How Tall is Your Tree?
You can find out how tall a tree is by standing next to it on a sunny day and measuring the length of your shadow using the tape measure. You can then measure the length of the tree’s shadow. Once you get both measurements, you multiply the length of the tree’s shadow by your height and then divide the resulting number by the length of your shadow. This should give you the height of the tree! Make sure to use the same unit of measurement for all calculations. This activity works best on flat ground.
Leaf Collecting & Leaf Crayon Rubbings
Take a hike at the local park or in your neighborhood. Collect a variety of different shapes and sizes of leaves on the ground.
Crayon Rubbing – Lay the rough side of the leaf up, place a sheet of white paper over the leaf and using the length of a crayon, rub an outline of the leaf onto the paper. You can also use the leaf rubbing plates to make your rubbings. You provide the crayons. You can also try to identify which type of tree your leaf came from using this site.
Acorn Hunt and Sort
Find the fruit of Iowa’s state tree, the oak! Acorns come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Find as many different kinds of acorns as you can, then sort them. Do any have insect holes? Have some been partially eaten? After sorting, counting and matching the acorns, leave little ‘acorn food piles’ in the forest for the animals. What types of animals do you think will come to eat them? If you have time, sit very quietly at the base of a nearby tree and wait to see if anything comes to get them.
Life in a Log
Find a log in the forest and investigate the log for signs of life. What do you expect to find? You may want to have a magnifying glass handy to look closer at what you find. Please release the bugs when finished observing them.
Why are Trees Important?
Are trees important or not? What would nature be like without the trees? Get a hold of and read the book the Lorax by Dr. Seuss and discover what happens with the Truffla trees. Write your thoughts down and discuss how more or less trees in the world affects everything around us.
Adopt A Tree
Pick an existing tree or plant a new one to commemorate a special event in your life – a birth, death, or marriage, etc. Take pictures of your tree in each season of the year and after big events such as a big wind or ice storm. Use the tree’s bark to make bark rubbings using crayons. Take the seeds from the tree and plant them other places where you want its offspring to grow. Watch for animals and birds that use the tree for food and shelter. If the tree dies, collect leaves and branches to remember it by.
Books and Information
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert (Ages 4-8)
Where Once There Was A Wood by Denise Fleming (Ages 4-10)
The Lorax by Dr. Suess (Ages 6-9)
A Golden Guide to Trees by Herbert Zim
Iowa’s Plants: Seeds, Nuts, and Fruits of Iowa Plants Iowa Association of Naturalists
Iowa’s Plants: Iowa’s Trees Iowa Association of Naturalists
Iowa Woodlands Iowa Association of Naturalists
Guide to Common Trees & Shurbs of Iowa
City of North Liberty Green Spaces Map
Tree Related Board Games
The Wild Seed Game