Sunday, December 5, 2010

tree cookies (or tree biscuits or tree disks)

Thanks to a cut down tree and the sawing expertise of my colleague's husband, we are now in possession of some new tree cookies (also known as tree biscuits or tree disks).

Tree cookies would have to be one of the most useful nature resources for a preschool (and they cost nothing!) 

They can be stacked:

They can be carted:

They can be stepping stones across a mud patch:

They can be painted:

They can be used to build and create:

They can be a seating circle for a tea party:

They can be perched on top of a stump to create a table or play surface:

They can be used indoors in the block corner:

Or to create scenes for imaginative play:

Over time tree cookies can crack and show signs of drying stresses, but they continue to be useful loose parts:

So spread the word around your preschool families:  the next time someone cuts down a tree put your order in for some tree cookies!


  1. now is the best time to obtain tree cookies here in the states! last year I went to every tree seller i could find (in nyc they set up christmas trees to sell practically on every corner) and asked for their bottom discs. Most couldnt wait to give them away, some wanted me to pay since they used them to create charlie brown trees or other items to sell...

  2. This is the perfect example of developing around some simple elements. Great post.
    And great activities. And blog :)

    I have my kids in Montessori system, but no matter the sys, eventually it all goes down to the person that does it everyday (thumbs up)

  3. We LOVE tree cookies too Jenny. Even at our "miniature playscapes workshops" we've been having fun with 50 cent sized tree cookies. Big, small, thick, thin, old, new ... tree cookies are irresistible indeed!
    Donna :) :)

  4. Nice post Jenny! I've been thinking a lot about loose parts, and tree cookies have been at the forefront of my mind, but I haven't known anyone who could cut these for me. And thanks to Regina, I have a good idea of where/how to get our hand on some of these.

  5. We made a set of alphabet tree cookies with matching flash cards and my daughter LOVES playing a matching game with them. I haven't been able to find any big ones like you have but we have been doing all kinds of creating with little ones around here! Love them.

  6. rachelle- also try your local dump- if they have mulching capabilities they sometimes will chainsaw a tree down for you- especially if you tell them what it's for!
    I've also had luck after big storms here asking the city workers who are cutting the trees anyway if i can take them.

  7. Abbie, we are the opposite. We have the big, but not the small. I'd love us to build a collection to play with indoors and use them in creative ways like you have.

    Regina - our dump (tip over here in Aus) is a good source. I also pick things up off the side of the road.

    Rachelle: Went to a talk by Rusty Keeler on the weekend and he suggested putting out a wish list for parents. You never know who will be cutting down a tree, or who has a landscaper as an uncle, or who has a grandfather willing to give his power tools a run.

  8. I love these- simple, but full of potential. I love all the inspiration on your blog for natural play spaces!