Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Circle of Trees: A Multigenerational Program about Nourishing Deep Connections with Nature

Activity 5: Make a Tree

Part of Circle of Trees

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Chime or rain stick

Preparation for Activity

  • Designate a large, open space (preferably outdoors) with plenty of room for movement and where noise will not disturb others.
  • Determine how participants with mobility issues can fully engage in this activity, and arrange to provide any adaptations.

Description of Activity

In this role play activity, participants work together to create with their bodies one large (and noisy) "tree" while learning the purpose of each part of a tree. It is wonderful to do this outside, preferably among other trees, but it can also be done inside.

Designate a few people to be pollinators. Then, divide the remaining group into six smaller groups: trunk, bark, leaves, roots, flowers, and seeds. Explain that you will tell them what motions and sounds to make for their tree part, but they should wait until you sound the chime or rain stick to start creating the tree.

Introduce the purpose of each tree part and describe its motions and sounds:

  • Trunk: The trunk moves nutrients up and down the tree and provides support to the tree as a whole. Trunk group members should stand in a circle, facing out, with their shoulders together, holding up their arms. The trunk will make a "whoosh, whoosh" sound.
  • Bark: Bark protects the tree. Bark group members should surround the trunk, facing out, and hold hands to create a protective barrier. The bark will say, "Safe, safe."
  • Leaves: Leaves work to produce food for the tree. Leaf group members stand around the bark, facing out, shaking their arms and hands in front of them as they "blow" in the wind. The leaves will say, "Yum, yum."
  • Roots: Roots collect water and nutrients from the soil. Root group members should sit around the base of the tree with their legs stretched out. Their sound is "Slurp, slurp."
  • Flowers: Flowers attract pollinators. Flower group members should stand near the leaves, alternating flower, leaf, flower, leaf, while holding their hands around their faces like petals. Flowers shout, "Pollinate me, pollinate me!" After being tapped by a pollinator, the flower "dies" by falling to the ground.
  • Seeds: Seeds come from a tree, then blow, roll, or are carried to another place where they may help begin a new tree. Seed group members should stand around the tree next to the flowers. After the flowers fall to the ground, the seeds cry, "Disperse, disperse!" while spinning and jumping away from the tree.
  • Pollinators: The pollinators are animals or insects that travel from flower to flower collecting and transferring pollen so that fertilization takes place and a new seed or nut can form. After the flowers have shouted "Pollinate me!" several times, the pollinators should gently tap them on the shoulder.

Sound the chime to start the process of making the tree.

Tell the group that they have created an adult tree and, with it, seeds to grow many more trees in the future.

As time allows, make the tree again, with participants taking different parts.

Process the activity by posing questions such as the following:

  • What part of the tree did you like being? What is the purpose of that part of the tree?
  • What did you learn about trees in this game?
  • What do you think would happen if any part of the tree was missing?
  • How can we help care for each part of the tree?