Awesome Outdoor Play Tree Puzzle

Kids love making puzzles in all shapes and sizes. And they also love outdoor play. You can easily combine the love of puzzles and outdoor play with this awesome nature puzzle STEAM activity.  

Tree puzzle kids outdoor activity

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Outdoor play can include everything from backyard games and a trip to the local playground, to seasonal hands-on activities like snowball games in winter, or a pine cone trail in summer.

Engaging kids in creative outdoor experiences helps build developmental skills while having fun in natural settings.

Our tree puzzle provides outdoor fun with STEAM along with fine motor and sensory play. 

STEAM = Science+technology+engineering+art+math

See how the principles of STEAM apply at the end of the post.

 cutting tree stump with saw to make tree puzzle


How to make a tree puzzle!

We found a tree stump in the backyard, left from a fallen spruce tree. It is roughly waist height and 5 inches (12 cm) in diameter. 

We cut three 2 inch (5 cm) sections from the tree stump. You don't need many sections (it's hard work cutting through the trunk!) to appeal to kids curiosity.


observing tree rings in outdoor tree puzzle activity for kids

This is a good time to explore the properties of the tree.

1. Look at the rings and trace them with a finger.

2. Peel off some bark.

3. Smell the fresh cut wood.

Use all your senses to explore the tree!

placing the tree puzzle pieces in order outdoor activity for kids

Once you have the puzzle pieces, place them on the tree stump in the original order.

Use characteristics of the tree stump to identify the order: the slant of the cut; the broken bark; the light and dark color of the wood.

tree stump with pieces cut for puzzle outdoor activity for kids


Kids love puzzles of all shapes and sizes.  They enjoy building piece by piece, and feel a sense of accomplishment when a puzzle is complete.

This tree puzzle is an awesome way to explore nature and have fun measuring, matching, and stacking!


Exciting resource for kids STEAM activities

STEAM KIDS 50+ activities for kids!

STEAM Kids 50+ Activities for Kids


Outdoor tree puzzle STEAM:

science = type of tree

technology = using a saw

engineering = choosing tree stump; planning placement and slant of cut

art = observing colors and textures of the wood

math = counting and measuring wood pieces; matching patterns


Puzzles are a great addition to early learning programs. They can be used for quiet times at home or transition times in preschool. They provide opportunities for one on one time with your child, or learning activities for younger kids while you homeschool older kids.

Kids love puzzles for the repetition and recognition that come with doing a puzzle over and ove, as well as for the fun of completing a picture or shape.

We love that puzzles are a great learning activity, building developmental skills such as critical thinking and creativity, and providing fine motor play.

The puzzles we make use recycled or household items so there is little or not cost, and items are readily available.


Here are some of the puzzles we've made using simple materials.

Paper plate pumpkin puzzle for kids

 Paper Plate Pumpkin Puzzle 


Puzzle pieces kids can make with small wood blocks

 Painted Wood Blocks Puzzle


 More puzzles kids can make

 Rainbow Craft Stick Puzzle / Powerful Mothering

 Cereal Box Puzzle  / Kids Activities Blog

 Homemade Name Puzzle / Happy Hooligans


Lots more fun on our Math and STEAM Pinterest boards!



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