Trees in Winter
If possible take children on a winter tree walk around the neighborhood or schoolyard to observe trees during the winter. Note the difference between evergreen trees and trees that lose their leaves during the winter. Feel the difference textures of the bark on different trees. Allow each child to pick a tree to be “their tree”. Take a picture of each child with their tree, and let them make observations about their tree. Note which tree each child picked so they can return to visit their tree in the spring to observe the changes the seasons bring to their tree.
After returning to the classroom display a collection of evergreen and deciduous tree twigs and allow children to explore them. Smell them, scratch them, feel the difference in their bark, use magnifying glasses to look closer. Note that the evergreen twigs have “needles” on them but that the deciduous twigs do not. Ask: Which twigs do you like best? How are the leaves the same? How are they different? How are the leaves of evergreen trees different from the leaves of the trees that lose their leaves in the fall?
After children have had an opportunity to fully explore the twigs get out paint and paper and let them paint with evergreen branches or make prints using the needles. Or they could paint a picture of their tree that they adopted while outside.
For snack time make evergreen tree sandwiches together. You will need: bread, cream cheese (green-tinted if possible), dried fruit and/or nuts. Using plastic knives, show children how to cut bread into triangles, how to spread cream cheese on their bread and then allow them to “decorate” their trees with dried fruit and nuts. Serve with hot cocoa (which comes from trees!).
For this and other great ideas use Project Learning Tree’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood “Evergreens in Winter”.
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