Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Outdoor Hour Summer Challenge #2: Summer Tree (Plus, some hiking & creeking!) July 1, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:45 pm


This post is really photo heavy…so be prepared. 😉 

The challenge for Week 2 of the Outdoor Hour challenge was about summer trees.  Since we live in a new subdivision and recently built our house, we don’t really have any trees to observe in our yard (just a couple of small ones we just planted, but I wanted to pick a tree that was established and that we had a good reason to believe it would still be alive during the next season…newly planted trees aren’t always quite so reliable!).  So, we chose a tree in the entrance to our subdivision to observe, and so the kids can see and compare multiple trees, we also went to the local nature preserve for some creeking and hiking (and let me tell you, hiking up the side of a large hill/mini-mountain overlooking a river alone with 3 young kids might have been one of my more insane moments…but what an awesome sight!)

So, the tree the kids observed is a relatively young tree.  It isn’t very full yet, but not having it super tall was good for my little ones to observe.




There weren’t any birds living in the tree, but we could hear a ton of birds in the surrounding fields!  The first thing we noticed about the tree is that there was a spider’s web formed between the trunk of the tree and the braces holding the tree up!

The second thing the kids observed was the bark.  It wasn’t perfectly smooth, but it also wasn’t super rough either. 

Looking at the leaves while still on the trees, the kids noticed that the leaves were green, there were no flowers, and there was no real smell from the trees.  Jedi hypothesized that the leaves would turn orange in the fall.

We picked a leaf off of the branch to observe it.  Jedi noticed that the leaf was very symmetrical.  Monkey noticed that the leave was shiny, green, and fairly thick.  We also noticed that while the edges weren’t smooth, they weren’t hugely jagged either.

The kids also observed a lot of trees at the nature preserve!  It was a beautiful day for hiking as well…high 70’s and breezy–not bad for summer in Ohio!

The first part of the nature preserve is a field of flowers.  We noticed a lot of bees, butterflies, and dragonflies close to the field.

A grasshopper…

Next, we walked to some evergreen trees and observed how the pine needles differ from deciduous leaves

Next to the tree line, we also found some various pieces of bark lying on the ground, so we compared the different textures.  We found some that was perfectly smooth, and some that was very rough. 

We then started hiking in the woods along the creek

We decided to walk in the creek at the point where the hiking trail crossed it.  We found some minnows, a lot of mosquitoes and bugs, and Jedi found a rock with some scat on it.

Then we started up the big hill to finish off our hike.  We were in the deep woods at this point and could hear a lot of birds, bugs, and some animals running between the trees.

(Tree roots on the ground)

A bee

Doing our nature journaling.  We drew pictures about what we saw, compared the various leaves we found, compared the different seeds we found, and then made rubbings of the leaves


2 Responses to “Outdoor Hour Summer Challenge #2: Summer Tree (Plus, some hiking & creeking!)”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    The photographs are gorgeous! I adore these outdoor hour challenges from Barbara and it is such a pleasure to share it with others!

  2. theattachedmama Says:

    I am LOVING these outdoor nature hour posts. I hope you keep posting them. Very pretty pictures.

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