You may not have ever paid much attention to the trees around you, except for a when sitting under one on a hot summer day. I would love to share the tips I have used to study trees with my children. There are so many things to learn in nature studies, which is why I love the Charlotte Mason way.
Charlotte Mason recommends you start with the trees in your yard, and focus on these until your children can identify them by name.
Here is how we study trees:
- A bare tree tells a lot – I love to introduce the study of trees in the early spring when the trees are mostly bare but signs of life are beginning to show themselves. What a delight for a child, who is directed to notice the changes that come over a few short weeks to a large tree.
- Looking at their seeds – Each tree has a different seed and it is one of the easiest ways to identify what the kind of tree it is. The seeds grow in spring time, as the leaves are beginning to grow. I love to take a picture of the seeds of trees I do not know, along with the bark, and the leaves to identify them later. (The picture of this seed goes with the first picture of this post, do you know what kind of tree it is? The bark is a great clue, too!)
- Looking at the leaves – The leaves are a great thing to take home to further study the tree. My children have rubbed their leaves into their journals, drew their own replica of them and always identified them when they were old enough to do so. One of my favorite leaves to introduce young children to is the Popular Tulip leave because it looks like the shape of a fox's head.
- Dig deeper into books – Books are a great way to learn all about trees, what they are used for, where they grow, how big they get, how to tell how old they are and the biggest kinds in the world.