Nature is a great teacher! Try these fun and easy-to-do activity ideas from Project Learning Tree to connect the children in your life to the outdoors and nature. Suitable for children ages 3-15, some activities work better for younger children, others are more suited for older children. The way you present them will change depending on the child's knowledge and ability.
Walking the Forest
Evergreens in Winter - Touch, smell, see, hear, and taste winter using this activity.
Invasive Species - Learn how relocating plants and animals can be both beneficial and detrimental.
The Fallen Log - Discover microhabitats, communities, and diverse life by observing fallen logs.
How Plants Grow -Find out what plants need to function and grow using this activity.
Looking at Leaves - Take a closer look at leaves, their characteristics, and how they can be used to identify plants.
Tree Cookies - Trace a tree's life events using "tree cookies," the cross-sections of trees.
Tree Lifecycle - Examine a tree's lifecycle and find similarities to the lifecycles of other living things.
Have Seeds, Will Travel - Observe, collect, and classify plant seeds.
Exploring a Local Park
Adopt a Tree - Deepen awareness of individual trees over time and develop a greater understanding of the environment.
Bursting Buds - Find out what's inside different buds in early spring, where leaves come from, and how they form.
Every Tree for Itself - Uncover the conditions trees need to survive, live, and grow and learn how trees compete for resources.
Get in Touch With Trees - Explore nature and its many textures and shapes using the sense of touch.
Pollution Search - Take a closer look at pollution: what it is, what its sources are, and what people can do to reduce it.
Signs of Fall - Observe the annual change of seasons and investigate why leaves turn colors in the fall.
The Closer You Look - Take a closer look at trees and discover their individual parts.
Trees in Trouble - Examine neighborhood trees for signs of poor health and then investigate actions to help trees in trouble.
We All Need Trees - Discover different products we get from trees and how much we depend on trees in our daily lives.
In Your Own Backyard
The Shape of Things - Focus on the many shapes that are found in both natural and built environments.
Sounds Around - Explore nature by tuning in to the sounds of your environment.
The Forest of S.T. Shrew - Take a "shrew's-eye-view" of life in the woods and uncover the diversity in the forest.
Trees as Habitats - Meet plants and animals living in, on, and around trees and how they depend on trees to survive.
Birds and Worms - Discover the value of camouflage and pretend to be birds in search of worms.
How Big is Your Tree? - Measure trees in different ways and become familiar with tree scale and structure.
Soil Stories - Explore differences in soil types and composition.
Tree Factory - Act out and learn about the parts of a tree, and their structure and function.
When All Else Fails, Inside
Renewable or Not - Discover why sustainable use of natural resources is important.
Then and Now - Investigate changes in your community over time.
Web of Life - Explore food webs and discover the many ways that plants and animals are connected.
To Be a Tree - Make a tree costume and act out a tree's structure and functions.
Pass the Plants, Please - Learn about the different plant parts we eat.