Urban Forest Kids Activities and Resources
Urban Forest Kids (UFK) is designed for elementary school-aged children (8-10 yrs), living in the Halifax Regional Municipality, but the activities are not entirely age or location specific. Specifically, the program looks to target children who do not currently feel a connection to local nature, or nature at all.
The activities below are listed in the order in which they were designed to be completed. A week-long suggested activity schedule can be found here.
This is a great place to start!
In this activity, participants learn what makes an urban forest and play games to see how all the creatures living in it (including us!) are connected. Download the “What am I” Game here.
Name a Tree
In this activity, participants use their observational skills to name a tree and learn about the way scientists name living things.
In this activity, participants listen to a story about a tree which gives everything it has to a little boy, then reflect on the things trees give us. They will discuss and play games to answer the question “Why do we need trees in the city?”
In this activity, participants go on a walk, where each person gets a chance to lead the way. Participants make observations and collect leaves and other materials along their walk. Everyone gets a chance to be the Head Investigator, and stop the group to share something interesting or ask the leader a question.
In this activity, participants will listen to a story about a magical woman who cares for the seeds of all the trees. Participants will also learn about how trees grow from seeds to adults and look for examples of trees at different ages in their area.
In this activity, participants will use techniques from paper quilling to create their own 3-dimensional tree-cookies and learn about the basics of tree growth and recovery.
This activity should be completed after the “Tree Seeds” activity.
How Trees Grow
In this activity, participants will be given an opportunity for unstructured play and self-led discovery in a local, treed area.
Explore a Park
In this activity, participants choose a tree (on a campus, in a park, anywhere they can get to!) and learn something about it, then share their finding with the group.
In this activity, participants use technology to help them complete a scavenger hunt and learn some of the scientific names of local plants.
iNaturalist Scavenger Hunt
In this activity, participants will learn to use microscopes and explore the world of urban wildlife on a smaller scale.
Invisible Urban Wildlife: Part I
In this activity, participants convert their observations of urban microbiology into works of art and get a chance to share what they observed.
Invisible Urban Wildlife: Part II
In this activity, participants will listen to the story “The Wish Tree” by Kyo Maclear and work together to start their own wishing tree.
In this activity, participants will listen to a short legend about a tree, then either in groups or alone, will create their own legend and share it with the group.
In this activity, participants will collect leaves and use them to create decorative lamps.
In this activity, participants will listen to a story about a creature who speaks for the trees and what happens when people do not hear his message. Participants will also be given the chance to plant their own trees and leave a message with them.
*Could be modified by planting and taking home bean sprouts
In this activity, participants will learn how urban foresters record the size of a tree and how not all trees grow to the same width.
In this activity, participants will create some of the creatures that rely on urban trees, out of supplies from trees!
In this activity, participants are given the opportunity to rest beneath a tree and take time for contemplation and calm.
These short activities can be done outdoors with no fore-planning or material preparation. They are a great way to fill short blocks of time!