It all started with one of our read-aloud books about a boy who leaves home to live in nature and makes a shelter in a hemlock tree. The more we read, the more we began to wonder about this type of tree. What does it look like? How big do they grow? Where do they grow? So began our investigation of conifer trees (don’t you love it when something sparks curiosity like that?!).
Much to my embarrassment, I soon realized that we have hemlocks right in our neighborhood. How could I not know that? I have always appreciated their swooping branches and mini cones. My children felt too that they wanted to become more familiar with the trees that surround us so we set off on a mission to identify the conifers of our neighborhood. We found that once you learn just a few characteristics, it becomes easy to distinguish pines, spruces, and fir trees.
Over at Playful Learning, I’ve shared some resources and tricks to help you easily distinguish between the different trees in the pine family. Download the flashcards to use as an easy guide for identifying pine, spruce, fir, and hemlock trees. Laminate them and they’ll be ready to travel with you on your outings.
Especially for you here at Green Acorns, I’ve created a guide that includes more in-depth information about conifers and the the various trees in the pine family. It also includes journal pages and “curious naturalist” questions. I hope it will prove to be a useful tool for you and your child when exploring the conifer trees of your area (note: it provides general characteristics as a general guide, not a comprehensive field guide).
You may also find inspiration for further investigation in these posts:
- Conifer Tree Study
- The Pine Cone Experiment
- Cool Pine Cone Science Experiments for Kids
- Pine Cone Experiment
- Make a Neighborhood Tree Guide