Here are some other activities that you can do to inspire gratitude for the plant that gives, every day.
- Trees give us so many different products! Print off this list of things that we get from trees (it’s from the Idaho Forests Products Commission). Go around the house and either point out the items or ask your child to guess what items came from a tree. (Tip for scout groups…this also makes a great memory game for a group of kids. Gather 15-20 items that come from trees, put them on a baking sheet or tray and cover with a towel. Show the items to the group for 10 seconds before taking the tray away. Ask the kids to write down as many items as they can remember. See if anyone can guess what the items have in common before you mention trees.
- Be a tree! This works inside, but for the best effect head outside on a sunny, breezy day. Find a tree to be near and pretend that you are a tree. For younger children keep it simple. Stand with your eyes closed and imagine your feet are anchored to the ground like roots. Spread your arms out and wiggle your fingers like branches. Sway back and forth when the wind hits you. For older children, use this great script from Joseph Cornell’s book Sharing the Joy of Nature, and experience the life of a tree through all four seasons.
- Get a new perspective! Look up close to a tree and far away, feel the different textures of the leaves, the bark, and the branches. Hug a tree! Try to slow things down. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the hectic pace of our everyday lives that we either forget to slow down or have a hard time doing so. Close your eyes and listen to the leaves rustle and the branches creak. Smell the air, the bark and the leaves.
- Animals need trees too! Ask your child what the tree provides for animals? Who uses the branches, the trunks and the leaves?
- Try real maple syrup! In spring, head to a local nature center or camp to see how Maple trees are tapped to make maple syrup and maple sugar. Some places sponsor a breakfast where you can come and try the freshly made syrup on pancakes.
- What does a tree see? Imagine you’re high up in a tree. What would you see?
- Look under a fallen tree or log and see what you find!
- Do a bark rubbing! With one sheet of paper and several colored crayons rub the bark of 2 or 3 different types of trees.
- Make a mystery box! Explore the sense of touch by placing different objects from trees in a box. Have your child touch the items, one at a time (without removing them) and describe the textures. Have them try to guess what it is. Try using twigs, buds, maple tree “helicopter” seeds, pine needles, bark, acorns, leaves, pinecones etc.
- Identify one or two types of trees. Find a tree identification guide at your library or purchase one. There are also a few online guides like this one from the Arbor Day Foundation.
I hope you have a wonderful time exploring trees in your neck of the woods!
For some ideas on what to take with you when you explore, take a look at my post Making a Discovery Backpack.
For some great winter activities, visit my post The Wonder of Winter.To reference this post directly, use this link.