Discovering and appreciating nature is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my family, because it strengthens not only our bond with each other, but also our bond with the environment. Trees are such a magnificent and vital part of our lives. Why not celebrate with your family by learning more about them through some fun Arbor Day activities?
Plant a Tree
Nothing helps young kids understand big concepts, such as how plants grow, better than visual aids and hands-on activities. Learning where a tree comes from was a tricky idea for my daughter to wrap her head around, so I thought, what better way than to simply plant one? We decided to grow a small lemon tree. My daughter loved watching the tree bloom, watering it, and finally seeing small lemons appear and grow until they were big enough to pick.
If you have enough space, you can plant just about any type of tree with your family. But if you’re looking for an easy project that kids of all ages can enjoy and learn from, simply grow an avocado pit. Because the initial growth is done in water, this is a great way to illustrate how a seed sprouts and transitions into a small plant that will eventually become a big tree. Your kids will love checking the seed every day for signs of change until the roots and stem finally emerge.
Go on a Nature Walk
One of the best ways to learn more about trees is to simply spend time observing them. My family loves to take easy hikes or nature walks, which are a great opportunity to spend time together and talk about the importance of wildlife. And you don’t have to go far to get in touch with nature. My five-year-old daughter’s rapidly growing curiosity makes even a walk around our block an opportunity to learn about the ecosystems of the trees and plants that line our urban street. Consider celebrating Arbor Day with a family trip to a public garden, such as the National Arboretum. Or you can simply go outside for a stroll and let your kids ask questions. You can also point out things that they may not have noticed and ask them to look for differences between trees.
To this day, I still fondly remember volunteering as a child with a local organization dedicated to educating people about the environment and sustainability through the planting and caring of trees. Celebrate Arbor Day with your family by volunteering together with a local organization dedicated to preserving nature and promoting sustainability. Besides learning about the environment, you’ll spend quality time together making memories that will last for life.
Make Recycled Paper
Another way to celebrate trees is by learning all the ways we use and benefit from them. Teaching kids about how much trees give us, including clean air and paper, can go a long way toward helping them understand why sustaining the environment is so important. For a great activity that teaches sustainability, try making your own recycled paper. As you work on the project, talk about the importance of recycling and why trees are a resource that need to be protected.
Read a Book
A trip to the library is always great way to learn while you celebrate. Ask your librarian for recommendations on age-appropriate books about trees. Cozy up and read together while you discover different types of trees and more about their role in the ecosystem. Then turn your newfound knowledge into some fun educational games. For example, make a list of different types of trees, and then go on a discovery walk through your neighborhood to see who can find the most items on the list first.
What fun and educational ways will you celebrate Arbor Day this year? Share your stories in the comments.
Image source: Sher Warkentin | Flickr
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.