Boy next to tree
Image: Nicole Portner photography | ©


Using this ‘nature taster’ activity, children use their observation skills to understand the role of trees.

What to do

1. Choose a tree

Head into your backyard and choose a tree or group of trees to observe.

2. Record your observations

What animals do you notice in and around this tree?

Record any interactions between animals and the tree. Look closely for birds and insects on the branches, trunk and in the surrounding soil.


  • What reasons would the observed animals have for visiting or living on this tree?
  • What connections does this tree have with other (unseen) living and non-living things in the environment?
  • What else do you notice about this tree?
  • Would you notice different things around this tree at different times of day?
  • Would you notice different things on different days and over the coming weeks.
  • Would you notice different things about this tree at different times and over the coming weeks?

3. Revisit the tree

  • Revisit your chosen tree each week and see if there are any changes, eg leaves changing colour.
  • Take a photo on each visit and compare your findings as you collect them.

4. Add it to a journal

You can record your findings in a nature journal.

Get help identifying species

Get help from scientists and fellow nature observers to identify the plants and animals in your photos by uploading them to iNaturalist, Seek and/or NZ Bird Atlas.

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