Arbor Day, a national holiday on the last Friday in April, was originally proposed as a tree planting holiday in Nebraska in 1872 by journalist, J. Sterling Morton. In 1885, when Arbor Day was officially named a legal holiday, Nebraska City held a grand parade where students from several schools carried elaborate banners through the streets and each class planted a tree that they continued to care for long after the parade festivities ended. You can keep the spirit of Arbor Day alive in your classroom by celebrating with one of these activities!
- Have a Poster, Poetry or Tree Trivia contest – This suggestion comes straight from the good folks at The Arbor Day Foundation. What better prize for this contest than a tree?
- Bark Rubbings – We all did this at some point while we were kids. All you need is paper, crayons and the trees all around your school.
- Go on a Neighborhood Tree Walk – Stroll around your school’s grounds or walk nearby parks and neighborhoods observing all the different kinds of trees. Take along a field guide to help you identify them or take photos and come back to the classroom and use the internet to help you identify them.
- Read a Book About Trees – No time to leave the classroom today to go outside? Head over to the library and look for any one of the many wonderful books about trees. Here is a list of books to be on the lookout for.
- Count Tree Rings – Another one from The Arbor Day Foundation, this interactive lesson explains how to determine the age of a tree by counting its rings. After finishing the lesson, put your knowledge to good use by going outside to find tree rings to count!
- Have a Tree-Themed Snack – This is an easy one! Make trees out of raspberries, grapes and pretzels. Try pairing this with one of the books about trees mentioned in number 4.
- Make a tree sculpture – These beautiful little creations are the product of trees themselves! Made from brown paper bags and tissue papers, these would be lovely to display in your classroom.
If none of these ideas did it for you, here are 45 more suggestions! Happy Arbor Day!