Materials required: sample tree cookies (can be obtained from the School of the Environment), crayons or markers, and paper.
Minimal preparation time.
This activity is appropriate for all ages.
At least 15-20 minutes is required for this activity.

    This activity is a great way to relate the way that trees grow to the way children do. Talk about how slow trees grow in comparison. Also, get the kids to talk about what we need to grow and what a tree needs. What happens if we don't get what we need? And what would happen to a tree?
    Show the kids the tree cookies. It works best if there are several smaller groups so that the kids can get a good look at them. Talk about the rings and have the kids figure out how old these particular trees are. Point out that some rings are wobbly, closer together, broken, etc..., and have them brainstorm on why this is.
    Next, pass out the paper and crayons or markers. Explain that you are going to make your own tree cookies, based on your lives! Have the kids figure out how many rings they should have based on how old they are, and talk about what the rings should look like. For example, if a child broke her arm when she was 7, her 7th ring should have a crook or break in it, and if her little sister was born when she was 4, the 4th and 5th rings should be really close together.
    Let them keep their tree representations, or keep them for a scrap book!