Resources for Early Childhood Activity 10 – Trees as Habitats

From their leafy branches to their tangled roots, trees provide habitats for a diverse variety of plants and animals. Through these experiences, children discover how plants and animals depend on trees by taking a walk, acting out a story, and investigating tree parts.

This is one of 11 activities that can be found in PLT’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood guideTo get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s Early Childhood guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 

STUDENT PAGES

Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:

Family and Friends Page (PDF)

Spanish Student Page:

Familia y amigos (PDF)

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals while building upon concepts learned in this activity with the following children’s book recommendations:

FAMILY ACTIVITY

Try a simple variation of this activity to engage children in the outdoors at home. Download this fun and easy-to-do family activity.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:

  • Disneynature Explore

    The free Disneynature Explore application for iPads and iPhones combines an augmented reality experience with animal behavior gameplay to encourage young students (grades preK-3) and their families to get outside and connect with nature. In the app, 3D images of animals appear in the camera’s viewer, providing students with “wild adventures” in their own backyard. For example, students can see their surroundings through a butterfly’s eyes, follow tracks with a bear to find its cub, and crack a nut like a chimpanzee.

  • Ask a Biologist

    Digitally bring a professional into your classroom with Arizona State University’s Ask a Biologist.  Students can use the Ask a Biologist’s web resources to learn about and research many different environmental issues. Multiple activities, stories, images, and links are also available for educators to use and build lessons around.         

  • Kea: Learn Birds Through Play

    Kea: Learn Birds Through Play is a free mobile app that turns the process of learning to recognize birds into a game. The app has games for beginners and seasoned bird watchers to recognize birds and their calls, and includes an extensive species database. Download the Kea app designed for both iPhone and iPad.

  • Mighty Mole and Super Soil – for Grades 1-3

    What creatures live in the ground and how do they help make the soil healthy? A book from Dawn Publications, Mighty Mole and Super Soil introduces children to an underground ecosystem that is largely invisible to humans but vital to the health of the planet. In this short story, children follow a mole as she digs tunnels, finds food, escapes predators, and raises a family, all the while aerating and enriching the soil around her. With Mighty Mole and Super Soil, students learn about the importance of soil and the often unseen ecosystems underground. To take student learning even further, try pairing the story with these activities from Dawn Publications based on the book.

  • Early Childhood Education

    Are you looking to tap into the Early Childhood education arena? Visit All Education Schools’ clearinghouse of early childhood education resources to explore professional organizations, licensing and credentials, reliable research, educator blogs, and more – all related to Early Childhood. Whether you’re just embarking on an early childhood education career or already work with children, you’ll find plenty of useful information.

  • Let’s Play Outside Literacy Cards for ELLs

    Check out this preschool picture book (literacy cards) of outdoor words and actions, created by the Collaborative Leadership Fellows Program at the University of Minnesota Rochester. The cards feature outdoor play action words such as “draw,” “climb,” and “jump” in multiple languages. The words are also depicted using an image and the language translations are available for English, Spanish, Chinese, Cambodian, Somali, and Arabic. The languages were selected based on high populations of individuals speaking them in the mid-western United States. Download the “Let’s Play Outside!” booklet to connect with English Language Learners (ELLs) near you!

  • Schoolyard Habitat Guide

    This guide provides the basic steps needed to restore and/or create wildlife habitat. It is designed so that students complete several tasks that will lead to establishing a forest, meadow, or wetland on school grounds. The projects can range in size from a small 20’ by 20’ area to an acre or more. These steps were developed from the experiences of several schools that have completed similar projects. The process incorporates critical thinking and decision-making skills while challenging students in reading, writing, science, mathematics, and language arts.  You can download the entire PDF online for free from the US Fish & Wildlife Service Website.

  • Dead planet, Living Planet

    The report, Dead planet, Living Planet: Biodiversity and ecosystem restoration for sustainable development, was a contribution to the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity. The report documents successful case studies referencing thousands of restoration projects ranging from deserts and rainforests to rivers and coasts. The report provides recommendations on how to avoid pitfalls and minimize risks to ensure a successful restoration. It is downloadable from the website and can be read online as an interactive e-book.

  • Tree Product Images

    Print-out pages containing many examples of everyday products that come from trees! 

  • Schoolyard Habitat Program

    This US Fish & Wildlife Service initiative helps teachers and students create wildlife habitats at their schools. Their Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide offers teaching and learning opportunities in many discipline areas and provides opportunities for long-term data collection. Additionally, schools and organizations serving K-12 students may apply for grants of up to $8,000.

  • WildLab Bird

    A free app that can be downloaded onto any Apple device (try iBird Lite for Android). Use WildLab Bird to learn the basics of bird identification. This application uses audio, photographs, maps, and the process of elimination to help identify over 200 bird species. Sightings can also be entered into a national bird watching database for comparison. 

  • AllTrails

    A free app that can be downloaded onto Apple and Android devices. AllTrails helps users to get out and discover the outdoors. Use it to plan a national park visit, find a hiking path near home, or map a new trail of your own! AllTrails can help you find local places to run, hike, bike, fish, and more in the outdoors. You can even upload photos and images to trails you create.

  • Fairy Tale

    A free app that can be downloaded onto Apple devices. This story production tool can be used to create a personal story and enhance it by adding your own drawings, audio, and animation. The illustrations can be moved, expanded, reduced, or rotated with touch, and you can record your own voice as narrator.

  • Forests, by Cathryn Sill

    Look to Forests by Cathryn Sill to introduce early learners to forest habitats and the organisms found there. Each page presents one sentence describing a particular forest habitat: boreal forest, tropical rain forest, cloud forest, temperate rain forest, deciduous forest, or tropical dry forest. Each description is accompanied by a realistic illustration. The afterward also contains more information about each habitat, which might be helpful for educators. This book supports Next Generation Science Standard 2-LS4-1 (ISBN: 9781561457342, Grades preK-3).

  • Epic! For Educators

    Are you looking for new literature connections to support your favorite PLT lessons? This growing Epic! online library offers thousands of picture books, chapter books, early readers, and even nonfiction books (think Common Core Connections!) that elementary teachers can access free of cost. Registered users receive unlimited access to books and customized recommendations for readers’ age levels and interests. Epic! is available for iPads, iPhones, and Android devices.

  • Nature Maestro® App Series

    With Nature Maestro®, sound recordist and composer Dennis Hysom is your guide. Use this series of applications to explore sounds in nature. You might compose a soundscape for the rainforest, build a nature scene using audio paired with imagery, and discover fun facts about animals all along the way. Immerse yourself in these biomes to compose and share creative soundscapes and then share them with others.

  • Paper Plate Habitat

    Florida PLT has created a Paper Plate Habitat template to be used in conjunction with the exploration of microhabitats. This document contains a list of materials, instructions, and images necessary for students to create their own Paper Plate Habitats and begin exploring the life and interrelationships found within.