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Tiny tube trees

Build your love for the outdoors and get crafting to learn how trees change their leaves throughout the year.

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You’ll need

  • Cardboard tubes
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • A4 card
  • Masking tape
  • PVA glue
  • String
  • Wool
  • Tissue paper
  • Materials for printing, such as corks and popcorn
  • Trees in season sheet
Trees in season
PDF – 122.7KB

Before you begin

  • Ask everyone to collect cardboard tubes at home - you need enough for everyone to have one each.
  • You may want to collect fallen tree material (such as leaves) for people to add to their drawings.

Talk about trees

  1. Everyone should head outdoors - you could do this activity at the park, or as part of a camp or hike.
  2. Everyone should gather in an area with a variety of trees.
  3. The person leading the activity should help everyone think about the trees around them, including what they look like, what colours they are, and how they change with the seasons. They should ask some questions, so everyone can think on their own then share their ideas with the person next to them.

  4. The person leading the activity should make sure everyone understands what happens to (deciduous) trees in each season.
    We’ve included some pictures and words in the ‘Trees in season’ sheet, to help you explain.

Make a tree

  1. Everyone should split into groups of four people; an adult should join each group.
  2. Everyone should protect their clothes, for example, with an apron. They should take a cardboard tube and paint it to look like a tree trunk – they could use brown paint, with white and black highlights and details.
  3. Everyone should tape or glue their tree trunk onto a piece of card, leaving plenty of space to add the branches.
  4. The helper in each group should help everyone decide who’ll make each season – one person in each group should create each of the four seasons.
  5. Everyone should complete their tree, so it looks like the season they’re making. They should use a range of paints and materials to print, finger paint, or collage branches (and other things for their season, such as leaves, blossom, or flowers).

  6. Everyone should leave their pictures to dry.
  7. Once the pictures are dry, everyone should display them. People could stick all four pictures onto a larger sheet of paper, or tape string to the back of each to hang them up.


This activity was a chance for everyone to learn more about, and value, the outdoors. This activity showed how deciduous trees change with the seasons, constantly renewing themselves. Other plants and flowers can do this too. Does anyone have a favourite season? What do trees look like in that season? Everyone could make an effort to watch the trees as they chance with the seasons. Does anyone know why trees are important? They’re not just pretty to look at - they clean the air people breathe, and provide a home for animals and insects.


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

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.

Glue and solvents

Always 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 that could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.

Rubbish and recycling

All items should be clean and suitable for this activity.

You could talk more about different types of trees. The Woodland Trust has a ‘British trees’ app, which may be useful for identifying and finding out about specific trees.

Use brushes or pens to add more detail to the pictures once they’re dry. Think about detail on the bark, birds or insects, and leaves and twigs.

You could swap the cardboard tubes with brown handprints, for a personal touch.

Make it accessible

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Have a look for tree planting programmes - there are often many for young people to get involved with. You could even work towards your Community Impact Staged Activity Badge, or requirement two of the My World Challenge Award, by planting trees and looking after a patch of land. Why not see if there are any local nature clubs or conservation workers who’d like to come and help with this activity?