Triangle Trees

Triangle Trees


As the name ‘Triangle Trees’ implies, this class is all about those triangle-shaped trees: the evergreen. You and your child will sweep, paint, and play with pine boughs; experiment with pine cones; and learn about the triangle shape through various activities that will have you looking, smelling, touching, counting, and moving! This class, too, places a special emphasis on nature awareness—namely, the animals and objects found in the wintertime. We hope this class inspires you to further explore nature with your child at home. Set up a feeding station, go for an indoor woods-walk, or snuggle up with your child and a good nature book. Have fun and stay warm!

Activity: Lunch is Served

  • Set up a feeding station for the squirrels (sunflower seeds are a tasty treat)
  • For the birds, hang a scooped out oranges half-filled with peanut butter and birdseed.
  • Don’t forget fresh water! Add a dinner bell (otherwise known as a drip of water). It will call in all sorts of birds and is easy to make. Hang a milk carton and let it drip into the tray. Replace it when it freezes.

For our Toddling on the Wild Side Program, we set up a feeding station outside of a window. Place a cozy chair nearby and watch who comes to visit. Don’t tap on the window. That will scare them away! If no one is visiting, grab a book to pass the time.

Activity: Are You As Tall As…?

On a bard or large cardboard box (you can also mark on a wall with masking tape), mark the heights of various mammals. Ask your child to stand next to the board. Mark your tot’s height. Is your body the same as any of the animals marked on the board?
Raccoon: 26-38 inches
Red Fox: 35-45 inches
Deer: 55-85 inches
Cottontail Rabbit: 16-18 inches
Fox Squirrel: 19-21 inches
Opossum: 29-33 inches
Eastern Chipmunk: 10-12 inches

Activity: Follow the Leader

Follow the leader is always a fun game, but in the snow it holds new attractions. Ask your tot to follow your footsteps in the snow. Make sure you take small steps that they can manage. Stop and make a snow angel. Stop to dig in the snow… can you find the grass? Take a handful of snow and throw it up in the air. Catch some on your tongue. When you are done, turn around and let your tot lead you back to the starting point. Maybe on the way back you would like to try everything in fast motion, slow motion, or backwards.

Activity: A Walk in the Woods

Winter is a wonderful time for a walk in the woods. On days when you can’t get outside, you can still go for a ‘woods-walk.’ At home, hide pictures of animals or stuffed animals around the house. Hide a picture behind the curtain. Hide teddy under your child’s blanket. Ask your tot to go for a walk and find animals. If you want to go all out, make a life-sized flap book with cardboard or poster board. Cut the cardboard into large triangle tree shapes. Place pictures behind large flaps cut into the cardboard. Tape the cardboard to the walls creating a forest of trees. Ask your tot, “Who lives in the forest?” Explain that evergreen trees keep animals warm and dry in the winter. They are almost like animal apartment buildings. Ask your tot to look for the animals hiding in the trees.

Activity: Hunt for 3

Ask your tot to count the points on a triangle. Name the shape for your tot if they don’t know it. Can you find any triangles on signs or posters on the walls? Can you find 3 lights in the room, 3 rugs, 3 pencils, the number ‘3’ on signs? How many steps are there? How many doorways? Count, count, count.

Activity: Pinecone Fun

Go on a walk and pick up pinecones. If you don’t have evergreen trees nearby, purchase some pinecones at a local craft store. Sort the pinecones into piles of small, big, long, short, etc. Experiment with the pinecones. Can you build a tower with them? What happens when a pinecone gets wet?

Place a pinecone in a bowl of water. Check it often to see what happens.

Activity: What a Good Little Helper!

Many small children love to help sweep the floor. Once you have your kitchen all clean, try sweeping outside. Snow is great to sweep with a child-sized broom because you can see the marks that the bristles leave behind. If you have an evergreen tree, use the boughs for a broom. Wire several together on a stick to make a sturdy outside broom. Sticks, old flower stems and long grasses also work well for brooms.

Activity: Wood Block Building with Cedar, Pine, or Spruce Blocks

By 15 months old, your child may be able to stack 2 blocks by themselves. After that, stand back and watch your little engineer build! Show your tot how to make a tower. Then knock it down. Even if your tot is not able to build yet, they can always help knock it over! Don’t forget to smell the blocks. Cedar blocks are often used to keep moths from eating holes in clothes. It has a wonderful smell as does pine and spruce blocks. Rub a piece of sandpaper along the edge to release a stronger scent.

