Pocket Guide: Seeds to Trees

Pocket Guide: Seeds to Trees (Printed Guide)   $12.99 Add to cart

Introduce young children to nature through trees and forests

Seeds to Trees Pocket Guide connects children to nature through sensory experiences. It encourages exploration and discovery through the lens of trees and forests, exciting children’s imagination and curiosity about the natural world.

The Pocket Guide is designed for educators, group leaders, and family members to use with children ages 3–6. It includes four hands-on experiences to do with children in groups up to eight, plus preparation instructions, material and time requirements, and directions for leading each experience. The introduction provides guidance and tips for leading outdoor activities and embracing play and exploration, as well as recommendations for non-educators, such as forestry and natural resource professionals, for collaborating with schools and teachers for field tours.

At just 4 by 6 inches, the guide is small enough to fit into a pocket or backpack. It’s a useful resource for anyone to use outdoors with the children in their lives.

Preview an excerpt that describes concepts about forests that young learners will understand through the activities in this guide.

What’s Included

Through a Dramatic Play and Read-Aloud, children start by imagining themselves growing from a seed to a tree. Children learn by interacting, moving, and playing, and this is a great way to start off facilitating active learning.

Four additional activities, each about 20 minutes, work well with pre-K and kindergarten attention spans and engage all the senses. They utilize hands-on play, props, and stories.

Activity 1 — Shape Hike

Guide children in finding shapes outside. This is like a game of “I Spy” with a mission. Children explore how natural objects, such as leaves, rocks, or acorns, have different shapes.

Activity 2 — Nature Sounds

Help children focus on the sounds of nature. By listening carefully, a whole new world of sounds is revealed.

Activity 3 — Tree Parts

Encourage children to explore trees. Through their sense of touch, children explore different parts of a tree.

Activity 4 — Trees in Our Lives

Invite children to discover the many benefits we get from trees. Children see and touch products from trees, such as food and items made from wood, including paper.

How to Use the Guide

The activities are easy-to-do, require little preparation, and no special supplies. Exercises in the guide are designed to work well on their own, as well as collectively. Adapt the activities to meet the unique needs of the children you work with, the natural environment in your area, and the materials that you have available.


Seeds to Trees provides age-appropriate learning activities about trees and forests, both indoors and outdoors. For example, the activities:

  • Embrace hands-on play and discovery
  • Utilize props or stories
  • Invite children to touch objects produced from forests
  • Encourage children to name natural objects and tree parts
  • Motivate auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners by using all the senses when observing nature.

Each activity outlines a key concept and the objectives for the activity; time required to do the activity; the setting (indoors or outdoors); preparation instructions and materials needed.

Steps for leading each activity are grouped into sections: Introduce; Experience; Enhance; and Close.

Each activity also includes a recommendation for a children’s book that complements the activity, as well as suggestions for other PLT early childhood activities to expand on the experience.

In addition, the Pocket Guide includes:

  • Suggestions for leading outdoor experiences. For example, create and communicate clear boundaries.
  • Tips for how to work with youth of different ages. For example, focus on things children can see or touch.
  • Recommendations for working with schools for field tours. For example, speak with the children’s teacher beforehand to ask about the children, any exceptionalities, and what they may already know about the environment.

If you are a teacher, librarian, or administrator looking to place an order with a purchase order, please contact PLT's Sales & Marketing Coordinator at PLT@forests.org

Additional Resources

Seeds to Trees Pocket Guide was adapted from PLT’s award-winning Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood guide which contains 130 experiences for early childhood educators to engage young children in outdoor play and exploration.

We repurposed and redesigned some of these most popular, award-winning, early childhood activities into Seeds to Trees to create an easy-to-tote resource suitable for educators, group leaders, parents and grandparents. Measuring 4 by 6 inches, our 32-page Seeds to Trees Pocket Guide slips easily into your pocket or backpack. We ensure that kids find the activities fun to do, while you can feel confident that you are providing solid, age-appropriate information.

Professional Development

Seeds to Trees provides tested techniques to engage children in all kinds of hands-on learning opportunities, especially outside. So if you need to learn the basics, or reinforce best practices, you’ll find a concise summary of tips.

For more in-depth training and guidance for teaching out-of-doors and tips for bringing nature indoors, PLT also offers a variety of professional development opportunities across the U.S., and in several other countries. For more information, contact your state PLT coordinator.