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Outdoor Activities For Kids – Paint a Tree

Outdoor Activities For Kids – Paint a Tree
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We have a  small fig tree in a corner of our backyard which is perfect for all kinds of nature/role play. It is small enough for Big A to climb up and have fun up there.  Today’s action is on and around a tree. Aside from climbing up and down a tree, what else can we do? Paint it!

This is follow up to our post 10 Ways To Hangout On A Tree

It has been a whole five minutes since I heard the “Mooooooooooooom, can you come hereeeeeee” from Big A. The girls are in the backyard actually hanging out doing what they like to do best- tip over pots and look for roly-polies. All this  without any snatching, pushing or these days pinching (ouch!) This time the culprit is Baby A.

Big A:  Mom, I have to ask you something. (Yep, my five minute timer is up)

Mommy S: Sure baby.

Big A: I want to decorate a tree.

Mommy S : You have to wait until Christmas.

Big A: No, I want to decorate my fig tree.

Alright, today’s afternoon activity has been decided. Crayola washable paint, here we come.

I consulted a local nursery and confirmed that painting a tree with kids paint does not affect the tree in any negative way at all.

[box title=”Stuff” color=”#b11616″]

  1. Washable paint
  2. Foam brushes
  3. Tooth brushes
  4. Texture painting brushes


Like always, not a lot of supplies.

I couldn’t keep Baby A away from the paint, even before I set up the painting station under the tree.

The girls dived right into the paint with their foam brushes and started painting the trunk.

Big A observed that the tree trunk was kind of smooth and not as rough as the other trees we have explored on our walks.

We talked about bark.

Big A: Bark? Bark is like this “woof woof”, not a tree trunk (sing songy voice).

We talked a out how a same word can have more than one meaning.

( Pluto is her favorite funny word because Pluto can only be Mickey’s dog)

Science + language.
Neat huh?

I could have continued with the whole learning while playing deal but Big A got all sassy

Big A:  Mom, I want to paint. She was this close to rolling her eyes! At 3 years, it is cute.

Big A and Baby A started exploring colors, color mixing and texture painting. Once Big A was happy looking at her pretty colorful tree trunk she moved on to using her fingers for fine tuning. Dot painting happened. She started making dots and other patterns on the solid colors. Baby A followed her lead and did her own share of dot painting simultaneously developing her fine motor skills.

Baby A tried to stick the big leaves back to the tree trunk. She poured paint all over the leaf and tried sticking. It worked.For a while Smile

Once the tree trunk and a few branches were “prettified”, Big A squealed

Big A:  The tree is missing something very important.

Mommy S: What is it ?

Big A: I can’t give you all the answers. You try


Big A: Ok I’ll help you this time.

Nuh.. Nuh.. Nuh…

Mommy S: Nest?

Big A: Good job mommy! Here is a lollipop for you.

It was so ridiculously funny.

Since every tree needs a nest, we went in search of things to build a nest for our purple tree.

[box title=”Stuff We Gathered” color=”#b11616″]

  1. Old Easter basket
  2. Twigs
  3. Rose petals apparently because they are pretty and smell nice
  4. Leaves
  5. Pebbles so that the leaves don’t fly away.

Gathering process was fun for both the girls with Baby A constantly handing me leaves and twigs and  squealing “ Heee go” (here you go)

Grab the teaching moment about the order of the layers . Once the layering and eventual building of the nest was done, we decorated it with some pipe cleaners and placed one of Big A’s stuffed bird in the nest.

We could have made play doh eggs and talked about the life cycle of a bird. We didn’t because the girls were way too excited about the nest and tree that they were doing all the talking.

After that it was“show time” Big A dashed off to the tree to hang it from one of her favorite branches.

She climbed up the tree, hung it from one of the branches and actually stayed there for a while to make sure that an eagle doesn’t swoop by and eat the mama and baby birds. Good she knows her predators!

[box title=”Possibility” color=”#b11616″]

  1. Fine Motor with finger painting, painting with brushes.
  2. Gross Motor with climbing up the tree
  3. Color Mixing
  4. Science – Life cycle of a bird, kinds of trees, observe leaves and trunks  with a magnifying glass
  5. Pretend play- almost all activities enhance imagination.


[box title=”Reality” color=”#b11616″]

All that happened. If the girls were a little bit calmer and had their ears a little bit more open, we could have done more science. It was all about pretending to be some animal all the time.


Soon we are going to set up a rain forest up there with all her stuffed animals hanging from the tree.

Stay tuned!



  1. Love this! I was thinking of letting my son do this but was worried about the tree. So smart to call a nursery. Looks like they had lots of fun! Following you on twitter and found this thru tue tots:-) Jaime from FSPDT


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