Monday, December 10, 2012

Discover Nature: Tree Rings

Using the rings to determine the age of a tree is a wonderful way to talk about growth and notice some of the things we take for granted every day.  It is fascinating to see how the rings change in size and specific shape.

Materials: tree stump, or any tree cut so you can see the rings. Optional: magnifying glass, journal, art supplies,etc

Start by noticing the trees around you.  How are they different?  How are they the same?  Which ones are older?  Talk about the ways you can tell (size, shape, etc)  Show your child a wood round.  What do you notice?  Point out the rings, and share how each ring represents a year of the tree's life.  Allow your child time to explore, count, and draw out the rings.  You can even color the different rings different colors.

If you are getting a Christmas tree this year, look at the rings on your tree and try to figure out the age of your tree.

Our discovery ...

We have so many cut logs and branches around our home, that this activity consumed the better part of an afternoon.  Once we discussed what the rings of a tree mean, we spent hours counting and tracing out the rings with our fingers.  It was fun trying to find small trees that are older than big trees based on their tree rings.  We also enjoyed looking at how the rings of some trees changed shape and were sometime crowded and sometimes well spaced. 


  1. Such a fun activity! We have so many cut logs out here that this would be easy to do with my nephew. Thanks for the idea :)

  2. Love this activity, thanks for sharing.


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