Header features a photo of someone holding a piece of paper up to a tree. A crayon has been rubbed on the paper so you can see the tree bark texture.

Try This: Make a Tree Print


Tree Prints

This #SMOatHome activity is perfect to help a young scientist make observations about the air-quality-improving, wildlife-harboring, beautiful parts of our landscape: trees!

Our early childhood education expert Candace tried it out for you and has the details:

First, gather a few supplies.

Here’s what you need:

  • Crayons — the larger the better, with wrappers removed
  • Thin, light-colored paper, like printer paper or newspaper
  • Trees, at least one

Let’s go!

1. Go outside to a tree or several trees. If you don’t have a tree in your yard, go on a nature walk around your neighborhood or to a nearby park. 

2. Hold a piece of paper against the tree so it wraps around it as much as possible. If your young scientist finds this part difficult, cut the paper to a smaller size or help them hold the paper in place.

3. With your other hand, rub the side of the crayon against the paper while it’s pressed up against the tree. You may find that going up and down with the crayon (instead of side to side) works best depending on the tree’s texture.

4. Once you get one texture print, or rubbing, from a tree, keep going! If you don’t have access to multiple trees, try different parts of the same tree.

5. After you have several, compare them, and ask your little scientists a few questions:

6. How are the prints similar? Did you see any patterns? How are the textures different? How do you think textured bark helps trees stay healthy and grow? Will you turn your prints into a work of art?


  • Photo of supplies including paper and crayons.
  • Photo of someone holding a piece of paper up to a tree.
  • Photo of someone holding paper up to a tree and rubbing a crown on it.
  • Photo of someone holding a piece of paper up to a tree. It has finished crayon rubbings on it.