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This activity guide offers hundreds of ideas for fun, hands-on experiences for families and teachers to connect children ages 1–6 to nature, with a focus on trees. Through indoor and outdoor activities, children explore nature through their five senses, experience trees throughout the seasons, and connect with their community.
The activities are designed for families and caregivers, childcare providers, and early childhood or PreK-Grade 1 educators to use in a range of settings, including preschools, childcare and nature centers, and at home. Special instructions tailor many experiences for children under 3 years of age.
The activities connect with early learning standards in science, English language arts, math, and social studies, as well as programs like the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and established Nature-Based Preschool Practices.
Trees & Me has many features to supplement the learning opportunities you provide for children in your care, for example:
1. Trees & Me Activity Guide
The 176-page guide also includes 10 appendices, such as tested techniques for engaging early learners, tips for outdoor learning, and bringing nature inside.
2. Online Course
This self-paced online course supports formal and nonformal educators, in effectively leading experiences with young children. It is ideal for educators who would like to receive a certificate of completion for the "Leaf Through the Guide" tutorial for continuing education credits*. The course requires approximately 1 hour to complete.
*Continuing education credits and state-specific supplemental resources are offered in some states. For more information, contact your state PLT coordinator.
Price includes shipping & handling.
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.
Educators and childcare providers field-tested the activities with children. Here’s some of what they had to say:
"Trees & Me is such an incredible resource for teachers AND families! I also like the "Leaf Through the Guide" video tutorial as well as the take-home pages for educators and families to explore on their own and at their own pace.” – Joanne DeFilipp Alex, Education Director and Head Teacher, Primary Classroom (retired) at Stillwater Montessori School in Old Town, Maine
"I love seeing so many options in the guide that make it really easy to use, like the QR codes that grant access to songs for the Music and Movement activities. It’s also a wonderful resource for teachers who aren’t quite as comfortable yet with teaching outdoors or using nature for learning. Each activity includes specific suggestions with the "Take It Outside!" box, and there's enough information in the "Background for Adults" sections for answering the questions of "why?" that are basically guaranteed in a preschool environment!" – Tia R. Prostko, Early Childhood Well-Being Coach at South Carolina Program for Infant/Toddler Care in Easley, South Carolina
"I absolutely love the new "Home Tweet Home" activity. It provides a great introduction to teaching young children about habitats in their own backyard or school yards. It’s so hands-on and open-ended. The Group Experiences and Free Exploration sections contain a plethora of learning tools for young children." – Tarneshia D. Evans, Recreation Services Program Specialist at the Department of Parks & Recreation in Richmond, Virginia
"Trees & Me offers something for everyone and anyone who cares for the future of a young child. This resource [can] be implemented straightaway, no matter if you are an established environmental educator, resource professional, or loving parent." – Linda Kinney, Education Specialist and Manager Playful Pedagogy at North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, North Carolina
"Including the career connections of relevant community helpers, such as farmers, park rangers, foresters, and scientists, is an easy foray into the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” conversation. Kids are conditioned to want to be the types of “helpers” they hear about, and this is a perfect way to begin." – Jessica Kratz, Coordinator at Greenbelt Nature Center, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation in Staten Island, New York
PLT Professional Development
Did you know? PLT’s 50-state network offers in-person and blended professional development that is customized for specific grade levels, topics, outcomes, and teaching situations. In these hands-on (and fun!) workshops, you will build your knowledge, skills, and confidence for leading activities outdoors. You’ll practice using PLT materials while also gaining insights from facilitators and peers. Find contact information for your state at https://www.plt.org/yourstate.