Arbor Day is typically in the last week of April each year.
This page is a mini-unit for a one day theme of preschool activities and ideas for different areas of your classroom.
For information about this day and additional ideas, Click Here to go to the Arbor Day Foundation Website
You can scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme.
Or, you can click the picture link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Materials Needed: leaves collected from outside, glue, construction paper, googly eyes
The children can use the leaves to make their own creatures of people. They can use one for the head and decorate and then draw bodies OR use different sized leaves for the bodies, arms, hands, etc.!
Materials Needed: paper, markers, tissue paper, glue
Display or show the children pictures of trees in bloom.
Discuss the tree trunks--some are thin, some wide. Discuss the leaves--some are small, some large, many different colors.
Encourage the children to draw their own tree trunks on the paper.
They then crumple pieces of tissue paper into balls with their fingers and glue on their trees.
Materials Needed: Lots of leaves from outside, wreath shapes cut from cardboard (we have used paper plates in the past as well) and glue.
The children glue the leaves on the wreath. This activity is a great time to work on counting, one to one correspondence while counting, sorting (sort the leaves by color, shape, etc.).
Materials: Large pieces of brown paper, variety of colors of fingerpaint.
The children use their hand prints to make leaves all over their trees!
Add toy construction trucks, toy trees and animals to build a block area forest! Add some moss (from a craft store) for their diggers and backhoes to move around as they plant their trees!
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Arbor Day Theme!
Materials Needed: Chart paper, marker, a slice of a tree (ask around at garden centers on where to find one of these. If you can't find one, bring a wood block to circle time).
Ask children what they think trees are used for? What do they like about trees? There could be many answers such as: hanging a tire swing, climbing trees, used as birds' homes, squirrels live in them, paper is made from them, wood to build with is made from them.
List all of their answers on the chart.
Show them the tree ring round. Explain the rings...that trees grow more layers just as we grow new layers of skin! If you don't have one show them the wooden block. Explain that blocks are made from wood.
Way Up High
This is a favorite fall action poem, but appropriate for Arbor Day as well!
Way up high in the apple tree (reach both arms up to the ceiling)
Two little apples smiled down at me (make fists with both hands)
I shook that tree as hard as I could (pretend to shake the tree)
Down came the apples (make fists fall to the floor)
Yum! They were good! (Rub your stomach).
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Bring in snacks that look like trees for the children to try such as celery stalks, broccoli, cauliflower, a pineapple, etc.
EXTENSION: Have a taste test and list on chart paper which foods each child likes and which they don't!
Materials: Artificial Trees (see if parents can loan them to you), watering cans, gloves, overalls, stuffed animal birds, paper and markers for recording observations
Your dramatic play area is now a Tree Farm where the children can care for some trees!
Materials Needed: Branches that have fallen from trees that still have leaves (or pine needles!) still on them. Use these to paint with today!
Materials: paper and crayons with the paper removed
Show the children how to rub the crayons on the paper that you hold over the tree trunk. Observe the tree with the children: Are there leaves? What types of leaves (big, small, colorful)? What types of animals could live in this tree?
How wide is the tree? Measure with tape measures or with the children! How many children does it take to surround the tree?
Bring the trunk rubbings inside and discuss the trunk bark: discuss the color, texture, etc.
Tree to Tree Races
Have the children run from one tree to another and then gently touch it and say something about the tree (big leaves, no leaves, etc.)
Water The Tree
Materials: small paper cups, water
The children walk as fast as they can from one end of the play area to the tree and water the tree. They return to the starting point to get more water while the next child does the same!
Book Suggestions for the Library
Materials Needed: Different colors of construction paper, leaf stencils (or real leaves to trace), markers and scissors.
Have the children trace and cut leaves. They can print their names on the leaves or decorate them. Hang them around your classroom or on a classroom tree that you have taped to a wall!
Leaf Sorting and Matching
Materials: You can use either real leaves or purchase artifical leaves of different colors and sizes. If you use real leaves, you could laminate them so that you can use them from season to season or year to year!
Place all the leaves in a basket or bin. Provide bowls or plates for the children to sort the leaves by their different attributes.
You can also program some activities such as: Place a small, medium and large leaf on the fronts of different bins. The children then sort by that attribute.
Write the numbers you are working on with the children on the fronts of different bins. The children then place that number of leaves in each bin to work on counting and one to one correspondence.
Nature Yoga Thank you Jessica B. for this idea!
Teach your students yoga moves that are earth like. For example teach them the tree pose, rock pose, and I bet there a many more kid poses that they could learn that are about nature.
Pretend Tree Planting
Materials: Add artificial mini tress, dirt, leaves and forks to your sensory table. The forks can be used to dig holes and plant the trees as well as to rake up the leaves! Add some plastic animals that might live in or around the trees.
What Belongs To A Tree?
In advance, try to find the following items to place in your science center: leaves, twigs, pine cones, sticks, bark (that has fallen off a tree), birds nest, etc. Add magnifying glasses for the children to check out the finer details of these items.
Materials Needed: Leaves, paper, large crayons with paper peeled off.
Tape leaves on the table. The children use the sides of the crayons to rub back and forth all over the paper to "reveal" their leaves! We have also done this on the easel! Encourage the children to tell you a story about their leaves and attach the story to their pictures.