- Learn science concepts
- Develop critical-thinking, observational, and mapping skills
- Practice oral language skills
Colored tissue paper
7” x 10” tagboard
White and colored construction paper
Child safety scissors
Set Up and Prepare
In your library area, provide resources such as nature magazines, books, posters, and old animal calendars. Also display and have available lots of animal puppets, stuffed toys, animal replicas, and so forth. Let the children bring in favorite stuffed animals from home.
Step 1: Define the word habitat for children and write this definition on the board. Engage children in a discussion about all the places animals live and record their responses. Put all of the resource materials you have in the middle of a table or on the floor and invite children to sit in a circle around them. Begin a guessing game by asking questions of each picture or toy. “What kind of animal is that? What type of habitat do they live in? What do the plants and trees look like there? What kind of weather do you think they have?” Provide time for them to share, discuss, and explore all the resources.
Step 2: Ask children to choose an animal and describe what type of habitat the animal lives in. Once everyone has chosen their animals, put them in habitat groups. Study the habitat of each group more carefully, looking at the types of plants, flowers, and trees that grow there. What is the terrain like? Is it flat, sandy, mountainous, hilly, or covered with water?
Step 3: Pass out a piece of tagboard to each child, and make colored tissue paper available to everyone. Explain to children that they are going to get a chance to create a picture of the habitat their animal lives in, and that they will add their animal to the picture later. Show them how to create the habitat by tearing and overlapping the colored tissue paper.
Step 4: Give children a sheet of white construction paper and encourage them to draw and cut out the animal they chose. Remind them to think of the size of the habitat they made. How big should the animal be? Model the proper size for them, or demonstrate how they can use their own hand as a measuring guide.
Step 5: Ask children to glue their animal onto the habitat they created, and then glue their habitat pictures onto a larger piece of colored construction paper to use as a frame for their work. Make name cards of each habitat available. Children can copy the habitat’s name onto their finished work, or, if you have enough name cards made, they can find the appropriate habitat name and glue it onto their frame paper. Allow plenty of time for children to share their work with each other.
Remember: Children will need a lot of visual clues and time to talk about habitats. You’ll need to point out the details of each habitat. Remind children to put the glue on the object they are gluing and not the larger piece of work. This avoids a glue mess! Modeling this technique will help them remember.
Help children find out the length of the animal they chose. Are they smaller or larger than their animal? Using a yardstick, have them measure out the length of the animal. Then cut a piece of yarn that length and let the children use it to measure their feet or hands. Ask: How many hands (feet) tall is your animal?
Send a letter home informing parents about the unit you are working on. Ask them to talk with their children about these animals. Parents can create an animal puppet with their child and put on a short performance for other family members.
Animal Atlas by Claire Llewellyn
Over in the Meadow by Olive A. Wadsworth
Who Lives Here? by Maggie Silver