We've made some changes to the way we provide Nature Detectives activities for children.

Read our blog to find out more.

Our printable tree ID guides are a fantastic way to help children learn about trees.

Take them outside and use them in your garden, school grounds or local wood. They cover all four seasons so youngsters can discover how trees change throughout the year. Use them to identify leaves, winter twigs, spring blossom and autumn fruits.

They are also a hands-on way to connect children to our wonderful natural world.

Leaf ID

Our popular leaf ID tools feature common British trees and are a great way to introduce youngsters to leaves. There are many ways to use them and they can trigger all sorts of tree-related conversations:

  • Use the leaf ID sheet or iDial to identify leaves on trees and on the ground.
  • Have a competition to see who can find the most leaves on the sheet.
  • Look at leaf shapes and sizes and talk to your child about how they are different.
  • If you’re using these tools in autumn you can also talk about why leaves change colour.

Twig ID

In winter, when trees are bare, it can be tricky to tell them apart, but our twig ID sheet can help. It features pictures of twigs and their buds so you can match them up to the trees you find outdoors.

  • Talk about the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees.
  • Point out the buds on the twigs and explain what they are for.
  • Ask your child how they think the trees will change in spring.
  • Remember, some trees are thorny so watch out for sharp prickles.

Blossom and catkin ID

Many trees flower in spring. Some have masses of frothy blossom, others have furry catkins dangling from their branches. Our blossom ID sheet features common tree flowers and when to spot them. Take it outdoors and see what you can find.

  • Talk about how different trees bloom at different times.
  • Some flowers are scented – give them a sniff!
  • Chat about why blossom is important for bees and butterflies.
  • Explain tree flowers turn into fruits and seeds once they’ve been pollinated.

Fruit, nut and seed ID

In late summer and autumn you can recognise trees by their fruits, nuts and seed cases. Take our fruits and seeds ID sheet outdoors to see what you can discover.

  • Hunt through the hedgerows and underneath trees.
  • Tree seeds come in lots of shapes and sizes. Can you find berries, fruits, cones, nuts, and winged seeds (also known as ‘helicopter seeds’)?
  • Talk about why trees need seeds and how they are spread (seed dispersal).
  • Can you see seed dispersal in action? For example a field maple seed spinning on the breeze.
  • Chat about why fruits and seeds are important food for wildlife. Can you spot any birds nibbling berries or squirrels gathering nuts?

Credit: Michael Heffernan / WTML

Use your senses

Looking at a tree's features is a great way for children to develop their observation skills. But tree ID can be a real sensory experience too. Encourage youngsters to explore trees with their hands, nose and ears - they'll learn so much more. What do acorns and conkers feel like? What does bark smell like? Can they hear leaves rustling in the breeze?

Family exploring a wood together

Pass your love of trees onto your children

Discover amazing woods and wildlife when you become family members. We’ll also send you a handy tree ID guide so you can learn more together.

Join as a family