Who said Arbor Day activities were a bore? Obviously, they’re never seen our Arbor Day activities list before!
We think this is one of the most underrated holidays; you get to be outside, give back to the planet, get creative, and be around trees. Could you ask for more? These Arbor Day activities will have your leaves shaking with excitement!
But when is Arbor Day? Well, the simple answer is the last Friday in April every year. Although, in Nebraska (where Arbor Day was first celebrated!), it is celebrated on April 22, which is the founder of Arbor Day’s Birthday, J. Sterling Morton. It’s also Earth Day; how neat is that!
Arbor Day is also celebrated Internationally at different times of the year according to when planting trees is appropriate in particular climates and times of the year. But hey, you can observe Arbor Day and get into fun Arbor Day activities on the day, and you can set a date to plant a tree when the time is right for the environment you live in; the best of both worlds!
In this article, we’ll explore Arbor Day activities for all ages and sprinkle in some Arbor Day history while we’re at it.
In this article
What is Arbor Day and Why is it Celebrated?
We all know that this awesome day and its Arbor Day activities center around trees, but what is Arbor Day and why is it celebrated? Arbor Day is an international holiday that promotes the activity of planting trees to better our surroundings and the world while simultaneously advocating for conservation and keeping our planet green and clean.
Here are some fast facts about Arbor Day!
- Arbor Day was founded by J. Sterling Morton (Who went by Sterling)
- Sterling and his wife, Caroline, moved to Nebraska from Michigan and were stunned by the lack of trees, so they rolled up their sleeves and started planting their own
- The very 1st Arbor Day and its Arbor Day activities took place on April 10th, 1872, in Nebraska
- 1 million trees were planted on the 1st Arbor Day
- Arbor Day was officially set on Sterling’s Birthday on April 22nd but is widely celebrated on the last Friday of April
Learn more about Arbor Day and its history by watching this neat video presented by Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce! Say, you could even add this to your Arbor Day activities!
Arbor Day Activities for Elementary Students
You can never be too young to learn about the importance of trees and take part in fun Arbor Day activities! We have a range of engaging Arbor Day activities that are sure to get the kiddos excited about this important holiday, and please feel free to adjust the Arbor Day activities as you see fit for you and the kiddos in your life.
- Tree Sighting: Instead of going to the big city to see sights, go towards the forest, pond, and woods and see how many different trees you can spot! This can be a great opportunity to incorporate other Arbor Day activities listed below as well.
- Plant a Tree: Of course, this is an Arbor Day staple, but we couldn’t help but put it on the list of Arbor Day activities! This will depend on your region’s weather conditions and research on which trees grow best in your area, but at the very least, you and your kiddos can pick out a type of tree together and set a date to plant it!
- Tree Leaf Book: Are there leaves on the ground? Collect them up and make a tree leaf book! Later, you and your kiddo can look up and discover what each leaf is and write it down next to it! Or, if you’d rather leave the leaves in nature so they can decompose and go back into the Earth (Good on ya!), then follow the next Arbor Day activities.
- Crayon Leaf Book: When you and your kiddo find a leaf, gently place it underneath a blank sheet of paper, take a crayon, and color gently over it so the impression of the leaf remains on the page, and you can leave the leaf where it belongs. Perfect!
- Arbor Day Poetry & Songs: Tap into your musical side by utilizing the Arbor Day Foundation’s Poetry & Songs resources for free!
- Read/Watch The Lorax: We all remember our tree-loving buddy, the Lorax; he speaks for the trees! What an excellent book and movie to read and watch together to further ignite that flame for tree advocating.
- Drawing Trees: Who doesn’t love to doodle and draw, and drawing trees can be a breeze when you’re doing it together.
- Tree Gratitude List: Making a list of all the paper products we use on a daily basis and help instill a gratitude and understanding of why trees are so important!
- Local Arbor Day Activities: Check out what local Arbor Day activities are rocking and rolling near you and get involved!
- Arbor Day Play: Show your kiddos a video all about Arbor Day and then give them 30 minutes to an Hour to come up with a play based on Arbor Day and be their audience! They’ll have so much fun performing, and it’s a great way to help them learn about Arbor Day.
- Tree Naming: Do you have trees in your yard? Get outside and get to know your tree! It may sound silly, but it’s okay to loosen up and be a little goofy. Name your tree, find out what it likes to do the most, play pretend with your kiddo and enjoy the fresh air.
- Free Arbor Day Coloring Sheets: The Arbor Day Foundation provides free PDF print-ready Arbor Day Coloring sheets that you can do with your kiddos!
