The world around us provides natural materials for the classroom. This fun activity encourages children to explore bare winter trees and incorporate natural materials in their exploration. Help your preschoolers think about what happens to a tree during the winter season.
Winter Tree Activity
In this activity, preschoolers can explore how to make a bare winter tree in 3D. The children can develop their observation and creative skills as well their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Hand-eye coordination is an important skill to develop. It helps children track the movements of their hands with their eyes, which is essential for reading and decoding.
Winter Trees Exploration
What you need:
- cardboard tubes (such as paper towel tubes)
- plastic caps or lids (large enough to fit on cardboard tubes)
- sticky tape or glue
- spoon, funnel, scissors
- brown paint and sponges
This tree is made with recycled items. This is important to us. We want to make the children aware of the importance of protecting our environment. (No waste policy!)
Prior to this activity we went on a walk in our local park to observe the trees and to collect twigs. We have been talking and reading books about the four seasons and the impact that each season has on nature, the changes that occur (especially trees), and so forth.
(Check out these books about trees.)
Before this activity, the teacher should close one end of the cardboard tubes with the plastic caps or lids. We use glue or sticky tape. (A hot glue gun would also work for this.) Cut a few small holes in top part of each cardboard tube, wide enough to fit in the twigs.
Creating Winter Trees
First we invited the children to paint the tubes with sponges. We painted our trees brown since it very rarely snows in the South of France. You may want to use white paint (for snowy trees) or a mixture of brown and white paint. Use whatever represents trees in your area. (Note: Painting the tubes is not essential to the activity but does add to the overall effect.) Set tubes aside to dry.
Once the tubes are dry, invite the children spoon rice into their tubes. Fill the tube about 3/4 full with rice. Make a line inside the tube to show the level of rice needed. Give each child a small amount of rice to use and replenish as needed to fill the tubes. For younger children, provide a funnel. We have been practicing spooning rice from one bowl to another so the children had built up some proficiency.
Tell the children to push twigs into the rice through the top part of the tube and insert other twigs in the holes in the tube. This part of the activity is great for building hand and eye coordination.
You may choose to leave the trees on a table or in a center for children to add or adjust the twigs. Or use the trees to build a winter landscape or enhance play in the blocks center.
Contributed by Claire Lewis