The first step is to get your kid excited in the tree-planting process. This is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your son or daughter, but also to teach him or her about responsibility and the importance of caring for the environment.
If possible, begin by letting your child decide what type of tree to plant. Give him or her a few different options and explain to your child how each tree is different. Allowing your child to make the selection will make him or her more eager to be a part of the tree-planting process.
Once you’ve prepped and planned, it’s time to get to work. Kids usually like to get their hands a little dirty so they should thoroughly enjoy the tree-planting activity. Depending on your child’s age, you can allow your child to dig the hole with a colorful toy shovel or with actual gardening tools. Begin by digging a hole deep enough to cover the tree’s rootball and about twice as wide. Then have your child remove the rootball from the container and place the tree in the hole.
Remember to actively engage your child in the process and provide encouragement along the way.
Now comes the really fun part. Once the tree is in the ground, you will want to fill the hole with soil and pack it around the tree. Let your child know it’s ok to get dirty. Kids have a great time playing in the dirt and will probably be eager to help. Allow your child to let loose. After the soil is packed around the tree by hand, stand up and pat it down with your feet. Be silly and have some fun with it. Pack any remaining soil around the base of the tree to hold in moisture. Then, grab a hose and water the tree thoroughly. Let your child take a turn with the hose and maybe splash around a bit if it’s a hot day.
Once the hard work of planting the tree is over, allow your child to celebrate his or her accomplishment. There are a few ways you can reward your child for a job well done and encourage him or her to take part in caring for the tree in the future.
Name your tree
First, consider having your child name the tree. Giving the tree a name will personalize it for him or her. Explain to your child that, like a pet, a tree needs loving care and attention. Consider writing the tree’s name on a badge or ribbon and tying it to the tree. This will give your child ownership of the tree and serve as a reminder that the tree will need to be looked on a consistent schedule.
Remind your child that though the initial work is done, the process of caring for the tree is far from over. For instance, the tree will need to be watered on a weekly basis and every couple years or so, soil and nutrients should be added to the tree to ensure it remains healthy. You can even write down some reminders on the certificate so that your child will continue to be involved and invested in the tree’s caring and nurturing.
Don't forget to congratulate your child on planting the roots of a soon-to-be-thriving tree!