This featured nature book for kids Maple Trees is a non-fiction picture book written for the Rookie Read-About Science series by Allan Fowler. Maple Trees is an engaging book with real pictures for kiddos ages 6 and up.
My Experience with Maple Trees
I have used this featured nature book for kids for a story hour. We started the story hour by telling the Native American legend of Maumee, a little mouse that was so hungry after a snowstorm he started to chew on trees, eventually finding the sweet Sugar Maple. We then read Maple Trees talking about the different things that maple trees give us including sap to make into syrup.
Maple Trees Crafts
After reading the stories we made two maple sap and syrup inspired crafts. The process craft we worked on for this story hour was a maple scented bath bomb (a special thanks to Frugal Coupon Living for this recipe!). Using epsom salt, citric acid, baking soda, cornstarch, imitation maple extract and water the children were able to take home a little chemistry that would smell amazing in their next bath.
The product craft that we made for this story hour was a sap bead bracelet. Using pipe cleaners and pony beads the children strung white beads for the water in sap and colored beads for the sugar in sap.
Maple Trees Outdoor Activities
After creating our fun maple inspired crafts we went outside to identify and tap a Sugar Maple tree. While in the woods we pointed out a few different kinds of trees that had sap but sap that wasn’t as sweet as the Sugar Maple; we saw trees such as the American Beech, Oaks and Hackberry. Once we found a Sugar Maple we talked about the bark as being gray and shaggy, the branches as being opposite (like their arms), and the buds being brown and in sets of three. We used a hand drill to drill about 2 inches through the outer bark and into the inner bark. Once we each took a turn drilling we hammered a spile into the hole (check your local hardware store for spiles and buckets or bags). Once the spile was in we hung our bucket and ventured out to the sugarhouse. We quickly talked about the evaporating process and ended by tasting real maple syrup.
Overall, this book was a fun way to introduce the children to maple sugaring! I loved the photographs as a realistic illustration. The unfortunate part of this book is that it is out of print and is a challenge to find. If you are looking for some alternatives to read check out At Grandpa’s Sugarbush by Margaret Carney and Janet Wilson which is a nice story about the process of sugaring in the context of a small family tradition. Maple Moon by Connie Brummel Crook is a Native American tale that blends different components of legends in an effort to explain how people may have discovered the sweetness of maple sap. Sugar Snow by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a Little House Picture Book that shows some alternative ways people can use maple syrup during this wonderful season. Take a look around and find your own amazing maple syrup book in an effort to share the magic of this special time of year with the kiddos you love!