Family outdoor adventures are about enjoying experiences together. Kids love being outdoors and free play but they sometimes need to be given guidance or ideas. We want to share our love for nature with our kids and we also want to educate on the environment around them. We like to have some activities to pull out when camping or hiking to give the kids something to do if they need some re-direction (basically stop them from doing things we don’t want them to do).
Kids Love Trees
Learning about nature at a young age fosters respect and appreciation of our environment. We put together 3 free tree activities for kids to foster learning and for fun.
1. Guess the Trees Age Activity
- Soft Measuring Tape (inches)
- Pen and Paper (optional)
Guess the Trees Age Activity Materials
What You Do
- Ask your kids to find a tree. You can ask them to find one too big for them to hug, taller than mommy, that has flowers, etc. Support them in finding a tree with a trunk a few inches wide to make measuring more fun.
- Wrap the measuring tape around the circumference of the trunk to find the size.
- Write down the size on paper or talk about.
- For older kids make a game out of it like who can find a 10, 20 and 30 year old tree.
- The measurement of the tree circumference in inches is the approximate age of the tree in years!
Measuring a Tree to Get the Age
- Every year a new layer of growth occurs just under the bark, if you see it chopped down the years show as rings.
- The measurement of a tree circumference is a good rule of thumb to estimate the approximate age of many types of trees around Canada and the USA.
- Not all trees can be measured this way, the following trees circumference doesn’t change much with age; redwoods, firs, palm trees and eucalyptus. The activity may not be 100% accurate but it is fun.
- If there are any trees that have been chopped down nearby you can discuss a tree’s age by counting the rings of the trunk.
2. Tree Bark Art / Tree Easel Activity
Tree Easel and Rubbing Activity
- Tape (packing works well)
Tree Easel and Rubbing Activity Materials
What You Do
- Tape the paper around a tree, have the child rub the paper with a crayon. Neat patterns appear like magic, at least for preschool kids!
- This is a fun activity to learn the types of tree you are rubbing. Add tree names to the art as a learning element.
- For the rubbings we found crayons with no paper or wide ‘baby’ crayons we had worked best as shown in the picture.
- We also did rubbings for pine cones, leaves and sticks we found on the ground.
Our tree rubbing turned into doing drawings and used the tree as an easel, it held their attention for a very long time and were shaded by the tree from the sun.
Nature Rubbing Art
3. Climb a Tree!
If you have a tree in your yard, that is awesome! For me, this activity has to be done spur of the moment. I don’t have any great climbing trees by me but when I am around the perfect fallen log or tree I hop on with the kids. Both young and old kids (aka parents) enjoy this activity!
Warning: Climbing a Tree May Result in a Tree Nap