Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree FIAR

“Mr. Willowby’s Christmas tree

Came by special delivery

Full and fresh and glistening green – 

The biggest tree he had ever seen.”

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree has to be one of my most favourite rows yet! The book is super colourful, the whole thing rhymes, and the story line is pretty hilarious! There is supposed to be a “sharing” element within the story, though what ends up happening is that each character tosses their part of the tree out, instead of actually GIVING it away. But it makes for some really good discussions :D

Here are the areas we tackled for our rows and the activities to go along with them. The printables were all free online, and there are loads of ideas if you just google them. We used some of the ideas from Real Trees 4Kids here.

Five in a Row Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree




Baking is a fun way to tackle both math and science! Learning how ingredients work together (or against each other), measuring and fractions. Perfect fit!


The kids made star cookies, then we stacked them into trees and shared them at the nursing home where our co-op group held a Christmas program.


We also had some fun with these Christmas pattern blocks.



This was my favourite part, and got us outdoors on an oddly warm December day to include some phys ed also.

First we learned about the life cycle of a tree, thanks to some great online information here (Just a note, there’s a bit of an evolutionary stance taken in this, so you might want to discuss with your kids).


We folded our green paper accordion style, then drew pictures and brief descriptions about each stage of the tree life cycle.


Next we got outdoors and explored our neighborhood to discover more about coniferous trees. We discussed beforehand what evergreen and coniferous trees are, and their differences from deciduous.

pine tree needles


We used the Arborday Tree Identification website to help us determine what kinds of evergreen trees we were looking at. I LOVE this site, it’s so good for looking super smart in front of your kids ;0) And, of course, getting them to examine the everyday a little closer, to find important details.

tree identification


It’s really so amazing to see all the different kinds of needles, cones, branches and trunks on each of the trees. We identified Jack Pine, Eastern White Pine, Black Spruce, Cedar, Balsam Fir, Colorado Blue Spruce and Norway Spruce.

coniferous trees


Pine trees have long, thin needles in groups of 2-5. Spruce trees have the shorter needles, placed individually, and instead of being rounded, are a diamond or squared shape if you pull them off the stem. The cones are all different between each kind as well, it’s really quite fascinating!


Books that rhyme always give us a fun time. We worked on finding the pairs of rhyming words, and JJ put together a summary of the story using some of them.

He also worked on finding as many adjectives throughout the book as he could.


We used some of the sheets from Homeschool Creations’ printable Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree pack, but I didn’t get any pics!


We used another fun tutorial from Hodgepodge Homeschool’s Christmas Chalk Pastel book.


We did the Christmas tree in snow and tree ornaments. I was so pleased with all the kids final pictures!

christmas pastel art

The kids also made cards for their Awana leaders, since we were coming up on the Christmas party.



My friend Stef at Educating Laytons has some more fun ideas for tree crafts. There’s a yarn tree ornament and hand-print trees (we made these last year for the grandparents!).

Finally, my attempt at some front porch pretties – I’m not much for arrangements, but this is what I came up with :D


If you want some extra fun, the Muppets did a version of Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree. It’s on youtube, the quality isn’t great, but the kids enjoyed watching it multiple times!

Next week we’ll be sharing one last row before Christmas! Come back then and see what it is :0)



Homegrown Learners