Reading and Learning About Forests and Trees With The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

I’ll blame two week in a row of summer camp for the fact that we didn’t get to the book I had picked out for our Poppins Book Nook this month. So…instead of sharing activities for that book alone, I’m going to tell you about the book I had chosen and some great resources for using it, and then I’m going to share with you some other great resources for reading about forests and trees.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s a very sweet story of a little boy and his friendship with a tree. As the two grow together, the tree finds a way to give to the boy at each stage of his life- even when the boy forgets his friend. And when the two are together again at the end of life- the boy an old man and the tree now a stump, it’s a touching moment.

This is the book I had picked for the theme of trees. It isn’t a new one for my kids, but it’s a favorite of theirs as well. Along with the book, here are the things we would have done (had it not been for this perpetual busyness!).

Activities for The Giving Tree

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The Giving Tree Activities

Create a chart comparing needs and wants. Throughout the story the tree is constantly giving to the boy. Some of the things he gives are needs and some are wants. Use the chart to talk about the difference between the two. Young children especially have a hard time understanding what they really need versus what they want.

Read “Wood You Believe: We Get So Much From Trees?“. This web page from the Idaho Forest Products Commission is a great explanation of all the many, many items we get from trees and forests. It will give you a great opportunity to discuss what the boy in book got from his tree.
Watch The Giving Tree movie. This is the original 1973 version narrated by Shel Silverstein.

If you want to take your expand your learning about trees and forests after reading The Giving Tree, you can use some of these other books and resources as well.

Other Forest and Tree Books

The Big Tree by Bruce Hiscock has information about the life cycle of a sugar maple tree as well as history thrown in because the tree begins during the Revolutionary War.
Tell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids by Gail Gibbons helps young kids (K-2) make their own tree identification book.
The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grownups by Gina Ingoglia has all kinds of information about trees.
Trees, Leaves and Bark (Take Along Guides) by Diane Burns would be a good book to take along on a hike to identify types of trees.

More Forest and Tree Activities

Usborne’s Forest Life to Color book would make a great color book with illustrations about forest life.
Temperate Forest Experiments is a book of 8 quick and simple science experiments that can get the older kids in on the action. Upper elementary, middle or high schoolers can carry out these forest based experiments.
This Season Tree Project is a really cute way to reinforce what trees look like through each season.
After reading some of the great tree identification books, how about making a neighborhood tree identification book?

Activities for The Giving Tree

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