Make Your Children Learn About Trees With These 6 Tips

Looking for outdoor activities for your children that are fun and educational? Stimulate their interest in trees and nature; it’s beneficial for them and the planet.


Nick Araya, a certified arborist and owner of Los Angeles, California-based TreeCareLA, says trees are essential for our survival and health. The more educated people are about them, the more likely they’ll make good decisions about trees. “Kids should develop a basic understanding and fond feelings about trees,” he emphasizes, “so they can be the future protectors and defenders of our forests.”

Here are 6 activities to help teach your children about the beauty and importance of trees:

1. Engage Kids First

Araya suggests taking kids to the woods or park. No need to worry about species names at first. Have them collect the leaves, talk about their shapes, colors and differences. “Focus on engaging the kids with the leaves,” he adds. “Let them make their own discoveries.”
Once your kids show more interest, next time bring a field guidebook to help identify the species. There are several mobile applications available that do the trick, too. The app Leafsnap is like Shazam (the popular song-identifying app) for leaves. It’s a field guide that uses visual recognition software to identify leaf species from your photos.

2. Visit National Park and Forests

Breathtaking forests of towering pines and sequoias incite wonder and curiosity in just about everybody. Take advantage of easy nature hikes designed specifically for kids. An expert park guide will show them decaying logs and teach them how to tell a tree’s age by its inner rings. In an outdoor setting, being exposed to interesting and unusual things in nature, won’t even feel like learning.

3. Turn Collecting Into Art Projects


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Collecting leaves can be an engrossing hobby that encourages kids to find many varieties while teaching them about tree species. They can dry the leaves by pressing them between newspaper, then placing them in a book. Later, dry leaves can be lacquered and affixed to an exhibit board in a cool collage. Use them to make handmade cards. Glue to construction paper and decorate with paints and glitter pens. Make a hanging leaf mobile. Have your kids check out online craft websites for ideas.

4. Plant a Fruit Tree

Araya says planting a fruit tree in the garden with your kids is a great activity for them to experience the cycle of fruit-bearing— especially when they eat the fruit when ready. He advises parents to pick out a tree right for their climate. If you’re unsure what tree is best, get recommendations from a local grower.

5. Make Your Own Tree Guide

Walk around the neighborhood with your kids. Collect leaves, seeds and flowers. Figure out the area’s tree species with a little online research, field guide or mobile app. Dry the items and press them into your own guidebook. Label the items, note the tree’s location and include a drawing or a photo. Throughout the seasons, have your kids observe the neighborhood trees and make notes of what’s happening to them.

6. Build Appreciation, Build Memories

Activities don’t have to be educational to inspire interest in trees. Letting children play and have a good time among trees builds an appreciation for them as well as positive family memories. Araya says, “You hear adults talk about the fun they had climbing trees and swinging from branches as kids. Those memories make an impression.” So find a lush shady tree. Roll out a blanket, have a picnic, bring out the art supplies and books, so the kids can draw and read. Let them nap. Your kids and family with enjoy the time together while luxuriating in the shade.

Learning about trees doesn’t have to be dull or academic. Encourage activities and projects that spark their curiosity and sense of play. As your children grow, their understanding and appreciation for trees and nature will grow, too.
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