This weekend I got to spend some wonderful time with my little boy looking at trees. I love it when I get one-on-one time with my little ones and spending that time in nature is icing on the cake of life.
After spending the rainy morning inside doing all matter of crafts, games and reading we finally got our chance to get out. And we took it!
He loves trees and we headed straight up to the oak forest behind our house. We were looking at the bark and started talking about how we can tell the age of a tree. We have talked about counting rings before but not about how to tell the age of trees that are still alive. As we observed the different oaks we started talking more about the bark. He noticed that the big trees had rough bark. We took a closer look and saw that as the trees got bigger their bark changed too.
He said that one tree was like the Mama oak and the others were her babies. So taking this concept we broke it down even more…
A smaller oak is like a little kid oak, an oak bigger than that one is like the Mama oak, bigger still would be the Grandma oak and the biggest oak in the forest the Great Grandma oak. It made total sense to him and I loved that we made a "family tree."
Then he remembered that on another hike we had seen some really tiny oaks down the hillside on the other side of the meadow. Off he went in search of them.
He found pines families.
He found birch.
It was a beautiful time to spend with my little man observing the life around us. Life that was here before we were born and may just be here long after we are gone. What a gift to share this place with them.
This is a great time to observe trees. With many of them almost leafless it was neat to focus on their bark and structure. It was fun to see him stand tall at the base of those straight birch trees looking up, getting a true sense of their height.
With about 600 species of oak in the world we think we narrowed ours down to red oak with the help of our tree guide.
If you like to draw or have an older child around who would be interested in learning more about drawing trees the book How to Draw Trees by Henry C. Pitz is wonderful.
Once this crazy rain stops and the trees get a chance to dry out we are going to do some bark rubbings. We want to make a "Book of Bark" with our rubbings not just identifying the trees but also the families of trees with their changing bark.
What have you been out and about observing in nature this fall?