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I did this with my 3-year-old and we spent half the walk finding leaves for his dinosaurs to eat - you’d be amazed at how picky his dinos can be! - Hannah

Spend some time with a neighborhood tree and soon you'll be writing poetry!

You will learn about making scientific observations by looking closely at trees and describing what you see.

Making scientific observations is an important step in the scientific method. Good scientific observations use as many of the five senses as possible and are very detailed. Interestingly, good scientific observations also make good poetry.

Trees provide many benefits to a community, like improving air quality, filtering stormwater, reducing soil erosion, and even saving energy. One of the greatest things they contribute to our community is their beauty. Kahlil Gebran wrote, “Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.

In this activity, you will write a poem for a tree by slowing down, making observations, and appreciating the beauty that tree offers.

  • Paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • Clipboard or hard surface
  1. Find a comfy spot near a tree by your home to sit.
  2. Breathe deeply and close your eyes to bring your full awareness to the tree in front of you.
  3. Make detailed observations using as many of your senses as possible (probably everything except taste).
  4. Make a word list. Consider including nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
  5. Turn those words into a poem. 
  • For younger kids, write a sensory poem (a list of what they see, hear, feel, and smell) or an acrostic poem.
  • For older kids, write a sonnet, haiku, cinquain or blank verse poem. Check out the details of how to write different types of poetry here.

Straining to grow tall
To be seen among others
Every oak tree grows.


My Tree
Swish, swish.
I hear leaves rustling.
I feel smooth, hard bark.
I smell flowers all around.
I see branches swaying happily.
I feel calm.

Asking guiding questions helps your kids focus their observations. Pose questions like:

  • What do you smell?
  • How does sitting here make you feel?
  • What does this tree make you think about?
  • If this tree were a human, what do you think it would be feeling right now?
  • If you were a bug living on this tree, what would you be thinking?
  • Check out some of the world's most amazing trees here.
  • This video shows the animals that one tree saw in a single year.
  • Check out this amazing year-long time-lapse video of a forest.

We would love to see where this lesson led you! Share your photos and videos with us by tagging #natureinyourneighborhood and #keepomahabeautiful.

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