Established in Nebraska in 1872, Arbor Day is observed on the last Friday in April each year. Nebraska newspaper editor-turned-senator J. Sterling Morton proposed the holiday when he noticed the territory’s lacking tree population. Using these Arbor Day homeschool resources, your family will spend some time appreciating the beauty, value, and science of trees.
Arbor Day Homeschool Resources
Below you’ll find Arbor Day homeschool resources that include unit studies, notebooking, books, crafts, websites and more. At the bottom are a couple of simpler ideas if you don’t want to completely dive into all things trees (but really? why wouldn’t you want to?). Spend a day, a week, or even a month with trees. You can’t believe how much there is to learn and appreciate about this glorious creation.
Learn About Trees with a Unit Study
When you can’t make it outdoors, stay in and learn about it. Amanda Bennett has one called Tremendous Trees. This study can easily be completed in one week and is written for grades K-4. It even includes a lapbook! Use code: benandme to save 50% on this unit study through April 24, 2021.
If you are looking for unit studies that both your younger and older students can do, take a peek over at Our Journey Westward. Cindy West’s specialty is all things Charlotte Mason and she is a master at nature study with her NaturExplorers series. She has two studies in that series about trees – Constant Conifers and Delightful Deciduous Trees. Both of these nature-inspired unit studies can be used with all ages and can take a month each to complete if you do the plethora of nature walks, abundance of learning activities, and notebooking activities included in each. You can also pick and choose a few activities to spend less time, while still having an amazing time learning about trees. Use code: ARBORDAY to save 25% on either of these NaturExplorer Unit Studies through April 30, 2021.
Create a Notebook All about Trees
You can also have your students create an informational notebook using these fun Trees Notebooking Pages. The set includes notebooking pages for more than 40 individual trees, plus blank templates to add your own topics. Use these notebooking pages to record facts, write stories or poems, drawings, labeling, and more! Use code: freetrees to get this set FREE through April 28, 2021.
The Arbor Day Foundation has a lot of fun information about trees that will add to your unit study. On their website, your kids can:
Learn about the benefits of trees.
Study about different trees around the world.
Play a leaf ID game.
Take a close look at the life of a tree.
Become a junior arborist.
Here are a few more resources to use for your unit study or general learning about trees and Arbor Day:
Crafts and Activities
Leaves and trees are the perfect subjects for arts and crafts. Pinterest is full of creative ideas for crafts made with natural materials like pine cones, needles, leaves, and twigs, many of which you can find in your backyard or at a local park. Here are a few crafts and activities to get your started:
Collect leaves, brush paint on them and make leaf prints on paper.
Make tree bark rubbings.
Learn all about where cinnamon comes from, how it’s made, and its health benefits. Then enjoy making some recipes using it.
Adding a basket of books to your list of resources will be one of the most fun and rewarding parts of learning about Arbor Day and trees. Many of these books can be found at your local library, but I have linked to them on Amazon, just in case.
A unique guide to the extraordinary world of plants, from the smallest seeds to the tallest trees. Packed with more than 1,000 incredible images and full of fascinating facts, this beautiful children’s book takes you on an exciting adventure through the wonders of the plant kingdom.
Trees, Leaves, & Bark by Diane Burns
A guide to sixteen trees found in the United States provides information about their lifespans and uses, leaves, bark, and seeds.
The Magic and Mystery of Trees by Jen Green
This breath-taking book about trees takes children on a captivating journey of nature packed leafy exploration, showing them just how special these mighty organisms are.
The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups by Gina Inglogia
The birds, the bees, the flowers and the…TREES! How do trees grow? Why do leaves change? What kind of tree is that? The acclaimed Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s guide answers all kids’ (and their parents’) tree-related questions in an easy-to-understand way.
Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Trees by Jim Arnosky
Crinkleroot invites youngsters to chart the growth of trees, examining their roots, leaves, stems, and seeds, discussing identification and explaining why all trees have individual shapes and stories.
The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Sophia Gholz
As a boy, Jadav Payeng was distressed by the destruction deforestation and erosion was causing on his island home in India’s Brahmaputra River. So he began planting trees. What began as a small thicket of bamboo, grew over the years into 1,300 acre forest filled with native plants and animals.
Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer
Because of an acorn, a tree grows, a bird nests, a seed becomes a flower. Enchanting die cuts illustrate the vital connections between the layers of an ecosystem in this magical book. Wander down the forest path to learn how every tree, flower, plant, and animal connect to one another in spiraling circles of life. An acorn is just the beginning.
Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel
After the family spares him from the builders, Steve the tree quickly works his way into their lives. He holds their underwear when the dryer breaks down, he’s there when Adam and Lindsay get their first crushes, and he’s the centerpiece at their outdoor family parties. With a surprising lack of anthropomorphizing, this is a uniquely poignant celebration of fatherhood, families, love, and change.
The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
When Mary Ellen gets bored with her reading, Grandpa knows a hunt for a bee tree is just what she needs. Half the town joins the exciting chase, but it’s not until everyone returns home that Mary Ellen makes a discovery of her own: Sometimes, even the sweetest of things must be worked for.
We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow
In this poetic picture book with environmental themes, illustrated by award-winning artist Bob Staake, two young families in two very different parts of the world each plant a tree.
The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry
Lynne Cherry journeyed deep into the rain forests of Brazil to write and illustrate this gorgeous picture book about a man who exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another” . . . and it works.
Who Will Plant a Tree by Jerry Pallotta
A squirrel buries an acorn. A dolphin pushes a coconut into an ocean current. A camel chewing a date spits out the seed. What do they all have in common? Each one, in its own way, has helped to plant a tree.
Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems by Kristine O’Connell George
Deceptively simple verses reveal what trees think about and what they say to one another, as well as how they look and all the things they do for us. Humor and an unerring ear for the sounds of language make these poems an irresistible read-aloud; the luminous oil paintings evoke a country setting and the children who enjoy it through the year.
Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Trees by Patricia Daniels
This fun, photo-filled, and fact-packed guide to trees will make kids stop and look up at the trees towering over them right in their own backyards. From maple to birch, pine to cherry, kids will learn how and where to spot these trees all over the United States.
Take a Nature Walk in a Park or Forest
You don’t have to spend a lot of time doing a huge unit study or building a notebook to appreciate Arbor Day and learn about trees. You can simply find a nearby trail in a forest or park and go for a nature walk as a family. Take a few nature study supplies to collect leaves, take photographs, and/or draw your favorite trees. This is a great activity to do with students of all ages. Even parents can join in the fun. Bring along a tree field guide and try to identify the trees you find and learn some tree facts.
Order a Tree to Plant
On the first official Arbor Day on April 10, 1872, Nebraskan citizens planted more than one million trees! So many trees are consumed each day for products we need and use. One way we can all help counter the use of trees for things like paper and paper products is to plant trees ourselves. Whether you find a tree from a local nursery or the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Nursery, nothing says Happy Arbor Day! like buying and planting a tree. Planting a tree will benefit your whole community.
I hope you’ll find these Arbor Day homeschool resources helpful and super fun for your family!