Project Learning Tree (PLT)

Teachers' choice award from Learing Magazine logo

PLT Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood

Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood and music CD-ROM, winner of 2011 Teachers' Choice Award from Learning Magazine, was developed using the tenets of early childhood education as outlined in the Natural Wonders: Guide to Early Childhood for Environmental Educators.This link leads to an external site.

graphic: Cover of Book and CDActivities in the guide have been correlated to both the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. external link and National Association for the Education of Young Children Standards This link leads to an external site. are modeled on the principles of free choice, hands-on learning, and open-ended activities for ages 3 to 6.

The book contains 11 activities that are arranged in three themes: Senses, Seasons, and Getting to Know Trees. The CD-ROM contains 11 tracks of music to accompany each activity.

The only way to get this book and CD-ROM is to attend a PLT workshop.


Activity overview

1. The Shape of Things

Children exploring shape of things
  • Children will search for shapes and colors that define both our natural and built environments. Children will use tools to find shapes, play outside, and express feelings through writing, music, movement, and art.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

2. Sounds Around

  • Children will explore the sounds of nature and imitate the sounds using their own voices and instruments that they make, learn simple sign language, play outside, and express feelings about natural sounds through music, movement, and art,
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

3. Get in Touch with Trees

photo: Child playing in leaves
  • In these experiences, children will explore trees and their parts by using the sense of touch. They may feel rough bark, spongy moss, sharp thorns, and sticky sap. Children will use words to describe textures, play outside, and express their feelings through music, movement, and art.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

4. We All Need Trees

  • Trees are filled with aromatic woods, savory spices, smelly twigs, or yummy fruits. In these experiences, children will explore trees using their noses and mouths, tasting tree fruits, cook and eat applesauce, play outside, and express feelings through writing, music, movement, and art.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

5. Signs of Fall

photo: Sign of Fall poster
  • Through these experiences, children will explore the signs of autumn and will play with falling, changing, and dancing leaves. Children will collect, count, and sort real leaves; write and illustrate a class story; play outside; and express experiences through music, movement, and art.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

6. Evergreens in Winter

Child smelling pine needles
  • Evergreen trees offer a sensory overload! Through these experiences, children till touch, smell, see, hear, and taste the season of winter. Many of these experiences can be used year-round in areas with or without snow. Through observation and play, children will compare tree parts; create animal food; and write a story about animals and their trees.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

7. Bursting Buds

  • Spring is a time of growth for trees and other plants. These experiences help children explore twigs, buds, and tree flowers while they celebrate the coming of spring. Children will observe seasonal changes and describe spring using onomatopoeias, music, movement, and art.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

8. Adopt a Tree

  • Trees can be identified by looking at their bark, flowers, fruits, leaves, seeds, and twigs. Children will compare trees and decide which combination of features they like most by choosing a favorite tree, assembling a scrapbook, playing outside, and expressing feelings, through music, movement, and art.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

9. To Be a Tree

  • Trees are a lot like people?with limbs, trunks, and skin. Children will make a tree costume and explore tree parts by writing a story, playing outside, expressing their feelings through music, movement, and art.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

10. Trees as Habitats

  • From their leafy branches to their tangled roots, trees provide habitats for a diverse variety of plants and animals. Children will discover how plants and animals depend on trees by taking a walk, acting out a story, and investigating tree parts.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish

11. Three Cheers for Trees

  • Each day, trees provide many benefits for all people. Through these experiences, children will explore the many products and benefits that trees provide. Children will celebrate the gifts of trees, play outside, and collect and write about tree products.
  • Family and Friends page English | Spanish