Friday, September 11, 2009

Nature Explorers Club - Oak Trees


Welcome to The Nature Explorers Club. I am a mom who loves nature and loves to share it with others. Using my experience as an Outdoor Education Instructor and the basic guidelines of the book "
Nature For the Very Young", I will be venturing out to explore the great outdoors every week with my kids. Every week I will share what we did, and every week you are welcome to join us. I will post the topic of the week, then one week later I will share what we did and give you a chance to share as well. So get your boots ready, because we're going exploring!

*Note: you are not required to have the book, "Nature For the Very Young" to participate.

This weeks topic is:
Picture courtesy of Wikkipedia
Oak Trees

The Oak tree is fairly widespread species of tree, with many different kinds being found all over the United States. If you do not have any Oak trees near you, you can easily use the following lesson with any tree, though I would suggest maple as being the best substitute. If you are not sure what an Oak tree looks like, Here is a short video that explains the characteristics of an oak tree

There are two main families of Oak trees. The Red Oak, with its pointed leaves,

Photo courtesy of Yahoo Directory

And the White Oak, with rounded leaves.
Picture courtesy of Wikkipedia

Find out which species of tree can be found in your area. You can use the web, a field guide, or if possible take a field trip to visit a local forester. You can try your city hall, the local agricultural extension office, or the yellow pages.

Once you have found yourself an oak tree, describe what you see. Most oaks are rather large with sprawling branches that seem to reach to all corners of the sky. Touch the bark, how does it feel. Try to wrap your arms around the tree, can you make it all the way around?

Picture courtesy of wikipedia

A tree is very similar to us. Take your arms, and stretch them as high as you can go. Now look at the tree, it also has "arms", these are called branches. They stretch high into the sky so that the leaves can get sunlight. Feel your skin. It is there to protect you body. It keeps harmful germs and disease from entering your body. The bark does the same thing for the tree. It protect it from insects and disease.

Stand up, straight and tall. Do you fall over? What keeps you from falling over? Your feet! Trees have feet also, but they look a little different. Way down underground, the tree has roots. The roots keep the tree from falling over. They also take water out of the soil for the tree to drink.
Picture courtesy of wikipedia

While Oak trees are beautiful, they have a very important job in the forest. They provide food for many animals. What do you think animals eat from the Oak tree? Acorns!! An acorn is actually the seed for a new oak tree, but many will never become trees because they will be eaten. But don't be sad, because many animals need the acorns to survive the winter, making the oak tree a very special tree. Find an acorn and crack it open to see what is inside.

Spend some time exploring and enjoying the surroundings.


*Role Play using the suggestions below,
"Lets pretend to be trees. Stand tall and strong, without moving your feet. Stretch your branches way up high. Now, there's a small wind coming, move your branches in teh wind. Now its getting stronger"...continue giving directions in this way.

* using paper and crayons, do some bark or leaf rubbings
* make a leaf collage by arranging leaves between two pieces of wax paper and then ironing them together
*collect two of several different leaves from the forest and play a matching game
* create a feely box using a shoe box or small box. Cut a hole in the top and take turns placing different items in the box and trying to guess what it is using our hands only.
*collect acorns and count how many you have. Use them as counters in math games
*use several acorns to form the letter O

Have a great week and don't forget to check back in one week to see what we did and to share as well.


  1. what great fun so glad i found this we will start joining in! do we have to start at the beginning or can we jump in!

  2. I have no idea if we have any oaks, so I may do another tree that has these strange nuts (or something) growing on them!