Identifying Trees – What’s Growing in Your Backyard?

Identifying Trees as an Afterschool Activity

Now that the trees have their leaves and the weather’s getting warmer, it’s time to get outside! One of our favorite outdoor learning activities is identifying trees around our house. For my kids, it can be quite a job, as we have woods as part of our back yard.

Identifying Trees as an Homeschool Activity

There are a number of resources you can use to help you identify the trees. You can get books from your library or online. Some to look for include:

Identifying Trees: An All-Season Guide to Eastern North America by Michael D. Williams

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest by Peter Alden and Dennis Paulson

The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown Ups by Gina Ingoglia

Trees, Leaves & Bark by Diane Burns

Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Field Guide Series) by C. Frank Brockman and Rebecca Marrilees

What Tree Is That?: A Guide to the More Common Trees Found in North America by the Arbor Day Foundation

One of my favorites, however, is the Fandex Family Field Guides: Trees by Steven Aronson. Each fandex card features an illustration of the tree’s leaf on the top with more information about the tree on the card. Published in 1998, the tree guide has been around for a while, and we first used it when my oldest child was small. Because of the detail in the leaf illustrations, he was able to determine what many of the trees were by himself.

Once you’ve finished with the trees around your home, visit a nearby park and see what kinds of trees are growing there. We live near a university that has a lot of trees we don’t have, including a weeping willow and a ginkgo tree. Keep a journal or a notebook of everything you find, and have fun!

Photo by cafemama

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