Barking up the Right Tree
Second Nature - Environmental Studies Pack (5-14) available from the RSPB; & Den of Airlie pack 'Meet a Tree', originally adapted from 'Sharing Nature with Children' by Joseph Cornell
- To use the sense of touch rather than sight to explore a tree
- To develop an interest in trees and a sense of stewardship for local woodlands
You will need
- Blind folds, one for each pair of children
Before the ActivityChoose an open area within an area of woodland and check that the area is safe for blindfolded children and their guides to move around in. Find an area that has different sizes and species of trees and a variety of different textures of bark.
The activityStart by leading the children to a number of large and medium sized trees and see how many children, holding hands, or just touching finger tips, are needed to span the girth of the tree. Ask the children to touch the bark and describe its feel and then tell them the name of the tree.
Ask the children to get into pairs and hand out a blindfold to each pair. Explain that they will be taking it in turns to 'meet a tree' . Each pair decides who will be the leader first and who will be blindfolded. Explain that the blindfolds, by taking away our sense of sight which is our strongest sense, will make us more aware of our other senses. The leaders guide their partners to a tree (taking care to avoid low branches and obstacles underfoot). They can guide each other with hands on shoulders or by holding an arm.
Ask the leaders to help their partners explore their tree by asking questions like:
''Can you put your arms right around it?''
''Put your face against the bark - does it have a smell?''
''Is there anything growing on the bark?''
''Does it feel bumpy, rough or smooth?''
When the blindfolded partner is happy that they know their tree, they are led back to the start point by a circular route to confuse their sense of direction. Once they have taken off the blindfold, they have to try and find their tree by remembering how it felt.
Suggested Follow up
- This activity can be folowed or preceded by the Tanner's Timeline story in the People, past and present section.
- See also the activity My Tree in the Woodland Ways section
- Science - main
- Health & Well being - linked