Trees and Children
Research shows trees make happier, healthier children. Spending time in nature helps us grow as individuals - physically, intellectually, emotionally, mentally, and ethically.
The research presents the value of nature and the multitude of benefits associated with green time including enhanced learning, concentration, healing, relaxation and recovery, to name a few.
Benefits on children
- Tree shade helps reduce exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays, thus providing protection to children at schools and playgrounds -where children spend hours outdoors
- Trees provide fun play opportunities for children through activities like climbing, swinging or creating a tree house
- Children living in tree-lined streets have a lower risk of developing asthma and its symptoms 13
- Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms are relieved in children after spending prescribed amounts of time in green spaces - the greener the setting, the more the relief 14
- Girls with home views of nature score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline and score lower on tests of impulsivity 15
- Planting trees encourages environmental custodianship amongst children
- Kindergarten children playing in forest-type environments improved significantly in 8 out of 9 tasks on a physical fitness test whereas children playing in less natural outdoor play environments only improved in 3 out of 9 tasks 16
- In two Swedish nurseries with similar conditions and similar teaching staff, children with the green outdoor play settings reported less than half the number of sick days than the children at a city day care centre with no green play setting 17
National Tree Day,13 McKenney, A.S (2008) Medical News Today. Online First J Epidemiol Commun Health 2008. 14 Taylor, A.F., F.E. Huo and W.C. Sullivan. 2001. Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings. Environment and Behavior 33 (1): Pp 54-77. 15 Taylor, A.F., F.E. Huo and W.C. Sullivan. 2002. Views of Nature and Self Discipline Evidence from Inner City Children. Journal of Environmental Psychology 22: Pp 49 – 63.6 Fjortoft, I. (2001). The natural environment as a playground for children: The impact of outdoor play activities in preprimary school children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(2), Pp 111-117. 17 Grahn, P., Martensson, F., Lindblad, B., Nilsson, P., & Elkman, A. (1997). Ute pa Dagis (Outdoors at Daycare). Stad och Land (City and Country), P 145.
Nature play activities
Looking for some creative nature play ideas to do at home? Here’s some inspiration that will keep the kids busy, engaged and learning. Themes include water quality games, biodiversity, plants and animals.
Parents Pack - nature play(PDF, 5MB)
Pollinating project – seed bombs
A seed bomb is made using a few simple materials that can be sourced locally or even in your own backyard. Learn about the process of germination and pollination whilst getting your hands dirty!
Parents Pack - seed bombs(PDF, 3MB)
Find more resources
PlanetArk's National Tree Day has a variety of creative, engaging lesson plans to help teachers and parents enhance children's learning and understanding of trees.
Teacher Starter is hosting National Tree Day celebrations with activity sheets and lesson ideas to keep the kids having fun and learning about nature.
Planet Ark has activity sheets, colouring in and find-a-words suitable for multiple ages.
These videos are sources from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain.
How to build a cubby
Watch Tree Theatre for Kids