Do you have any special plans for Arbor Day this year? There are all kinds of ideas to be found at the Arbor Day Foundation webpage, but here are a few possible activities for your family today ...
~ You could plant a tree, of course! Since that takes some forethought, you could look for a good site on your property, discuss what kind of tree you'd all like (take a vote?) over supper, and maybe plan a trip to the nursery this weekend.
~ You could choose a tree to befriend ~ one in your yard or one along your street. Tie a colored ribbon around the trunk or a branch to remind you which one you picked. Follow it through the seasons with your children ~ take bark rubbings, press fallen leaves, observe any changes or animal life (insects, birds or mammals).
~ Take a Tree Walk today. The woods would be a perfect spot for this, but so too would a city park. Bring along your field guides and sketch books. Keep a list of how many different kinds of trees you can identify. (And sketch or photograph those you can't for further research.)
~ Go on a Tree Scavenger Hunt ~ at the supermarket! Have your kids look around to see how many different things in the store came from trees.
~ If you don't have a tree identification guide, now is the perfect time purchase one. (Barnes & Noble Educator Week begins tomorrow!)
~ Or, begin a field guide of your own! Look up the trees most common in your area, and plan a page for each one (and then some). As you find a tree species, enter your drawings or photographs and any observations you make. (You can supplement your findings with information readily available online.)
~ For tea-time, bake up some leaf-shaped cookies. Acorns, maple leaves, evegreen tree shapes would all work. Depending on your weather, serve them with cinnamon tea or a glass of cold apple cider.
~ Make plans for a tree fort! (Get Dad in on this one.) Let your children draw up plans and formulate their ideas ... then see how you can make it (or a version of it) happen. There's nothing like a tree fort for imaginative play!
~ Make up a tree poem page for your nature journals. A quick google search will lead you to plenty from which to choose. Or maybe you already have a favorite? Let your children copy it out and then add stickers or sketches (depending upon age and interest).
~ Read some favorite tree stories, like ~
- The Big Tree
- Sky Tree
- The Giving Tree
- How the Forest Grew
- A Forest of Stories
- Woody, Hazel and Little Pip
- The Great Kapok Tree
- Planting the Trees of Kenya
~ My boys are always looking for faces in the trees, imagining there might be treefolk living inside - maybe even an ent like in The Lord of the Rings! This would be a fun and magical walk to take today. And if you find one - of course you must sketch it - maybe even name it!
~ Brainstorm ways we can all help protect the forests. Can we use less paper - or find ways to re-use the paper we have? Look for recycled paper products at the grocer's or office supply store. (And if you don't see them, ask why not at the service desk.) Devise a plan for purchasing your household supplies with less packaging.
~ Call your local nature sanctuary and see if they have any tours or classes specifically about trees. Gather some of your friends for a ranger-led walk through the woods and learn all you can about trees!
But however you spend it, I hope your Arbor day is great!
"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world." ~ John Muir