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No matter where you are in the country, spring is time of transformation. Through the ages, many cultures have looked at springtime as the Earth’s birthday, celebrating this time of rebirth and renewal. And, it’s no surprise that the people who started Earth Day chose this time of year. The chance to stage a birthday party for the Earth is a marvelous, age appropriate way to inspire creative mess-making, pretend play and a genuine connection to and appreciation for our planet. To kids, it’s just a good old time.
Hosting a birthday party offers children a marvelous play scenario in which all ages can engage. Even toddlers know what a birthday party is and can join the pretending. Young children move effortlessly between reality and fantasy, and the blending of the two supports their developing sense of the world. So, it is an easy leap to personify our Earth just a bit and throw the planet a party. By doing so, you can activate imaginations, build and a sense of empathy and a greater, more personal connection to the natural world.
Kids also engage in several behavioral schema (e.g. transporting, rotation and transforming) as they gather materials, stir up and mix or mash batches of yummy birthday treats. All of this leads to a great deal of sustained, brain and body boosting play.
Nature party prep also encourages children to work freely, engage multiple senses, and make a mess. We know that the chance to act messy now maps to a young person’s ability to think messy down the road. And, you really can’t be a creative thinker unless you are prepared to think flexibly!