From Children, Nature and You:

From Alliance for Childhood:

  • Time for Play, Every Day: It’s Fun — and Fundamental (PDF): play_fact_sheet


  • Learning that trees have a language all their own.
  • Learning that trees can be our friends, and can help us when we are sad.

This is a true story inspired by a three-year-old student I had in my Outdoor Preschool who was sad a LOT! I have seen this same thing happen many times since.

Recently, after telling this story to some three-and-a-half and four-year-old students, I thought each was going to find their own tree. When I turned around, all of them were hugging and snuggling up against a single tree. Since that time they have found trees wherever we are, and have gone to them when they feel the need. Hugging trees really works.

Playing with the story:

  • Adults: Demonstrate for the children playfulness and love for the trees.
  • Children: Find a tree in your yard and play with it. Look at it, smell it, touch it, listen to it. Bring it gifts.
  • Take a nature walk and discover what trees you want to be around. Go and hug them.
  • Have the children tell you a story about their favorite tree. Ask them how it got to be the way it is. Ask them its name and how it got that name. Write or record what the children tell you.

Choose one of the three photos below, or a plant you enjoy or wish to get to know better.

  • Take your time and really look at it with as much curiosity as you have for it.
  • Then, close your eyes and see the plant from as many angles and ways as you possibly can via your minds eye.
  • Then, open your eyes and see how many things you remembered and how many things you might not have.

plant photo

plant photo

plant photo

And, voilà! You have just played an old nature game of Developing a Deeper Relationship with a Plant Being.

This game can be played with your preschoolers and older children, anywhere and any time. You can even play this game at the dinner table!  

Truly, just invite the family to look at the dinner table with curiosity. Take in as many details as you can. Then, close your eyes and see how many things you all remember and with as much detail as you can. Open your eyes and see what everyone remembers!

Doing this develops deeper relationships with anything you are putting your attention to, empathy, expanded memory skills, curiosity for life, one’s surroundings and, well, you might even discover more benefits to this easy and fun game!!!

Plus, here is a link to a board game that will help you go deeper with your plant knowledge and the benefits of many familiar plants:

Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game

Wildcraft! is an Herbal Adventure Game by LearningHerbs