Teaching Children About Trees
At home and at school, children benefit from learning about trees. Engaging in scientific inquiry is a benchmark for preschool children and using nature with lots of hands-on activities is developmentally appropriate. Some activities to do with your child include:
- Collect leaves and sticks to use for matching and sorting by size, shape, and color. As children get older, notice and count leaves in patterns and begin to identify the trees by the leaves.
- Pick a tree to observe changes which occur with the seasons. Take photos and make a book or a poster to use in conversation
- Draw trees by taking paper and drawing tools or paint outside. Learn to identify trees by their shape.
- Use trees to identify boundaries in play areas and name the trees to go along with pretend play. Examples would be “That could be the fort” or “I think that is a waterfall tree at a big castle”.
- Plant a tree and watch it grow or pick a small tree that has started itself in your yard and nurture it.
- Read books about trees. Write your own books about trees.
- Go on hikes to see trees that may not be in your yard or may be different than the ones in your yard. Talk about sameness and difference. Visit www.clintonlandtrust.org for local hikes.
- Learn about animals that live in and under trees.
- Learn about fruits and nuts that grow on trees.
- A quote to remember, “children who play in natural areas-those with bushes and trees-have been shown to engage in more creative and cooperative play” – Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder.