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Bark worse than their bite

Monstrous bark-rubbing creatures are coming to life! Make one from a Scottish tree and see for yourself.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Sticky tape
  • Glue sticks
  • Crayons or pencils
Native Scottish trees
PDF – 890.5KB

Before you begin

  • The person leading the activity could consider planning out a walk around some local woodland. Try to pick a place where there are trees from the ‘Native Scottish trees’ sheet. Make sure that everyone’s comfortable in woodland, and has appropriate clothing and footwear for the walk.

Run the activity

  1. When you’ve reached the woodland, everyone can walk around as one group and look for the trees listed on the ‘Native Scottish trees’ sheet. The person leading the activity checks that everyone has a copy of the sheet. The pictures on the sheet show the features of each tree that stands out most, so the group should focus on these when they are trying to find one in the wood.
  1. Everyone takes turns to do a bark-rubbing on a tree of their choice. Use tape to fix a sheet of paper to the trunk of the tree. Gently rub the end of a pencil or crayon over the paper, so that the pattern of the bark is left on the sheet. Some may wish to use different colours.
  2. The person leading the activity explains to the group that they’ll be using their bark-rubbings to create a bark monster. Each person can get creative and turn their bark-rubbing into a bark monster by imagining up a body shape, choosing features and deciding what their personalities will be like.
  1. Sit somewhere together and create the bark monsters. Choose whether to draw landscape (for long monsters) or portrait (for tall monsters). Use glue to stick on twigs and leaves. Make sure each bark monster has ears and a mouth.
  1. Anyone who finishes their bark monster drawing could draw some other items around it. Think about what your bark monster might like to eat or drink, where it might live or hide, and what it likes to do in its spare time.


The group have gone out into some woodland and identified some trees that are native to Scotland. Was anyone surprised at how different each tree from the list was? How many of those on the list were you able to find in your wood? Has anyone seen any of the trees anywhere else?

Everyone made bark-rubbings of the trees from the list and turned these into monsters. Which kind of bark made the best monster skin? Did you pick up any twigs or leaves to decorate your monster? Why was it important to make rubbings of the bark and not just take it, and only using the fallen twigs and leaves?


Hiking and walking

Follow the guidance for activities in Terrain Zero, or the guidance from the adventure page.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Gardening and nature

Everyone must wash their hands after the activity has finished. Wear gloves if needed. Explain how to safely use equipment and set clear boundaries so everyone knows what’s allowed.

Glue and solvents

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions which could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.