Monday, November 26, 2012

Discover Nature: Bark

When you spend time in the woods, you quickly become aware of all the subtle and obvious differences in the texture and colors of tree bark.  For little fingers, who seek these textures, exploring the different barks of tree can become a deeply fulfilling activity.

Material: None required, Tree ID book (optional), Journal and pencils (optional), magnifying glass (optional)

Find a place that has different types of trees.  This could be as simple as your backyard or nearby park, or a favorite place your family hikes.  Explain that you've noticed that different trees have different bark.  Ask your children what they notice and wonder about the bark of trees.  It's as simple as that.

There are many ways you can continue and enrich this activity: draw the types of bark, identify them using a book, take photos of them for later use, or ask children to find two of the same types of tree (you can even do this with your eyes closed).

Our discovery...

Since we have lots of trees out back (and lots of stumps and fallen logs) there was plenty to discover, and even some bark to peel off fallen trees and look at.  We got a bit sidetracked with looking for bugs under the bark and looking at all the moss on trees, but were very excited to notice that we could find the same tree type by their bark.  We also identified trees by their shape and size.  It was great to do this activity after the leaves dropped since it forced us to focus on the bark and not the leaves!


  1. This one can lead into a fun lesson on the uses of bark, too. We use birch bark for starting fires here, but we also know that the natives used to use it to make canoes, water carriers, and even pots (sort of). :) While I wouldn't want to make a big birch bark canoe, we can make tiny ones to float in the tub. :) We've also used bark like paper, for writing messages on.

  2. Great activity! Good idea to do it when the leaves have fallen off so you can focus on the bark. Looks like a lot of fun.

  3. We love doing this, the ID book and the magnifying glass always come with us. So much fun!

  4. We have a little patch of woods next to our house. This sounds like a great nature adventure!

    Thanks for linking up to Waldorf Wednesday. Hope to see you back this week!


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