Hundreds of ideas for fun, hands-on experiences for families and teachers to connect children ages 1–6 to nature, with a particular focus on trees. Through indoor and outdoor activities, children explore nature through their five senses, experience trees throughout the seasons, and connect with their community. Families and caregivers, childcare providers, and early childhood educators can easily use the activities and adapt them as necessary to meet each child’s unique needs, the different environments where they live, and the materials available. Trees & Me combines the fascination that young children have for trees with research-based findings about the lifelong benefits of early exposure to nature. Best yet, Trees & Me helps improve children’s emotional and physical well-being, enhances literacy, math, and critical thinking skills, promotes positive social behavior, and makes them more likely to care about their environment throughout their lives.
Project Learning Tree® (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program that advances environmental literacy, stewardship, and pathways to green careers using trees and forests as windows on the world. Our fun, hands-on activities, suitable for all ages and settings, can be easily used by educators, families, youth groups and community leaders to teach children about nature. We also offer high-quality professional development and multi-disciplinary supplemental curriculum correlated to academic standards for teachers to integrate teaching about the environment into their lessons and become comfortable teaching outdoors.
"Trees & Me is such an incredible resource for teachers AND families! Well done! I also like the "Leaf Through the Guide" video tutorial as well as the take-home pages for educators and families to explore on their own and at their own pace.”
– Joanne DeFilipp Alex, Education Director and Head Teacher, Primary Classroom (retired) at Stillwater Montessori School in Old Town, Maine
"In my role as a well-being coach for teachers, I love seeing so many options in the PLT Trees & Me guide that make it really easy to use, like the QR codes that grant access to songs for the Music and Movement activities. It’s also a wonderful resource for teachers who aren’t quite as comfortable yet with teaching outdoors or using nature for learning. Each activity includes specific suggestions with the "Take It Outside!" box, and there's enough information in the "Background for Adults" sections for answering the questions of "why?" that are basically guaranteed in a preschool environment!"
– Tia R. Prostko, Early Childhood Well-Being Coach at South Carolina Program for Infant/Toddler Care in Easley, South Carolina
"I absolutely love the new "Home Tweet Home" activity. It provides a great introduction to teaching young children about habitats in their own backyard or school yards. It’s so hands-on and open-ended. The Group Experiences and Free Exploration sections contain a plethora of learning tools for young children."
– Tarneshia D. Evans, Recreation Services Program Specialist at the Department of Parks & Recreation in Richmond, Virginia
"Trees & Me offers something for everyone and anyone who cares for the future of a young child. I love the real pictures and colorful overall design! The ease in navigation and quick identification of activities allows this resource to be implemented straightaway, no matter if you are an established environmental educator, resource professional, or loving parent."
– Linda Kinney, Education Specialist and Manager Playful Pedagogy at North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, North Carolina
"The Community Explorers activity presents a great opportunity to remind everyone that we NEED the natural world to be a part of our communities. Including the career connections of relevant community helpers, such as farmers, park rangers, foresters, and scientists, is an easy foray into the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” conversation. Kids are conditioned to want to be the types of “helpers” they hear about, and this is a perfect way to begin."
– Jessica Kratz, Coordinator at Greenbelt Nature Center, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation in Staten Island, New York