Friday, August 28, 2009

The Nature Explorers Club- White Pine -Take Two!

After being given some suggestions from a friend, (Thanks Michelle!) I decided to make some little changes to the way I am going to present The Nature Explorers Club. To make it easier for others to follow along with me, I will write a post with all the information about the weeks topic along with possible activities.

Then ONE WEEK later, I will post what we as a family did along with pictures. I will add a link at the bottom of the post so that others can post what they did for the week as well. On that SAME DAY, I will post the information for the following week.

I will plan on having both posts up by Friday so that there is time for you to prepare for the next week. I hope this makes it easier for others to participate. I am very open to other suggestion for improvement if the need arises.

I have re-posted what we did last week with McLinky at the bottom to start the process.

Welcome to Week 1 of the Nature Explorers Club!

If you are wondering what the Nature Explorers Club is, please read this post.

I had planned on using squirrels as the first topic. But as I was preparing the different activities and trying them with my daughter, it became very apparent that this topic would be much better suited for later in the Fall. Since I was not entirely ready with the next topic and I didn't want to wait any longer, I am going to use the topic I did with my kids last week. I talked about it in my Tot School post, but it wasn't everything we did, so this week we explored....

The White Pine Tree
**If you do not have a white pine tree near you, you can use any other pine tree, and change the activities to fit your tree type. (For instance, if yours has two needles to a bundle, then do a collage with the number 2)**

The white pine tree is an evergreen. This means that it keeps its needles all year round, making it look green all the time. (Note for Adult: a needle is actually a leaf, it is just modified in its shape and appearance from what we would call the typical leaf. For the purposes of teaching young children, I just call them needles, but if you want to be botanically correct, you can call them needle-like leaves)
Picture Source:

Take a moment to feel the needles of a White Pine. You will notice they are soft. This is one thing that makes a White Pine special. Look closer at the needles and you will see that that are grouped together in bundles. The White Pine tree has five needles in each bundle. This is the only tree like this in the whole world. That makes this a very special tree.

Ask the children what else they notice about the tree, allowing them to touch, smell, and if you dare, even taste. (the needles are edible)

Here are a few things they may notice:
The trunk can be very sticky with sap
There is a very strong smell, especially if you break open a bunch of needles
There are pine cones. (Break one open, are there any seeds inside?)
The tree can be very big
There may be broken branches (White Pine trees are known to break very easily)


Collect different pieces of the white pine tree and you can make a number five collage to remember that there are five needles on the White pine

You can also let them make an open ended art project with pine pieces

Using crayons and paper, you can make bark rubbings

Other possibilities include:
*Making a bird feeder by covering a pine cone with peanut butter and bird seed
*Painting using a White Pine tassel as a paint brush
*Dramatic play by closing eyes with arms outstretched and swaying with the breeze just like the Pine Tree
*Lay under the pine (watch out for sap!) and take a moment to be quiet and listen, or take this moment just to quietly chat together about your day. Laying under a tree can be quite peaceful and quieting.


  1. An easy way to identify the White Pine...and remember it is that "white" has five letters in it, just like the bundles...oh the memories of teaching environ ed!

  2. I was going to say the same thing. 5 needles and 5 letters in WHITE.

    I am an artist and learned that from my art prof.