Plant a Tree with Each of Your Kids
Getting your kids to enjoy nature, education and quality time with you isn't always easy. Plant a tree with each of your kids and you will be instilling in them respect for the environment while at the same time showing them that learning and time with the parents can be fun!
Get the kids involved with planning as early as possible. The more your kids have a sense of ownership about their tree, the more benefit they will get out of this project. You may want to have a segway into this idea, like Earth Day, someone's birthday or when they are studying botany in science class. Tell them you want to buy each of them a tree of their own that will grow up with them. Most importantly, give them the opportunity to choose the that tree they want to grow. Kids love it when you ask their opinion, so ask them what tree they would like to plant. You may want to come up with a list of trees that grow well in your area, or if they are old enough, ask them to research and come up with a list of good candidates.
Raising Green Kids
Do your kids know how trees help the environment by shading buildings in the summer and protecting from wind in the winter? Do they understand how this saves energy and money? Do they know that trees emit oxygen, helping us to breathe? Planting a tree is a great opportunity to help your kids become more environmentally savvy. Discuss with them whether planting a tree gives them a sense of empowerment. Encourage them to spread enthusiasm about planting trees amongst their classmates and teachers.
A Learning Opportunity
Through the process of choosing, planting and maintaining their tree, your children will learn about a number of topics, including growing zones, use of compost and fertilizer, pruning and much more. To encourage your children to learn more specifics about their tree, ask them to pick a tree that reminds them of themselves. This is an opportunity for you to talk about your children's' strengths and weaknesses and to help them establish their identity. At the same time, they will be digging deep for information in order to make a personal connection.
Your kids' trees will never stop being a source of fun for the family. Here are just a few ideas for other projects for your kids and their trees:
- Keep a side-by-side journal or scrapbook of the tree and your child's life on a seasonal or annual basis. For example, how tall was the tree and your child at Christmas? What sport was your child playing when the tree first bloomed?
- Take a picture each year of your child and the tree for as long as the children agree.
- Do show-and-tell at school.
- Create a meditation, study or play space under their tree by adding a tire swing, hammock, lawn chair, table and chairs or other outdoor furniture and decorations. Encourage your children to make that space their own.