In this activity, children “adopt” a tree, deepening their awareness of individual trees over time and encouraging a greater understanding and appreciation of their local environment.
Doing the Activity
The next time you are on a walk in a familiar area, invite children to choose a particular tree to observe. Suggest they become better acquainted with it by using their senses of sight, touch, hearing, and smell to describe the tree.
Encourage critical thinking by asking:
- Is this tree alive? How do you know?
- How is this tree similar to and/or different from other trees around it?
- How does this tree help the environment around it?
How Many Seasonal Signs Can You Find?
|– Bursting buds
– Emerging insects
– Ice-free lakes
– Birds preparing nests
|– Ripe berries
– Lightning bugs (fireflies)
– Longer days
|– Leaf color change
– Fallen leaves
– Bird migration
– Colder temperatures
|– Bare branches
– Animal tracks in the snow
– Visible animal homes
– Shorter days
Complete the Adopt a Tree Journal Entry below. Revisit this tree on a regular basis throughout the year and in a variety of weather conditions. Have children guess reasons for the changes they see and then predict changes for the future.
Adopt a Tree Journal Entry
My Adopted Tree
Date: _______________ Time: ____________
Describe the tree:
What color is the bark? __________________
Why did you choose this tree?
What type of tree is it? __________________
Draw a picture of your tree or use a crayon or pencil to complete a leaf or bark rubbing.
Get the Full Activity
This family activity is adapted from Project Learning Tree’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide which can be obtained through an in-person professional development workshop or online course.
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