Earth Day Forest Bath for Kids – Connecting to Nature and Trees

A marvelous idea for celebrating is to spend some time with trees, an Earth Day Forest Bath for kids and adults. Even if it means visiting a forest, a bath conveys the sense of being immersed in them, relaxing in the stillness and connecting our energy to the forest.

kids need more hiking timeIn Japan, Forest Bathing has been part of the national public health program for decades. It’s been proven to “lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.”

While this is for adults, children benefit too. The very young suffer from stress and anxiety. Childhood comes with attacks on the immune system as kids cope with all kinds of contagious challenges. Building a connection, a relationship to nature while they are young will support children for a lifetime.Finding a place with trees can be a challenge in urban areas. Parks are often the best option unless you can go to a wilderness area close by. Once you get to a place with trees, spend a minute or two with your child looking at them. Look down on the ground for pine cones. Then, look up. Do the trees go far up to the sky? Any spring blossoms?earth day activites for kids

Not all trees are the same. The leaves are different, but closer to the ground, the bark is too. Some trees have rough bark and some are smooth. Young kids won’t want to spend much time looking at trees, but feeling the bark is quite sensory. Trees with exposed roots can be a home for little creatures, real and imaginary ones. The branches and leaves may be sheltering a bird’s nest but nests are hard to see.

One of the most fun activities for kids is to climb a tree. Of course, this can be risky although it is magical, almost like being able to fly.

child climbing trees

In some areas, there may be tiny trees available for planting. Many commercial nurseries have specials on trees for Earth Day. This is wonderful day for connecting to nature. Will in include an Earth Day forest bath for kids and the rest of the family?


Kindergarten Readiness – Pine Branch In A Bottle


After Christmas, it’s a bit sad to take down the tree and usually, though it may have some learning that helps with kindergarten readiness, it can’t exactly be called fun. An early learning preschool blog that I love, along with thousands of other people, had a very interesting science/nature activity. Called Pine Needle Discovery Bottles, it seems like a wonderful way to keep a little bit of Christmas.

If you had a real tree this year, when it’s ready to be taken down and recycled, save a few small branches. Tuck one about the same length as the bottle in an empty bottle and then fill it almost to the top with water. Help your child shake in some sparkles. We chose white to look like real snow, but they looked much whiter in the package. A few drops of glycerin added to the water will slow down the flakes, but only use a little bit so the sparkles do not all lump together. (Found that out by experience!) Glue on the lid on or use wide, sticky tape.

winter-trees-in-snowThe bottle and water magnify the branch and needles so it is easy to see the shape. When tipped upside down and back up, the sparkles do swirl like a snow storm. Have your child feel and smell any needles that didn’t make it into the bottle. Talk about the color and shape of the needles. Why are they called needles? Any guesses about what part of the tree they could be? Do you like the smell of pine?

Many children find changes, even small ones, difficult to accept. Helping children cope with change will support their development. Making a discovery bottle with a bit of the Christmas tree is one way to lessen the impact and keep it for a while longer. It also serves as a bridge for what is happening seasonally. In many places, Christmas is over but there’s lots of winter still to come! Does the winter where you live have snow like the one in this bottle or picture?