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Story Time: The Giving Tree


Story Time: The Giving Tree - Crafts, activities, and free printables to go with the picture book

Earth Day is this Friday, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to do a Story Time on Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.  We are huge Silverstein fans in this house.  His poetry is one of the myriad ways I introduced the Littles to verse.  This particular book… It is the consummate environmental children’s book.  It is so lovely, the idea that a tree could love a boy so much she would give him everything.  When you think of all the things trees do for us–provide us with warmth, with our very homes, give us shade and fruit, even supply the very paper you might print my freebies out on–when you consider all that, you have to also remember that there isn’t an unlimited supply of trees on the planet and we should do our level best to replace what we use.

Why?  Well, I believe Silverstein would tell you trees have feelings, too.  And I would have to agree.

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree was published almost 10 years before even I was born, which makes it Old.  It also makes it one of the books I grew up reading that continues to be relevant and beautiful for my Littles and your littles.  Its message may even have more meaning today than when it was first published.  Books like that are few and far between.  So, yeah, Silverstein rocks.  Let’s do some awesome activities to make the lessons even more fun and meaningful.


This book, which happens chronologically throughout the boys’ life, provides a good chance to do some story sequencing.  So I made up a free download just for you and your littles to get some practice in.

the giving tree story sequencing

You can also have your little think about why the tree loves the boy so much.  A short essay explaining what makes the tree so generous is good writing practice.  You might even have your little tell the story from the boy’s point of view.  In the book, the boy comes across as a little selfish.  The tree is giving him everything she has, and he keeps coming back.  But he comes back because he loves and trusts the tree.  Maybe have your little think about that and tell the story to make the relationship seem more reciprocal.


Because it’s Earth Day this week, and we’re reminded of what we owe our planet, this would be a good time to include my unit study on Deforestation.

Free Learn About Deforestation printable for Story Time: The Giving Tree

This is also a good time to study the life cycle of a tree.  Here’s a free download that will help your little understand what a seed goes through to become a big, beautiful, fruit-bearing apple tree.

apple tree life cycle



Tissue Paper Apple Tree

We love this simple craft and tend to make something similar for nearly every season.

What you need:


  • 1 sheet brown construction paper
  • 1 sheet green construction paper
  • 1 sheet each red and green tissue paper (we considered using 2 shades of green but changed our minds)
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Glue


What you do:



  • Draw a tree trunk on the brown paper.  You don’t need a template for this; your trunk can be as simple or as fancy as you want it.  On the green paper, draw a cloud-shaped treetop.


  • Cut out your trunk and treetop.  Glue the treetop to the top of the trunk.


  • Cut your green tissue paper into small squares.


  • Crumble or twist up each square, then add a drop of glue to the bottom.


  • Stick the crumbled tissue paper on the treetop.  Continue until the entire top is covered.


  • Now cut your red tissue paper into small squares.


  • Using the same technique as before, glue ‘apples’ into your tree.


Cheap, easy peasy, and loads of fun for littles.


Almost Homemade Apple Turnovers

These are great treats for breakfast or snacks.  We like to take them camping with us because they can be prepared ahead of time and eaten on a boat, a hike, anywhere.

What you need:

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Separate puff pastry sheets
  • Cut each into 4 squares
  • Divide pie filling equally among squares
  • Fold pastry in half over filling, forming triangle shape
  • Press edges with a fork
  • Bake on a cookie sheet for 15-18 minutes until puffed and golden
  • While pastries are cooling, blend powdered sugar and water together
  • Spoon icing into a sandwich bag.
  • Cut corner from the bag and use like a decorating bag to drizzle icing over each pastry

Can you say amazing?  What’s really cool is you can use any ol’ pie filling you want, making turnovers in everybody’s favorite flavor.  Yeah yeah.  You can’t beat that.  Plus, it’s pretty cheap to make.

The Giving Tree is sure to give your littles enough of its magic for them to truly appreciate Earth Day.  But if you really want to celebrate, get outside and plant a tree.  Nothing says “I love you back” better.

Love wins,


Looking for more fun ideas?  Check out:

Story Time: The Snowy Day

Story Time: Yertle the Turtle

Story Time: Spoonbill Swamp

Story Time: Where the Wild Things Are

KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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  1. I am always looking for new arts and crafts to do with children, so this is a great help #whattoreadwednesday@_karendennis
    Karen, the next best thing to mummy recently posted…Riding for the disabled, take 2My Profile

  2. Oh I love this so much, your posts are the best. This might also be a good one for Earth Day or Arbor Day. Thanks for sharing at What to Read Wednesday!
    Mia White recently posted…What to Read Wednesday: Sneaky Math EditionMy Profile

  3. You can really never go wrong with The Giving Tree, can you? I’m so glad you shared this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…Booknificent Thursday Link Up Party #145My Profile

  4. Thank you for linking up at “A Little Bird Told Me” Wednesday link party! You have been featured on Mama’s Happy Hive blog. 🙂

  5. We have never read this book, but it sounds like a great topic for fun and learning. Love the ideas.
    Thanks for sharing with #LetKidsBeKids
    Let kids be kids recently posted…How to make hoppersMy Profile

  6. What an awesome unit on combining Poetry Month and Earth Day together! Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂
    Kelly @RaisingSamuels recently posted…Mother’s Day Giveaway! (Full Leaf Tea Company Review)My Profile

  7. Great post and excellent idea to use it for earth day lessons! We have a well worn copy of Where The Sidewalk Ends in our homeschool room too!

  8. Love it! We’ve been reading Silverstein’s poetry books all month during our weekly poetry tea times. While not technically a poetry book, this one needs to be an addition. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup
    Leslie recently posted…The Midwife’s Dilemma: Book Review & GIVEAWAY!My Profile

  9. I started tearing up just at the mention of The Giving Tree. I love that book (and everything Shel Silverstein). Your Earth Day ideas are fabulous. Shared on Twitter. #BrilliantBlogPosts
    Regina L. L. Wells recently posted…10 Easy Acts of Green for Earth Day and BeyondMy Profile

  10. My little guy is obsessed with this book lately. It’s amazing how it hasn’t lost any of its relevance or charm! Thanks for sharing at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      Oh, to the be the dude that wrote that book, huh? lol I am always in awe of authors who can write books that stay. That is definitely the stuff.

  11. You have loads of good ideas here! We love Shel Silverstein here too. The Giving Tree really does go well with Earth Day. Thanks for sharing this on #EverythingKids 🙂
    Heather recently posted…3 Simple Reading Games with Pattern Blocks {Free Printable}My Profile

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      Thanks, Heather! I really just couldn’t think of a better book for Earth Day. The Giving Tree rocks.

  12. This is so cute! We’ve always loved The Giving Tree. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
    Samantha recently posted…Family Joy Link Party 13My Profile

  13. I love units that revolve around books, and this is such a great book. I especially like the simple tree craft. We’ll definitely be doing that one. It’s not anything novel, but sometimes I need to be reminded of the oldie-but-goodie crafts that I know my son will love.

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      I agree 100%, Megan. Sometimes I don’t have to bother with novelty, not when a tried-and-true craft is so obviously fitting. 🙂

  14. Classic! What a great Earth Day activity for kids! Too sweet not to tweet!
    Tuned In Parents | Elle C. Mayberry recently posted…10 Time-Management Tips for Homeschooling FamiliesMy Profile

  15. I loved loved LOVED that book when I was little… I’ll have to go back and revisit it now that I’m an adult (well, not mentally). Bookmarking this craft for the kids I nanny!

    The Starving Inspired

  16. I have not read the book, but anything that encourages apple turnovers if great by me!

    If you like to do crafts related to books you should join my #monthlycraftingbookclub, each month we focus on a different book and do a craft or activity related to it. We are doing piggy in the puddle this month (but you would have to get me the link and picture asap as it goes live Monday) but next month we are doing the Princess and the Pony. You can participate in whichever months/books you choose.


  17. OMG we have this book! But haven’t read it yet!

    Great activity to go with it! Thanks for sharing

    swapna recently posted…How my 4 year old turned into an Environmentalist! (Practical Mondays #9)My Profile

  18. I love these ideas! It’ll be perfect for this week. Thanks for sharing.
    Veronica recently posted…The Father-Daughter DanceMy Profile

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