Activity: Paint with Pinecones and Boughs

Paint a winter scene on dark construction paper using pinecones or evergreen boughs as paintbrushes. Use a variety of things for paint. For ‘snow’ use white paint, plain yogurt or ivory snowflakes mixed with water. For a Jack Frost ice crystal pattern, use Epsom salts in water as paint.

Activity: Snow Scenes

Provide chalk, glue and paper triangle, square, and circle shapes. Show your tot that chalk can also be used on dark construction paper as well as a chalkboard. Draw snow on a dark winter night. Add triangles and squares for trees.

Activity: Playdough Fun

Using the cookie cutters, cut shapes out of the playdough. Create scenes with the shapes. For example, a triangle on top of a square can be a house, a circle on top of a rectangle is a tree, a triangle on top of a rectangle is an evergreen. Can you make a mouse or an owl from these shapes?

Activity: Ivory Snow Painting

Beat Ivory Snow flakes and warm water. Using a paint brush, spread the ‘snow’ on natural objects such as sticks, leaves, rocks, bark, etc. Let pieces dry on trays.

Activity: Winter-time Rattles

Create a musical instrument using an empty Pringle container with lid. First, go for a winter walk with your child. Take a bag to collect the objects that you find (pebbles, pinecones, dried leaves, acorns, walnut shells, etc.) Try to gather several of each item. At home, sort the objects by kind (pinecones in one pile, rocks in another, etc.) Add like items (all acorns for example) to your Pringle container. Press on the lid. Shake! Try another group of items. Shake. Does it sound different? Pour all items in the Pringle container and shake, shake, shake! Put on some lively music. With our child, dance and shake your rattle to the music.

Activity: Snow Pal Puppets

Adult: Cut snow pal shapes out of small white index cards. Cut two finger holes at the bottom of each shape. Show your child how to make legs for their puppets by sticking two fingers through the holes. Recite the following poem with your child and have him/her act out the movements with their puppet. Repeat the poem, letting your child name other movements for their snow pal puppet to act out.

Snow pal, Snow pal
Running down the street,
Watch what it does
With its snow pal feet

Dance Around the Snow Pal (use with snow pal finger puppets)
Sung to: The Mulberry Bush
This is the way
We dance around,
Dance around, dance around
This is the way
We dance around
Our snow pal in the morning

This is the way
We skip around,
Skip around, skip around
This is the way
We skip around
Our snow pal in the morning.

This is the way
We twirl around,
Twirl around, twirl around,
This is the way
We twirl around
Our snow pal in the morning

Activity: Flannel Board Story

Flannel Boards can be easily made by gluing felt to a piece of cardboard. A small shallow box with a lid is a nice portable toy for trips in the car or when a quiet activity is necessary. Felt shapes are available already cut out or they are easily made by drawing with a marker on old dryer sheets or pieces of felt. Velcro can be placed on the back of the pictures as well. Provide simple triangles, circles and squares for building trees and houses. Add felt pinecones, birds, berries, snowflakes, etc. for a winter scene. Create a flannel board to go with your tot’s favorite stories. Let her play with the flannel as you read. Soon, she will be creating a story on the board without the story being read.

Activity: Sensory Box

Fill a large container with cedar shavings or small landscaping pine bark. Use cups, containers, and spoons, to fill and dump just like you would in a sandbox. Can you feel around and find the hidden items? Make sure to notice the smell of the contents of the box.

Activity: Mail Time

At home, for a simple sorting activity, cut several different shapes out of paper. Gather several shoe boxes. Assign each box a shape by gluing a shape to the side of a shoe box. Ask your tot to sort the shapes into the correct box.

Our Toddling on the Wild Side activity is a bit more elaborate. Ask your tot to be a letter carrier. The postcards provided have the address on it as to where it belongs. For instance, Clara Moon lives at 1 Crescent Drive. The crescent moon shape is on the postcard and needs to be matched to the mailbox. When you find the correct mailbox, slide the postcard through the slot.


Create a winter scene for your tot to eat. Spread cream cheese, white frosting, or marshmallow cream on a graham cracker. Place triangle crackers upright into the cream cheese for trees. Add bear shaped crackers so the bear can take a walk in the woods.

Will You Read To Me?

Take time to enjoy a story.
Winter Trees by Carole Gerber and Leslie Evans

Activities provided by:

E Resources Group
2550 Stagecoach Road
Webster City, Iowa 50595-7375
Toddling on the Wild Side was supported by the REAP-CEP grant program.

_ 0-1
✓ 1-2
✓ 2-3
_ 3-4
_ 4-5
_ 5-6

Category: Adult-Child

30 minutes


Iowa Early Learning Standards:
1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 3.3, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 6.1, .2, 6.3, 7.3

Related Kindernature Resources: Other Resources: