plates and assorted art/collage materials, including clean recyclable materials (empty boxes, paper scraps, lids, etc.) Show your child(ren) the assembled paper plates and assorted art/collage materials. Include basic craft materials such as construction paper, crayons, scissors, and glue. Offer some fun choices, such as empty boxes, small scraps of paper from magazines or newspapers, and other clean recyclable materials. Ask your child(ren) to brainstorm ways they could use the materials to create something new. Encourage your child(ren) to use the materials creatively to make anything they want. Some may want to make sculptures, while other children may just enjoy creating abstractly with the different materials. Remind the children that when they reuse materials, it helps the Earth by conserving resources and saving energy.
This Week in the Garden: Growing a garden is another great way to teach children how to care for the Earth. Find inspiration and tips for starting a garden in last week’s Day by Day resource round-up. Looking for more garden-related activities? Check out the Growing Minds This Week in the Garden (TWIG) newsletter for the third week of April.
Freaky Friday, 4/24: Neighborhood Clean-up
Think globally, Act locally! Cleaning up litter from the streets near our homes helps to keep trash out of our streams, rivers, and even our oceans. It also makes our neighborhoods safer for wildlife and more beautiful.
In honor of Earth Day, take action locally by doing a neighborhood clean-up with your family. Put on brightly colored/reflective clothing, grab a pair of gloves for each family member and a couple of trash bags, and head out into the neighborhood to pick up litter. Make it a contest by providing each family member with their own trash bag, then seeing who can collect the most trash.
If you live in Asheville and don’t have your own supplies, you can pick up supplies at one of Asheville Greenworks’ clean-up stations, which are stocked with safety vests, gloves, and trash bags at the following locations:
- AGW Office @ 2 Sulphur Springs Road
- AGW Office @ 318 Riverside Drive
- The Hop @ 640 Merrimon Ave #103
- Sutton / Dezio Law @ 70 Mt Pisgah Hwy (on their back porch)
- Buncombe County Sports Park Entrance @ 58 Apac Drive
That’s it for this week. Next week’s Growing Minds Day by Day theme will be Victory Gardens! Be sure to check back next week for new resources. Click here to access Day by Day resources from past weeks.
In case you missed it, last week’s Growing Local radio broadcast featured our Day by Day initiative.