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Looking for a simple and fun way to begin nature observation and journaling with your preschooler? Our family loves using a weather observation tree.
The concept is super simple! Each day we observe the weather and then in the afternoon we color in the day’s leaf based on the predominant weather pattern. This year we’ll be tracking the following weather conditions: sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy, stormy, and snowy. Over the course of the year we’ll soon have a very colorful tree on display! I’ve even seen some families who record multiple weather events each day, and create distinct patterns on each leaf. I think it looks amazing, and it’s definitely something I’d like to do when my children are a little older. This year we’ve opted to keep it pretty simple and have it mirror our new weather observation chart from the fabulous Etsy shop, From Jennifer.
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Lilly has chosen to keep her own personal weather tree at her desk. The front of the frame opens up, so she’s able to easily update the tree every day and then close it back when she’s finished.
We also have an oversized weather tree print hanging in our dining area. I took the file to a local copy/print center and requested an engineering print and upgraded the paper choice to cardstock. It only cost us $6 dollars, and now we have a pretty cool piece of artwork hanging on our otherwise pretty bare walls still! In the picture below, you can also see the girls’ new weather observation chart near the door and right outside on the deck there’s a jumbo thermometer hung low so they’re easily able to check the temperature and update the chart throughout the day if they desire.
Integral to our daughter’s ability to track and record her own weather observations on her tree is our linear calendar.
With the help of the calendar, Lilly is able to independently determine what the date is and then find the associated leaf on her tree.
A big part of our Montessori-inspired homeschool is preparing our home to facilitate independence in all areas, including learning activities such as this. At 4, she takes such pride in her ability to do things independently.
These very children reveal to us the most vital need of their development, saying : ‘Help me to do it alone!’” said Maria Montessori.
At the end of each month, we plan to create both a pie chart and a bar graph using the recorded data. It’s such a simple way to introduce scientific graphing as well as fraction-related work to preschool, kindergarten, and lower elementary students.
I’ve made our weather tree available free to download in the Resource Library. The file includes two separate trees to choose from: one with a blank legend where you can personalize it to suit your family’s needs, and the other already has the legend filled out for your convenience. I’ve also included a color-coded key that outlines which leaves belong to which month, just in case there’s any confusion.
What other weather-related activities do you do with your children? Please do share in the comments section below!