Family Activity: Adopt a Tree

adopt a tree girl bark rubbingIn 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)
– Thunderstorms
– 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 treeMy Adopted Tree

Date: _______________ Time: ____________

Location: ______________________________

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.


Download this Activity

Descarga la actividad en español: Adopta un árbol


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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