Arbor Day is my new favorite holiday. Here’s why: It’s a chance to get outdoors, see my neighbors, get my kids involved in planting some trees and caring for our yard, and it’s a pre-party that greases the wheels for the block party. My husband told me that casting vision to my neighbors for an Arbor Day Party would be as easy as pitching an Encyclopedia party, but on the contrary- people were really excited! I was shocked when we had between 20-30 individuals & families participate by coming to the event and/or ordering 345(!!) trees!
Here’s all of what we did & my suggestions for making your Arbor Day party a success…
The event lasted a little over one hour & was held outside in our clubhouse parking lot. We encouraged neighbors to bring their coffee and walk up with their wagons. Thankfully, it was 70 degrees and gorgeous or we would’ve had to meet for most of the time inside the clubhouse. People came and mingled around the tables, saying hi to neighbors. The tables all started with the letter “S”:
1. Seedlings Table. We ordered seedlings through the Missouri Department of Conservation. They were only $6 for 10 trees and although our city offers free seedlings for Arbor Day, we wanted something super convenient and neighborhood-centered, where they could walk up to the clubhouse, get their trees, some fun snacks & kid-friendly stations. I admit it was a little complicated trying to order trees for people because they come in bundles of ten and not everyone wanted 10 trees- a lot of people just want a few and want to mix and match. But people were able to switch out with other neighbors and one neighbor who shares my love for trees (and actually works at a local nursery) ended up graciously taking over this part of the event for me, which was a HUGE help. She also got us several door prizes and picked out the large tree for our planting “ceremony” (see below). It really helps to have other neighbors who are in it with you and want to jump in as there are needs- I couldn’t have pulled all this off without her!
2. Sensory Table. One woman from our neighborhood who is really into gardening ran with this. She was amazing! She brought a snack-shaped dried gourds she painted & cut open… Kids got to play with worms, see inside a birdhouse gourd & count tree rings. They also got to taste and smell coffee beans & herbs (i.e.: chocolate mint, fennel, thyme, oregano, chives, sage, purple sage). And last but not least, they got to plant their choice of seeds (pumpkin, carrot, lettuce & watermelon) in some potting soil. They had a blast! Next year, I will bring somee magnifying glasses (I forgot them) with some twigs pulled open they could look at and maybe some succulents for them to feel. I also brought some leftover bug headbands I’d had from June’s Junebug party a couple years ago.
3. Share the Wealth Table. The idea was that people can bring any extras they have & would be willing to divide or share- bulbs, veggies, grasses, seeds… Not a ton of people brought things to share, but I’m hoping this could catch on in years to come.
4. Snack Table. Pinterest was so helpful. Another neighbor ran with this completely & did a fruit platter, bran muffins and dirt pudding in plastic cups with gummy worms (you could also use tiny terra cotta pots). There’s more you could do, too- like donut acorns, earth muffins, mud pie cookies… there are so many cute ideas!
5. Play Nature Bingo and do drawing from local nursery. Make sure you bring rocks to cover the spaces in case it’s windy.
6. Five minute Tree Education Time. We had a friend who is studying Plant Science & Horticulture share briefly on how awesome trees are and their many benefits- anyone could do this.
7. Tree Planting Ceremony for the kids. This was the best part! We got 6 kids shovels and a bunch of spades and gathered all the kids around to plant a gorgeous Shortleaf Pine on our neighborhood grounds. We had the hole already dug (highly recommend!) and the kids loved getting to plant the tree together!
Here are a few more pics from the day:
It was an awesome morning & I love that neighbors left and were all in their yards, planting their trees! Consider doing something for Arbor Day, even if it’s just you & a couple other friends or family members. The kids will love it and you will, too.
What sensory activities have you done related to Arbor Day? Or what’s a fun snack you’ve done that was fun!