3 Tree Related Activities for Kids

Is it your kids summer holidays? Are they bored out of their mind? Or are they just spending all day on the iPad? Either way, it’s time to introduce them to the great outdoors. The number of activities you can do outside are limitless, but kids these days don’t know what to do when they’re told to play outside. It’s not their fault. They just haven’t been exposed to all the great things they can do.

Since we love trees, we’ve decided to give you 3 great tree-related activities for your kids to enjoy and appreciate.

Treehouses

Treehouses might sound cliché, but they are easily one of the best ideas. It’s great exercise for both kids and adults, and gives them a chance to bond. As a bonus, your children get a private place to go to in the garden. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated with individual rooms and windows, just a roof and a place to sit. If you’re skilled at woodwork, you can add in more details.

Build a scrapbook

My parents gave me this great idea one summer holiday. They bought me a scrapbook and told me to collect leaves from different trees in our garden and the park. I pasted the leaves in the scrapbook and using a book from the library, I identified all the types and wrote a few interesting facts about each under the pasted leaf. I learnt a lot, enjoyed that summer, and was out of my mother’s hair for the summer ;)

Arts and craft projects

Get your kid busy with DIY arts and craft projects using fallen bark and twigs from trees. There are so many great ideas on Pinterest and YouTube where you use bits of trees in an art project. You can create bowls, keychains, magnets, and other cool decorative pieces for your home.

5 Famous Trees in Pop Culture

You’ve seen lists for famous dogs and cats in Hollywood, ever wonder about trees? Pop culture is made up of anything that’s hot and trending, and more often than not, that usually means anything in popular film, books, and songs.

Here’s some famous trees that have swept pop culture:

1. The Whomping Willow

Who doesn’t know Harry Potter and the massive effect it had on reading books at a time when reading was apparently going down? Harry Potter and his friends had many adventures at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, but none as frightening than facing the whomping willow. The angry tree shredded anything that came its way, including Ron’s father’s flying car and his wand!

2. Groot

Guardian’s of the Galaxy didn’t fit the sterotypical image of superheros, yet it’s won many fans. And one of the heroes is none other than a tree itself. Meet Groot, who only says three words: “I am Groot.” He may be a tree, but nobody messes with him.

3. Grandmother Willow

We’ve all grown up on Disney movies, and one of my favourites was Pocahontas. The songs, the stunning landscapes and of course wise old Grandmother Willow was made this a classic. Her sound advice to “listen with your heart” became a mantra for many of us growing up.

4. The Tree of Voices in Avatar

One of the most mesmerizing scenes in science-fiction Avatar was how the Na’vi people connected with the Tree of Voices. And one of the most shocking scenes is when the humans just tear it down! We’re just hoping that it’s magically back up again in the sequel. *fingers crossed*

5. Treebeard

The talking tree that not only walks but encouraged by Merry and Pippin wages war on Saruman. The leader of an ancient race of creatures called Ents makes for some memorable scenes in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. 

Trees in Jewish Traditions

Trees have been given a key role in Jewish traditions and literature. Recognising its importance in the existence of life, trees have been both mentioned in holy texts and celebrated for its age and endurance.

 

Tu B’Shevat Jewish Trees Ketubah

 

Tu B’Shevat

The Jewish holiday Tu B’Shevat falls on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevatand is known as the beginning of the New Year for Trees. The occasion marks the age of trees for tithing. According to  Lev 19:23-25, during the first three years of a tree, it’s fruit is not be eaten; the fourth year’s fruit is for God. After the fourth year is complete, you are allowed to eat the fruit.

People celebrate the Tu B’Shevat  by eating fruits, with a higher preference for fruit from trees from Israel: olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates.

Holy references

The story of creation begins with the birth of trees. As mentioned in Genesis 1:11-12,

And God said: ‘Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth.’ And it was so

And the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind, and tree bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after its kind; and God saw that it was good.”

The Torah prohibits the destruction of trees, especially fruit trees, even in war. According to Deuteronomy 20:19-20,

When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?

However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.

 

All You Need to Know About the Wise Oak Tree in Culture and History

Oak trees have been on flags, stamps, documents, seals, and other symbolic objects. The wise oak tree has been a symbol of wisdom and knowledge inherent in its unshakeable strong trunk. The power to attract lightening has rendered it to be celebrated as a sign of power and strength. Oak trees have held a lot of significance in many cultures and societies for thousands of years, and they still continue to do so.

 

oak trees ketubah

King of the Forest

It’s ability to stand strong against nature’s storms has earned it many titles: King of the Forest, King of the Greenwood, and more famously the Mighty Oak. Perhaps for this reason, oak trees are the national tree for a large number of countries  including Serbia, Cyprus (Golden Oak), England, Estonia, France, Germany, Moldova, Romania, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Wales, Galicia, Bulgaria, and even the United States!

Oak Trees in Celtic Legends

In Celtic lore, ancient celts believed the impressive expanse and growth of the oak tree was a clear sign that it was honored for its endurance and “noble presence”. They actually used oak trees to denote a special status among the community – the Greeks and Romans also did this. The oak tree makes repeated appearances in Celtic cultures and folklore.

Worship of Oaks in Greek Mythology

Anybody who’s watched Disney’s Hercules or Clash of the Titans knows that Zeus was considered the King of Gods. In his oracle at Dodona, Zeus was revered in the oracular oak, and his voice would be heard in the rustling of oak leaves (usually interpreted by priests), the same way it was heard in thunder.

Some Pretty Old Oaks

Oak trees are known to live a very, very long time. Some pretty cool trees have stood the test of time:

  • The Bowthorpe Oak over a 1000 years old from Bourne, Lincolnshire was featured in the Guinness World Records.
  • The Crouch Oak  located in Addlestone, Surrey believed to have originated in the 11th Century, is an important symbol of its town. Legend says that Queen Elizabeth I had a picnic underneath it.
  • The Seven Sisters Oak is the largest certified southern live oak tree. It has a trunk with a diameter of 38 feet. It’s age? Just about 150o years old!
  • The Major Oak is located in Sherwood Forest, England. The same forest where legendary Robin Hood and his merry men lived.

Family Tree Ketubahs

Many, many years ago your great-great-great-grandparents were signing their ketubah, as you will some time soon. At the time it was just the two of them, but now decades later you’re a small part of a large family. It won’t be surprising if you don’t even know half your relatives, but the ones you do know are your support system. Whether you disagree or not, you can always count on them to be there for you.

Judaism places a lot of importance on family and maintaining close ties with your relatives. Ask any Jew about their most memorable Jewish traditions, and each occasion will involve family members. Passover Seders at your grandparents’ house, lighting Chanukah candles with your elders, or eating Shabbat and other Jewish meals at home all emphasise the significance of family in Jewish rituals.

Family trees all begin with the signing of a ketubah. For couples who want to pay homage to their family and ancestors, a blooming family tree is the perfect symbol. The same goes for people who want to dedicate their ketubah to future generations.

A family tree ketubah sounds like a Pinterest project, with pictures and embellishments. As fascinating as that sounds, it’s not sustainable. Ketubahs are meant to last forever, which is why you should consider a high-quality ketubah illustrated and painted by professional artists. You can further customise your ketubah by adding unique elements special to your family as adornments to the tree branches, like your grandfather’s favorite bird or the roses your mother likes to grow in her backyard.

Ketubahs are no longer a document you roll up and lock in a safety deposit box, but a work of art with unique meaning and significance etched into every word and stroke. Family tree ketubahs will always remind you and your children of the most important thing in life – family!