Week 8: Tree Spree

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Power of Nature- Tree Spree!

“Trees are the kindest things I know, they do no harm they simply grow.” – Harry Behn

We have hit that part of the sprint when we are met with lush green surroundings when we take a step outside.

Tree provide people with so many things necessary for life by simply growing. They provide oxygen for us to breathe and help cleanse the air; they provide us with food, shelter, shade and the raw materials to make countless things. Trees can also provide for our health and well-being by being among them.

Get to Know Trees by Their Leaves, Bark and Seeds

Leaves come in all different shapes, sizes and textures. You can identify any tree by its bark, leaves, and seeds. You can use a variety of field guide resources to help you identify trees.

Tree Identification Tools2

Make a Leaf Collection

  • Take a walk in the neighborhood or in a nearby park.
  • Grab a bag to hold collected leaves
  • Look for leaves in different sizes, textures, and shapes.
  • Upon returning home, sort the leaves by shape, by texture, by size
  • Use a leaf identification guide, app, or website to identify and label the leaves
  • Consider making a leaf collection by pressing the leaves between pages of a book, by creating sketches, or by making leaf rubbings
  • To make a leaf rubbing collage, take a piece of computer paper, place different leaves under the piece of paper vein side up and take different colored crayons and scribble back and forth going over the leaf.

Slow Down, Breathe Deep, Take a Forest Bath

Japanese culture has long believed in the powerful health benefits of spending time amidst the trees in nature. So much so that they have a practice called Shinrin-yoku which means “forest bath”. The process of forest bathing involves utilizing your senses to experience a total immersion into the forest surroundings. Forest bathing is more than just taking a walk in the woods. Although forest bathing has taken place in Japan for many years it is a relatively new practice in the United States.

Learn more about taking a forest bath with kids

Can’t get out? Consider engaging in a virtual forest bath with a certified instructor

The basics of forest bathing:

  • Locate a spot that has as a variety of trees that will allow you to slow down, to relax and be comfortable.
  • Attempt to eliminate distractions by safely tucking away electronic devices in a backpack.
  • Move slowly into the forest recognizing that this a forest walk and not a hike and that moving slowly greatly enhances the experience by awakening the senses. 4
  • Practice deep breathing to increase relaxation, where you breathe deeply into the abdomen and extend the exhalation of air to twice the length of the inhalation of air.
  • While walking through the forest take time to engage and to stop, look and listen to what surrounds you. Stand or sit quietly, blocking out distractions and appreciating what the earth and trees to us.
  • Engage the senses and notice details …listen to the forest sounds of the creatures in the woods and the rustling of the leaves, look up at the leaf canopy and to the light that filters through, use touch and sight to notice the small details of nature, smell and take in the various fragrances of the forest. The phytochemicals that trees release provide numerous health benefits and boost the immune system as they are breathed into the lungs. (Please stay safe while sitting and touching plants in the woods. Refer to this guide of poisonous plants if you are not already well-versed).
  • Remain in the forest for as long as you see things that enlighten you. Forest bathing experiences can take up to several hours but even ten minutes can provide benefits for health and wellbeing.
  • Before leaving the forest take time to get in touch with your feelings and if walking with someone else discuss the feelings that were experienced during the forest bath.
  • Consider making forest walks a regular part of your outdoor experiences.

Rainy Day Tree Activities

 

Make a Tree of Gratitude    6

(via: The House of Hendrix)

Enjoy a Tree Tale

Trees have been the topic of many special tales and have lessons to teach us. Treat yourself to one of these “tree”mendous tales with one of these videos.

A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry, YouTube 

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, YouTube, hoopla

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry, YouTube

The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward, YouTube

Create A Paper Forest

Using different types of paper (tissue paper, brown paper, paper towel or toilet paper tubes, construction paper) build different kinds of trees to make a forest. Learn how.

Make Recycled Paper

Paper is made from trees. Paper comes in a variety of textures and colors.  Paper can be recycled. You can make your own recycled paper to make beautiful crafts.

Watch this video to learn how to make recycled paper!


Enjoy Tree Treats

Trees provide us with a variety of food such as fruits, nuts, and sap. Each can be used to create some yummy treats.

Fruit Cobbler

Use apples, cherries, peaches, or pears to create a delicious fruit cobbler! Get the recipe [via: All Recipes] 

Turn Lemons into Lemonade

Get the recipe. [via: Divas Can Cook]

Blend Up a Frosty Orange Treat

Oranges are a great source of vitamin C and are a great boost for the immune system. Try this recipe to make an orange flavored blender drink similar to an Orange JuliusGet the recipe [via: Yummly]

Make Maple Candies

Get the recipe. [via: The Spruce Eats]

Sweet Nut Clusters

For nut-eating families, a sweet protein-packed treat. Get the recipe. [via: Super Healthy Kids]