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Self-Guided Family Play and Exploration: Flowering Trees

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Course description

The springtime color of dogwood, magnolia, serviceberry, crabapple, cherry, and other trees is one of the most cherished gifts of the season. Take a closer look at flowering trees and skip from one tree to the next, like a pollinating insect, with these family activity ideas from our early childhood team!

A fringe tree is in bloom with white flowers.


In spring, we’re more accustomed to looking for color on the ground, where wildflowers are in full bloom. But trees are also putting on a colorful show at this time of year! Go for a walk in your neighborhood and look up for changes happening in the trees. How many different colors and shapes of tree flowers can you find?

A crabapple and a redbud tree are in bloom.


Collect fallen petals, twigs, and other natural loose parts that catch your eye during your neighborhood walk. Back inside, arrange and glue your collection on a piece of paper for a flowering trees-inspired artistic composition! Add a border to your art piece for an even more elegant look.

Art is made from using the branches, flower petals, and seeds of trees.


Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms, by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke. Available in print or electronically.
After a long winter, the forest animals are eager to enjoy the warmth of spring. Being the first one up from his winter slumber, Fletcher the Fox notices snowflakes falling from the sky! He warns his friends as they prepare to stay warm in their homes, but they wonder, will spring ever come?

The cover of the book, Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms has a fox and butterflies along with flowers.

Spring Blossoms, by Carole Gerber and illustrated by Leslie Evans. Available in print or electronically.
Two friends, joined by their dog, discover that trees, bare and plain in winter, are dressed up in red, pink, white, yellow, and green in spring. This is a beautifully illustrated book on flowering trees, told in lyrical rhymes.

The cover of the book, Spring Blossoms has a tree with spring blooms and a child on a swing.


Flowering trees depend on insects (mostly bees) to pollinate them, so that they can produce fruit and reproduce. Imagine that you are a bee attracted to trees’ colorful flowers. Create a pollinator wand by pulling a cotton ball apart slightly and sticking on the end of a stick. Rub it gently along the inside of a flower and see the pollen that a bee might collect!

This flower's seeds are similar to a white cotton ball.

For Older Siblings

Try your hand at nature journaling! Pick a flowering tree that you have easy access to, and record your thoughts and observations of the tree over several days or weeks. This will help you to slow down and notice details about seasonal events like flowering, leafing out, and fruiting that otherwise would escape you. Make sure to record the date, temperature, and weather conditions next to each of your observations. No training is needed to journal, but a great reference book with lovely illustrations to help you enjoy nature journaling is The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling.

Self-Guided Family Play and Exploration: Flowering Trees