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Alternate Activity 2: Tree Rubbings

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Light-colored 11x17-inch paper, and pencils or crayons for all participants
  • Pencils or crayons
  • Tree identification books

Preparation for Activity

  • Select an outdoor site where the bark of several different types of trees is accessible to the children.
  • Obtain tree identification books pertinent to your local area. One possibility is as What Tree is That? A Guide to the More Common Trees Found in North America (Arbor Day Foundation).
  • Read Alternate Activity 3, Getting to Know a Tree, which also connects children with actual trees in an outdoor location. Consider using both activities together to address a variety of learning styles and capabilities.

Description of Activity

Participants get to know a tree close up.

Go outside to the area selected for the activity, bringing paper, rubbing tools, and tree identification books with you. Tell participants to look at the various trees and choose one that looks interesting to them (more than one child can use the same tree). Show children how to place the paper up against the bark of the tree and rub the pencil or crayon evenly over the tree to create an impression of the bark. Optional: A rubbing can also be done of a tree's fallen leaves.

Distribute paper and pencils or crayons and invite children to make their own rubbings. Encourage them to pay attention to the pattern of the bark which emerges on their paper. Consulting the tree identification books, help the children identify the type of tree they have chosen and write the name of the tree on their paper.

Display the rubbings in your meeting space or invite children to take them home.

Including All Participants

Be sure to determine whether there are any relevant allergies within your group, such as bee stings or pollen, and plan accordingly. Select a location that is safe as well as accessible for all.

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