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Exploring the Seasons of a Tree

One year in a tree’s life brings about many spectacular changes, and children love watching these changes in real-time. You can teach your child a lot about scientific cycles and how living things change over time by observing the trees in your neighborhood at different points in the year. 

Befriend a Tree

Start your exploration by choosing a favorite tree. It might be one in your backyard, a special one you pass every day on your walk to school, or one you like to climb in your neighborhood park. While we recommend choosing a deciduous tree, since these are the types of trees that change with the seasons, if your child falls in love with an evergreen, there are still a lot of wonderful lessons to be learned (including why coniferous trees don’t change colors or lose their leaves).

It’s also important for children to understand that each species has a different life cycle. So, depending on the type of tree you choose, and what part of the world you call home, your tree might look a whole lot different from someone else’s. Connect With Your Tree

Connect with Your Tree

Now spend some time getting to know your tree during different times of the year. Use your senses to learn what makes your tree unique. Think about what your tree looks like, sounds like, smells like, and feels like during each of the seasons.

Here are a few more suggestions to help you connect with your tree: 

  • In the fall, use a magnifying glass to look closely at the parts of your tree.
  • In the winter, hug your tree to feel the texture of its bark.
  • In the spring, take a walk around your tree and notice the plants and animals that live there.
  • In the summer, sit against the trunk of your tree and appreciate its shade or lay down underneath your tree and look up.

Explore Your Tree Up Close

Learning how to pause and look closely is an essential skill for any naturalist. Teach children the careful art of observation by taking them on a scavenger hunt to learn more about the parts of their tree.

Print out the scavenger hunt below, attach it to a clipboard, and offer your child a writing tool. If you have our Do-It-Together Kit: All About Trees, you’ll want to pack up your tote bag with the magnifying glass and identification guides, because you never know when those will come in handy on your hunt! Plus, you already have a scavenger hunt for each of the four seasons … yay! 

During your outdoor adventure, remember to pause and look closely. Notice the seasonal changes happening around you and take in the beauty of the season. 


All of our experiences are meant to encourage playful learning, playful parenting, and connection. So breathe, observe, be present, and enjoy!





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Playful Learning Field Guides

Grab these handy field guides on your way to park or walk around the block. Add a basket for collecting and a magnifying glass for observing you are set for a memorable outdoor adventure