Celebrating Earth Day through Social Emotional Learning

 At Miniland, kindness and acceptance are at the forefront of everything we do. We know that by treating one another with respect, the benefits to the world are priceless. Treating the earth with that same level of respect is vital to every child’s future, creating a long-lasting impact into adulthood.

We created a list of tips last year to help your students show kindness and respect to our greatest gift, planet Earth, and it resonated so well that we’ve decided to share it again with you (with some added suggestions!)

The fundamentals of SEL are actually ideal for Earth Day celebrations in the classroom.

Earth Day can be a great way to help early learners develop key understandings about kindness, empathy for others, and respect for living things beyond themselves. It’s a wonderful opportunity to reinforce key SEL skills that you’re already highlighting in your students’ daily lessons and activities.

Here are some fun ways to maximize your SEL lessons for Earth Day all year long:

1). SEL concept: Social Awareness: Being aware of others beyond themselves might be a bit of a mountain for a preschooler or first grader to grasp. But bringing sweet, adorable things like animals into the picture makes it a bit easier to handle.

Activities where your students learn about endangered species and other wildlife is an easy and effective way to make an impact on their ability to empathize and recognize that their actions affect other things in the world.

Read books about what we as humans are doing wrong and what we are doing right to protect living things on earth like What a Waste by Jess French. Participating in crafts can also help children learn about our planet’s wildlife and how they can make a difference in protecting them. Get some great ideas from Twitchetts.

2). SEL Concept: Self-Awareness: By focusing on things that are important to your students, you’ll find a way of making a connection: “By helping the earth, this helps me too”.

Ask them things like:

What’s your favorite park to go to? Do you notice any garbage or trash at the park there sometimes? Every time you see a piece of trash or an empty water bottle, you can ask your grown-up for help to throw it away in the garbage. This will help keep the park and the trees clean. Wouldn’t that be nice?”


“When you brush your teeth at night, do you shut the water off or do you let it run? How about tonight we all try and shut the water off when we brush. Let’s see how many of our friends remember!  We can count how many of our friends remembered this week and see how well we did this Friday!”

When the child feels like these positive changes DIRECTLY affect them vs the great, big giant world, they are more likely to understand and care.

3). SEL Concept: Relationship Skills: A great way to emphasize working together is to PLAY together. Organize a group activity where each group focuses on an eco-friendly activity toy to create a “finished” product. This will test your students’ ability to work positively and collaboratively on a shared goal.

For example, you can set out some eco-friendly toys like Miniland’s ECO Maxi Chain or our ECO Activity Shapes from our eco-friendly collection. Respecting the earth is the drive behind each beautifully designed, eco-friendly product made of bio-based materials such as wood, sugar cane and natural fibers. Not only are they durable for endless hours of play, they’re easy to clean and disinfect (a bonus for sanitizing time).

The ECO Maxi Chain is a set of big beads with assorted textures and colors. They’re made of bioplastic derived from sugar cane and are meant to snap together. This is a great, durable set where students can work together to snap and string the pieces to form a long chain.

Will they make a long chain or create a shape? Which colors will they use? Will they work together to create a pattern of colors? Leaving it up to them to make decisions amongst the group will create a feeling of teamwork and unity.

The ECO Activity Shapes are another wonderful team building activity that helps children work together and respect the earth while simultaneously building their fine motor skills. The Activity Shapes set lets children thread together different 3D geometric shapes. The set is made of assorted materials including spruce fiber and contains four natural cotton laces with corresponding cardboard activity sheets.

By giving students access to eco-friendly toys like our eco-friendly offerings, you’ll reinforce the importance of sustainability and reusability throughout their lives.

You can also organize a trip outside the classroom to help clean up garbage around the school or playground. This is another great way to focus on working together for a positive change.  You can even plant a class tree and watch it grow over the next few weeks!

These activities will help them feel like they don’t have to conquer the world’s problems on their own. They can work TOGETHER to make positive and effective change, through mutual respect and kindness. For more eco-friendly ideas, visit https://minilandgroup.com/educational/usa/eco-friendly/