Ways to Make Trees Part of a Child’s Life

As Canadians we often overlook or take for granted our beautiful forests of trees. In Autumn when the leaves of the native trees take on their spectacular reds, yellows, and oranges we  pay a little more attention.

Trees dressed up in their fall glory

I live on a country property surrounded by large trees. I often lament not teaching my children more about our trees so I am hoping to make it up  with  my grandchildren. Even the youngest children can understand that trees clean our air, help us breathe, keep us cool and provide homes for bugs, birds and animals.

When my children were school age I didn’t have access to the internet. Now with a quick Google search I was able to find lists of suitable tree books  and a plethora of tree based activities for children of all ages.

Several books caught my attention.

The Lorax by Dr Seuss contrasts the glorious Truffula Tree Forest to the empty depressing wasteland left behind by deforestation. A call to action starts with the planting of one seed.

Tap the Magic Tree  by Christie Matheson is an interactive book for young readers. As they tap, turn and swish the scene changes before their eyes showing the cycle of the seasons.

Because of an Acorn  by Lola and Adam Schaefer shows the progression of the food chain showing how birds, seeds, flowers, trees and people are all connected.

Under My Tree by Muriel Tallandier is the story of a young girl who visits her grandmother and finds a special tree.

And there were ideas for lots of fun tree based activities. Many of the activities could start with a walk in the woods or the neighbourhood.

I tried 2 activities. Both started with collecting various shapes and sizes of leaves.

Leaf Rubbings

Place a leaf bottom side up on a piece of paper and then cover it with a piece of lightweight paper. (I used printer paper)

Using the flat side of a crayon rub gently over the area of the leaf.

Leaf Prints

Place leaf bottom side up on a piece of paper and colour it as thickly and quickly as you can with a washable marker.

Dampen a second piece of paper very, very lightly.

Place your leaf, coloured side down on your dampened paper  and press firmly to transfer marker ink to paper. (can use a book or rolling pin)

A great activity to assist children with tree identification

Both of these activities can lead to leaf collections and tree identification.

I hope I have encouraged you to spend time with your trees, children and grandchildren. You will be rewarded.

authored by Joy Cullen

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