Opossum Pockets

Opossum Pockets

Pre-program

Ask children to take turns lying down next to a poster of an opossum. Compare tot to adult opossum. (Are you bigger or smaller?)

Story

Why Possum Has a Naked Tail (pg. 173) from Keepers of the Animals, by Michael Caduto and Joseph Bruchac

Let children touch the opossum fur.

Show and Tell

“Count the number of pockets you have. How many does the adult you came with have?”
What do you keep in your pockets? What do the adults keep in their pockets?
Some animals have pockets. Can you think of one? (Kangaroo, koala, and opossum-show stuffed animals or pictures)
What do we use our pockets for?
How does an opossum use its pocket?
Use an opossum mount or puppet as you talk about marsupials. Opossums can play dead when frightened. Show them how that looks by lying on your back, feet up in the air, with an opossum smile on your face. Stay still for a long time. Have the children try it. Play “Play’n ‘Possum” from Kid’s Wildlife Book. In this activity the children dance to music. When music stops, the children freeze or play dead. An adult can play the role of a fox. The fox tries to get the children to move or giggle.

Song: (Tune: Have You Ever Seen a Laddy?)

Have you ever seen a ‘possum, a ‘possum, a ‘possum?
Have you ever seen a ‘possum that has a pouch?
It’s for babies, it’s for babies
It’s for babies, it’s for babies
Have you ever seen a ‘possum, a ‘possum with a pouch

Parent/Child Activity

Tape tree branch cutouts with letters written on them to the walls around the room. Explain how opossum use their naked tail to hold onto branches. Give each child-parent team an opossum cutout with letters on them. Have them find the matching tree limb and hang up the opossum. Keep playing until all letters are gone.

To extend the game, have an adult take the opossums off their limbs as children find the match, keep distributing to other children. You can also use dots to count on the opossums with corresponding numbers on limbs to match.

Craft

  • Glue 13 red beans on mama opossum picture showing open pouch. Explain that opossums have 13 babies every time they have babies.
  • Make a pouch out of paper lunch bag and yarn. Fill it with 13 pink babies. For the babies use red beans or raisins or photocopies from Mother Opossum and Her Babies, Science and Math Activities for Young Children. Children can cut the picture of the babies apart if they are in strips, otherwise, ask adults to cut them out. The children can wear their pouch with babies in it.
  • Trace your “paw print” next to a photocopy of an opossum track. Compare them.

Snack

Serve pocket bread filled with a choice of stuff! Opossums eat about anything… they are omnivores!

Resources

Mother Opossum and Her Babies, Science and Math Activities for Young Children, University of California at Berkeley. ISBN 0-924886- 21-8

Kid’s Wildlife Book by Warner Shedd ISBN 0-913589-77-2

Activities provided by:

Polk County Conservation Board
Ginny Malcomson
Nature Tots is funded by Polk County Conservation Board, West Des Moines Park and Recreation, and the Des Moines Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.

Age:
_ 0-1
_ 1-2
_ 2-3
✓ 3-4
_ 4-5
_ 5-6

Category: Adult-Child

Time:
) ne ” )”]Time:
1 hour

Season:
any

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 9.1, 9.3, 9.4, 10.3, 11.1, 11.2, 12.1, 12.3, 13.1, 13.2, 14.3

Other Resources: