For this month on the 12 Months of Montessori Learning series, we are studying about trees here on Mama's Happy Hive blog. Ever since I was a child, my favorite part of nature has been the beauty of a shade tree. I love to watch the wind dance through the leaves on a sunny day, smell the spring blossoms of a fruit tree, and hide in a fort beneath the boughs of an evergreen. Trees hold a magical place in my heart and I want to pass that love of trees down to my son. In this Montessori inspired botany tree exploration unit, you will find 10 kid friendly educational activities.
Tallest Tree Stacking (Nesting) Boxes
I found these beautiful "Tallest Tree" stacking boxes from Montessori Services. These stacking boxes were given the National Park Service Best Product Award. I adore the gorgeous art on these boxes and Little Bee loves to use his gross motor skills while stacking them. Each side of the box displays a different ecology-related activity for learning. One side is a majestic Redwood tree, the second side is a counting with animals activity, the third side is creatures who live in a tree habitat, and the fourth side is a sweet poem about the tree. On the top of each box there are pictures that start from the forest floor and ascend into outer space. These stacking boxes are great and they have so much inspiration to offer for learning fun!
Forest Floor Exploration
The largest two boxes of the tallest tree stacking tower display a beautiful scene of the forest floor. I think the forest floor is a wonderful place to start in our exploration of a tree. After all, it is when the seed lands in the soil that the life of a new tree begins to take place.
I created a sensory tray of the forest floor that was inspired by the art on these gorgeous stacking boxes. I didn't have fresh leaves to use in the forest floor sensory box because our trees have not yet sprouted their leaves this spring. Instead, I used garden soil, moss, sticks, rocks, and a little grass. I placed several (plastic) snakes and insects into the sensory box for Little Bee to discover.
Tree Matching Activity
Little Bee loves to manipulate small objects and this Safari TOOB of trees has the cutest trees to explore. I found the matching "For the Love of Trees" printables at The Natural Homeschool blog.
The work of matching an object to a picture, is wonderful for a toddler in developing pre-reading skills. This set comes with ten trees (ten printables also), however, I reduced the number to six trees for Little Bee. I wanted to give him a smaller number for matching to make sure he was able to successfully accomplish this work.
Montessori Tree Puzzle
I love this beautiful Montessori tree puzzle for a hands-on learning experience with the different parts of a tree. This is a great time to teach your child about how the tree functions. It carries nutrients up from its roots through the trunk, to the branches, and finally to its leaves.
Counting with Trees
Little Bee is really into learning about numbers right now. He enjoys pointing to objects and he can count to ten. I am incorporating counting numbers into as many of our unit studies as I can to help him grasp the concept that the number one represents one object. In this activity we are counting different shaped trees with our number counters and these tree printables. (For the life of me, I can not locate where I found these tree printables. If you recognize this printable, please let me know and I will link to the source.)
Nature Table Exploration for Kids
Little Bee and I take a walk around the neighborhood almost everyday. On our walks we collect "treasures" that nature has left for us to discover. One day we found a completely intact bird's nest that had fallen to the ground, so I saved it for our nature table. We also found pine cones on the ground, peeled off bark, and broken off branches from the wind. All of these lovely "treasures" from our neighborhood trees have become a part of this educational tree unit.Little Bee is learning about the different trees that live in our neighborhood. Since most of the leafed trees are still bare, I decided for this unit, that we would concentrate on the coniferous trees that stay green all year. Here are pictures of four of the different coniferous trees that we have in our neighborhood.
On our walk, we found two different kinds of pine cones with seeds. One of the pine cones had big fat seeds and the other pine cone had thin wispy seeds. I separated both sets of seeds into tiny jars for Little Bee to examine.
Comparing Two Trees
After comparing the two pine cones, it was fun to also compare the other parts of the trees. The fir needles were shorter than the pine needles. The two tree shapes were also different.
Parts of a Tree
We also explored the various parts of a tree by using these Montessori Botany Nomenclature 3-part Card printables and matched them to "real" parts of a tree. I showed Little Bee that the roots are under the ground, so that is why the roots have clumps of dirt attached to them. I explained that the bark is part of the trunk of the tree. I also explained that needles are the "leaves" of a fir and/or pine tree. Little Bee matched each object to the correct card after I demonstrated this matching activity a couple times.
Pine Needles and Bark
The last two activities were matching games and a bark exploration tray. I demonstrated to Little Bee how to match the cards for these coniferous trees using tree printables. We talked about the aciculate needle (leaf) shape and matched the card to a real pine needle. The bark exploration tray was set up for Little Bee to explore the different colors, shapes, and textures of the bark.
Nature Tree with Shapes Provocation
A provocation is setting up an opportunity for your child to explore certain displayed materials. For more information on what a provocation is, please visit - What is a Provocation?
This is a simple provocation for a toddler or preschool aged child. I cut out two shapes - a triangle and a rectangle to form an evergreen tree shape. Then I placed one bowl of pine needles and one bowl of bark and encouraged my child to match up the natural shapes with the cut out paper shapes. I also had a lego shaped evergreen tree as inspiration.
Thanks for visiting!
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Amazing blogs involved in the 12 Months of Montessori Learning
Natural Beach Living ~ The Natural Homeschool ~ Living Montessori Now ~ The Kavanaugh Report ~ Mama’s Happy Hive ~ Study at Home Mama ~ Child Led Life ~ Every Star Is Different ~ Grace and Green Pastures ~ The Pinay Homeschooler