10 Ways to Engage Kids with Trees

National Tree Day 2012
National Tree Day is a great way to engage kids with trees
A recent study commissioned by Planet Ark confirmed there has been a dramatic shift in the amount of time kids spend outdoors compared to what their parents did as children. They are spending increasing amounts of time indoors in front of screens and this can have a negative impact on their health. Planting Trees: Just What the Doctor Ordered  states that spending time outside in nature is good not only for the body but the mind as well. It can help improve concentration, increase feelings of self-worth, reduce stress and increase critical thinking skills in children.
Exploring and investigating trees is a great way to encourage children to spend time outdoors and appreciate the world around them. Here are 10 ways to engage kids with trees: 

  1. Hug and touch them. Ask questions such as “what do they feel like?” and “are they smooth, rough, bumpy, spikey?”
  2. Climb them.
  3. Look for animals that live in trees. Search for evidence such as nests, webs, cocoons and droppings if you can not find any actual animals. If you have access to a magnifying glass give your child one to use during this activity. They love using them and they are great for finding small creatures and details.
    Dr Seuss The Lorax
    The Lorax by Dr Seuss is a great book with some wonderful conservation messages for children.
  4. Read books about trees – Last Tree in the CityThe LoraxLeaf, and The Magic Faraway Tree are all wonderful books that children enjoy.
  5. Take bark rubbing using pencils, crayons and paper.
  6. Take a camera outside and have your children photograph as many different trees they can find.
  7. Make a list of why trees are great e.g. they provide food, shade, shelter.
    Autumn Leaf Bookmark
    Collecting leaves and making a bookmark or a collage is great for creative kids.
  8. Collect leaves and create collages or bookmarks. Discuss the texture, size and shape of the different leaves.
  9. Hang a swing from a sturdy branch and have fun swinging away.
  10. Plant them on National Tree Day. These days provide an excellent opportunity to get kids outside and interacting with nature whilst doing something wonderful for their community and environment.

What is your child’s favourite way of interacting with trees?

21 thoughts on “10 Ways to Engage Kids with Trees

  1. Cath says:

    The Munchkin is a complete tree-lover. Mostly he likes climbing them, especially when he gets to scare an unwary possum, but as we’ve recently had two massive gum trees fall down, he’s taken to climbing all over them!

  2. Brianna Coyte says:

    Favourite? Depends on the moment – my five year old daughter LOVES trees.
    Climbing them,
    hanging upside down out of them,
    picking fruit,
    watering them,
    leaf printing,
    building with twigs,
    making fairy gardens,
    hanging bird feeders,
    The Faraway Tree,
    The Giving Tree,
    stumps for stools and tea parties,
    sliced branches for natural blocks,
    Trees are almost a deity in our house! 🙂

  3. Bridie says:

    Imogen has just turned one and loves crawling around the lemon tree in our backyard, collecting the leaves into a little pile and then laughing at the scrunching sound – it’s adorable!

  4. marlene wookey says:

    using the shade and shelter of the trees to construct a fairy garden.By using treasured objects obtained at jumble sales,op shops and of course the $2.00 shops helps to stretch the budget and immaginations of the children at Coonara Early Learning Centre.

  5. pam carter says:

    Children in my grade at school like to eat the fruit off trees that they have grown in the school garden.

  6. Trish says:

    Isla is two and a half and loves hiding behind trees and counting to ten. She loves looking for caterpillars and exploring the leaves, pinecones and bark. She is a tree hugger like her Mum and can spend hours role playing at the foot of a tree.

  7. Sharon Trappel says:

    My 20/12 old little girl loves me to read The Lorax to her over and over again! We go to the park and she likes to feel the bark of the trees, and she has great delight in spying the ants on the trees and watch them scurry about.

  8. Eliza says:

    My 3 year old boy looooves anything that has flowers. He is obsessed with picking, smelling and giving them to people. He even cried when he wasn’t allowed to pick flowers at Bunnings! LOL

  9. Tracey Seach says:

    Miss 1 marvels at the sheer size of trees and loves the whistling of a gentle breeze through the leaves 🙂

  10. Cath says:

    My three and one year olds loves crunchy the autumn leave on the ground! Also whenever we go for a walk around the block my daughter likes to pick flowers – but not the spikey ones mum (roses)!

  11. Sarah says:

    My 14 month old loves being outdoors! We love taking our dog to the park, she helps collect fallen sticks to throw to him and she loves spotting birds!

  12. Marie Hage says:

    At our ELC we have access to a beautiful Bush Block and the children interact with the wide range of trees in a multitude of ways – they climb them, hide behind them and in the dense foliage, cart dead branches back to the ELC to create dramatic play areas,draw them, observe seasonal changes, search for wildlife in the trees, gather gum nuts, pick flowers, look closely at the foliage through magnifying glasses, smell them, touch them and simply have fun playing in and around them.

  13. Wendy says:

    My 2 year old loves looking for birdies in the trees.
    When we visit Nana’s house she loves to play hide and seek as there are lots of trees in her garden.

  14. Lisa Stevenson says:

    My monkey loves looking for bugs and caterpillars and picking leaves. I’m sure soon her favorite will be climbing the trees.

  15. Natalie says:

    Our 18mth old Wolfgang Jack isn’t the same bubbly boy unless he gets at least half an hour of grubby garden time a day! He hugs and kisses the bigger trees in the park, ghost gums are his favourite. When I’m pruning in our garden, or he finds sticks, he tries to put them back on the branches 🙂
    Cannot wait for tree-climbing age!!

  16. Rebecca says:

    My four year old loves to climb, climb, climb – gets some bruises and scratches sometimes – but it is great for her fitness. Apparently we have lost the art of climbing trees, which means we are losing fitness in certain muscle groups.

  17. Caroline says:

    Happy National Tree Day and thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway. It has been lovely reading about all the ways the little green thumbs in your life engage with kids. The winner of the Twigz My First Gardening Tools set is…… Pam Carter. Congratulations Pam!

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