Learn More about Trees at Christmas Time

Decorated Christmas tree

Tree decorated with both home-made and purchased ornaments

In December, many people think about putting up a Christmas tree. It’s a great time for families to have fun learning more about trees.

Though we don’t often think about it, trees could not survive without animals and other living creatures. Some of those creatures are so tiny we can’t see them. Explore with the children what kinds of animals help trees to survive and thrive.

The Internet is a good source for such information. So are public or school libraries. Maybe there is a tree or soil expert or avid gardener in your community who could join the discussion.

When I spent a few minutes on the Internet, I discovered some things that might encourage lively discussions. For example, many animals help to spread the seeds of tree, and they help to nourish the soil in which trees grow. Some of them are rabbits, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, bees, birds, and earthworms.

Let the children come up with ideas about how animals and even fungi and algae could help trees to thrive. They could think about how trees return the favor by helping to make the lives of animals easier. Among other things, trees provide shade from the sun, a place to call home, and insect snacks.

The more imaginative the kids get, the more interesting your discussion could become. If they come up with ideas you know could not be right, praise them for their creative thinking. Suggest how they might research the idea more.

You can guide the kids’ discussion into talk of how much Christmas trees mean to them. Almost everyone has a memory they can share about Christmas trees. It could involve finding one, decorating one, or even watching the family cat jump into the branches and knock the tree down.

Afterwards, offer the children hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. You will help to create a wonderful Christmas memory they will never forget.

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