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?