Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Lengths of clean cloth for covering eyes
Preparation for Activity
- Select a safe, accessible outdoor location with many trees. (Be sure the tree trunks do not have poison ivy vines growing up them.)
- Read Alternate Activity 2, Tree Rubbings, 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 "up close and personal" with a tree and then identify the individual tree they explored.
Have the children form pairs. In these words or your own, say:
You and your partner will take turns getting to know a tree, using your senses of touch, smell, and hearing-but not sight! Decide which partner will be the explorer first and cover that person's eyes. The other partner is the guide who will choose a tree and lead the explorer, carefully and slowly, in a wandering path to a tree. At the tree, the explorer uses their senses of touch, smell, and hearing to get to know the tree. The guide then leads the explorer back to the starting place and then helps the explorer uncover their eyes. The explorer then tries to identify the tree they just got to know. Then, we will switch roles and let the new explorer get to know a tree.
If you have a small group, do this activity one pair of children at a time, while the others watch.
Including All Participants
If a child is uncomfortable having their eyes covered, they can try to keep their eyes tightly closed, or take the role of guide.
If the group includes any blind children, adapt this activity. Have all "explorers" cover or close their eyes, but simply have them verbally describe the tree they are "getting to know" rather than go back to the starting place and guess which tree it was. Guides can lead their partners directly to a tree rather than take a deliberately confusing path. With your help, a blind child can perform the role of guide, let them choose a tree for their partner by feel.