Sunday, 10 January 2016

Recycling Christmas Trees!

Christmas tree branches soaking up the mud!
A few years ago we had a very wet Autumn and with constant use, the grass area in the playground turned to mud, it wasn't fun to use anymore as the children kept slipping over and getting plastered in mud every time they wanted to use this part of the space. In a social media group I was in, someone mentioned recycling old Christmas trees as a good 'floor' for a muddy forest area and so I decided to try this too. 
A parent who worked at the local recycling centre arrived one day with a load of cut up Christmas trees for us to spread around the grass muddy area. It worked brilliantly, the mud was soaked up and there was a gorgeous smell as the children trampled the branches into the ground. We also had instant loose parts, as the children incorporated the branches, cones & sticks into their play. When the branches had lost their leaves we were left with a real forest feel to the area and now 3 years on, the children actually refer to it as the forest. Some days when the children are playing in there, it is hard to remember it is just a part of our playground and not an actual forest area!
As our old forest 'floor' had begun to break down I put out an appeal for any old Christmas trees earlier this week & got three, one was already chopped up, I cut up the second but the third was the largest one - given to us by the Parent Council - as it brought over late in the day I just left it in the fire circle area and planned to cut it up the next morning. 
The children however had other ideas - as soon as they saw it they wanted to climb into it & water it! I chopped the top off and some of the taller branches but left the rest of the tree intact for several of them to enjoy playing with all morning.
So much fun to be had 'riding' on a Christmas tree!
I had just cut off the top of the second tree and left it as a mini tree that the children could move about - it was funny to watch as it moved around the playground over the 4 days.
The chopped up branches were used to make soups, stews and juice!
The plan is to cut the big tree up a bit more and take the branches up to Bear Woods to create some loose parts for den building, the children asked if it could stay in the fire circle until we need to move it to light the fire so I may leave the bulk of the tree in the forest area for the children to play around. 
Icelandic fun with Christmas trees.
You might also enjoy this wonderful guest post that Unnur Henrys did over on Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School's blog on what the children in her Icelandic preschool got up to with their old Christmas trees.

I've linked this post up to Life Unexpected's Whatever the Weather Wednesday link - pop over to see lots more inspiring outdoor ideas.


  1. One family's garbages is an early childhood treasure. Looks like your Christmas trees had a wonderful second life.

  2. I will take a big, heaping bowl of pine needle stew. Thank you!

  3. What an amazing way to upcycle Christmas trees. I love their imagination and the things they've done with the trees. You can't beat a good dose of pine needle stew and that's so sweet that they wanted to water them straight away. What fab ideas! Thank you so much for linking your adventures to #whatevertheweather x

  4. What a great idea to reuse Christmas trees. The kids clearly love using it as loose parts and the forest floor idea is perfect. I really want to make a mud kitchen for the boys, it would be great for all the loose parts and using up old bits of things. Excellent ideas, the kids are clearly loving the natural materials to play with.
    Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather :) x

  5. Recycling programs are really beneficial for environment point of view; therefore we used to do various kinds of recycling process with various products such as; plastic bottles, waste papers, furniture and others products. But here we can get some good concept on recycling trees for Christmas and I am sure it helps to do better our next upcoming Christmas.

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