The family tree
The family tree
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop

For many people, their happiest recollections are of times spent outside as children. I can recall a few of my own, especially the days spent in and around trees. As we observe National Arbour Week, 1-7 September, why not think about creating some special leafy memories with your children?

I was fortunate enough to grow up in an environment filled with trees. I climbed them, jammed planks between branches for a treehouse, swung on rope swings and down zip lines (or foefie slides as most of us know them). I cut supple branches for bows and straight twigs as arrows, and scraped my fingers raw while trying to get as high as I could, where the wind would rock me in amongst the rustling leaves.

The biggest tree was the ‘safe’ base you had to touch without the person guarding it seeing you. Some trees provided conkers for playground battles, others, fruit to be snacked on in between games. My friends and I gave names to some of them: I still remember the Donkey Tree- a weeping willow with a wide, almost horizontal branch which was as curved and easy to straddle as the back of the donkey that you’d have to pay to ride at the beach on summer holidays.

These days, when the weather plays along, you could find me in one of the local woods or forests, going for a shady stroll with my children, watching other families with their dogs and bicycles. We find interesting leaves to photograph, and sturdy branches to use as walking sticks.

I know of parents who have planted trees to celebrate the births of their children. I like that: The idea that these trees will probably still be there long after the people have gone; a living memorial.

Some parents even bury the placenta under a tree, and others lay their dead pets to rest in amongst the roots. Sometimes people even say in their wills that they want their ashes to be scattered in the forest or buried under a favourite tree. Trees are associated with life.

We’re aware of the importance of the environment, so what better way to enjoy National Arbour Week than by planting an indigenous tree. If you don’t have a garden you could give one as a present to a friend. You and your kids can have a great time planting a tree, talking about how long it will take to grow, and making a pact to measure it every year.

You never know- a tree you plant with your children could be something they’ll always remember.

Speaking of birth and growth, check out our great competition to celebrate the launch of new categories, including a baby category, on

Send us a photo of your kids enjoying the outdoors to and you could win a R250 voucher.


Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.


Want to know what your baby looks like and what you can expect at this stage?



Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.