These Arbor Day activities for elementary students can also translate to Middle School and High School students, but let’s get some big kid Arbor Day activities going, shall we?
Arbor Day Activities for High School Students
Arbor Day activities can be deeper than drawing pictures of trees and watching The Lorax, although, come on, who doesn’t want to do those things?
We’ve got some Arbor Day ideas that are right up the teen alley; let’s dive in!
- Choose a Tree: Planting a tree is what Arbor Day is all about, so why not take it as a chance to look into trees together and have your teen pick out a tree to plant!
- Treetok: Instead of fighting against TikTok, you can use it as an engaging tool. It’s a platform your teen is most likely familiar with, and watching some TikTok videos together about Arbor Day can be a terrific bridge between the both of you.
- Volunteer Together: Volunteering can feel like a chore to a teen, but presented in the right way and doing it together, can show them how rewarding and fun the experience can be! Check out your local Arbor Day activities and see what volunteer opportunities there are!
- Write a Letter to a Tree: Did you know some cities have given trees ID numbers and email addresses? That’s right! You can check out and see if your city does the same, or if they don’t, you can still write a letter to your favorite tree and stretch that gratitude muscle.
- Count the Tree Products: Another way to get grateful for trees is to realize how much we need them not only for the good of the Earth but also for all the paper products we use. Ask your teen to go around the house (or school) and make a list of all the paper products and why we need trees!
- Get outside: Pick a trail and take a hike! What better place to see trees than in the woods itself? This is a great time to embrace quality time and admire the beautiful nature you’re surrounded by.
- Bob Ross Painting Session: Bob Ross looooved his happy little trees! Set up a painting session with your teen and follow along with the pro himself!
- Arbor Day TikTok or Reel: Challenge your teen to create an awesome TikTok or Reel sharing Arbor Day statistics and encouraging others to get involved
- Tree Climbing: Who said tree climbing is just for the little kids? Go exploring for some good trees to climb and share the appreciation that trees exist and do so much for us. Be careful of their branches and leaves, and while you’re up there, give it a big hug!
- Creative Writing: An incredible outlet is writing, and it even makes for fun Arbor Day activities! Create a unique writing prompt that involves trees and tap into your wordsmith creativity
- Tree Photo Shoot | Do it for the Gram: Your teen probably has Instagram, and one way to get them pumped about trees is involving capturing the memory with a photo! Go on a ‘Tree Hunt’ and take silly or sweet pictures with all the different types of trees you can find in your area. Later, they can make an Instagram post and share the Arbor Day love!
Arbor Day Activities for Adults & Seniors
Arbor Day activities are for all ages! This is why we also wanted to compile a list of Arbor Day activities for adults and seniors that were fun, relaxing, realistic, and educational for Arbor Day!
- Walk & Word Search: Take a nice stroll through nature and actively appreciate all the trees that surround you and what they do to better your life. And when you find a nice spot to stop, pull out a free nature-inspired word search booklet!
- Conservation Goals: There are New Year’s Resolutions, and now you can have Arbor Day goals! Make it a point to make some eco-friendly changes to your lifestyle and be a part of the healthy change for our Earth. You can start by exploring suggestions online or ask some pals
- Tree Podcast: Commuting on Arbor Day, or you’re just a fan of podcasts? Check out the fun and wholesome podcast all about trees, Completely Arbortrary
- Tree Planting Ceremony: Most cities have some sort of tree planting ceremony in honor of Arbor Day; it may not be on the day, depending on when the tree planting season is. Be a part of your city’s tree-planting ceremony, and perhaps plant a tree yourself!
- Peaceful Ambiance: Take a look at this incredible resource, Tree. fm, where you can be audibly transported to just about any forest in the world!
- Lend a Hand: Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back and to feel a part of something larger than yourself. Explore what your city’s Arbor Day activities are and sign up to lend your helping hand
- Plan an Arbor Day Event: Your city doesn’t have Arbor Day activities set up? Why not create your own event and get your family, friends, and neighbors involved!
- Family Tree Picture: Gather around the tree and take a picture together! Afterward, you can conduct your own research about tree conservation and Arbor Day and create a social media caption around that with your adorable family tree picture
- Trip to the Bookstore/Library: Go on a little book adventure and find a book about trees that you can dig your little bookworm nose into!
We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed looking through our list of fun and educational Arbor Day activities. This world needs a helping hand from us all, and what better way than to start a tradition of celebrating Arbor Day and engaging in Arbor Day activities with your family and community.
Let’s make Sterling and Caroline proud and plant some trees!