Create a Mini Forest

Last updated: May 15, 2020, at 2:38 p.m. PT

Originally published: May 15, 2020, at 2:26 p.m. PT

A homemade mini forest with rocks, moss, direct, trees, in a shoebox

Imagine your perfect patch of forest. What do you see? Bushy ferns, lots of little critters, mossy rocks, or the perfect climbing tree? Maybe you want to recreate a forest that you’ve seen before or create a bit of woods that’s totally unique! Bring your ideas to life by making your own mini forest. This activity is the perfect balance of exploration and creativity. Have some fun and let us know what you create!

Materials Needed

  • Variety of small natural items
  • Glue/tape
  • Cardboard box – like an old shoebox!

Phase 1 - Scavenger Hunt

Gather twigs, needles, leaves, cones and other natural objects that you can find in your neighborhood to include in your mini forest. Challenge yourself to find things to make up all layers of the forest ecosystem: the floor, herbaceous and flowery things, shrubbery, trees, and the canopy layer.

  • Floor - soil, duff (or dead, decomposing things like leaves, sticks, etc.), mushrooms, nurse logs
  • Herbaceous Layer: wildflowers, ferns, grass, weeds, ground covering plants
  • Shrub Layer: blackberry, stinging nettle, salmon berry
  • Small Trees: baby hemlocks, saplings, trees that will not grow to canopy level
  • Canopy/Large Trees: Sitka spruces, Western Red Cedars, Douglas Firs, Grand Fir, Big Leaf Maples. These trees grow the tallest and get the most sunlight

Phase 2: Build your Mini Forest

Get your creative brain flowing and bring your mini forest to life! Placing largest things first might be helpful, then adding in the soil, shrubs, and nurse logs last. Do your best to arrange things the way they might naturally appear. Don't forget to include things like moss and leaves on your soil.

Category: Camp Activity