Those Nutty Squirrels!

Those Nutty Squirrels!

The Nature Friends program is for 4- or 5-year old children with an adult. The maximum group size is 20 child-adult teams. Programs are outside unless weather does not permit.

Pre-program Activity

Before the program, make a mystery box. Cut a hole in a box just large enough for people to put their hand through. A large bag also works well. Place a variety of seeds and nuts from trees inside. For example: acorns, walnut, and hickory nuts.

When participants arrive, ask them to feel inside the box. “Don’t peek.” When you meet as a group, ask someone to share what the objects in the mystery box felt like. When everyone has had a chance to describe what they felt, open the box, and show the contents.

Story

Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert
Squirrels by Brian Wildsmith

Discussion

  1. Squirrel comes from the Greek word for ‘shade tail.’
  2. Tails help the squirrel keep his balance in treetops, as an umbrella for shade in the rain or the sun, as a rudder when it leaps from tree to tree, and as a blanket to cover the squirrel’s underside and nose.
  3. Squirrels live in the hollow of trees in the fall and winter. Leaf nests are used in the summer.
  4. Squirrels find the nuts they bury by their sense of smell not by memory.
  5. Squirrels must continually gnaw on things to keep its teeth sharp and trim.
  6. Favorite food includes tree bark, buds, and seeds.
  7. Squirrels bury nuts individually in a hole two to three inches deep, seeds uneaten germinate and grow.

Activity

Go on a nut hunt and squirrel home search. Pretend to be a squirrel balancing on a log or jumping from tree to tree. Gather many different nuts like acorns, hickory nuts, or walnuts. Bring nut collection back to the gathering area and sort by kinds and sizes. (Children will be learning classification and manipulative skills)

Craft: Seed and Nut Squirrel Collage

Have children glue the nuts that they gathered to an outline of squirrel copied onto card stock. White school glue works well. Glue sticks will not work with heavy nuts like acorns and walnuts.

Feed the squirrels the left over nuts. We like to pile the nuts at the bottom of a tree with a squirrel nest in it.

Snack

Peanuts in the shell, pistachio, and mixed nuts, (put nuts in a cup to serve), drink

Song

Gray Squirrel
(‘fox squirrel’ can be substituted for ‘gray squirrel’ depending on species in your area)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, swish your bushy tail.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, swish your bushy tail.
Crinkle up your little nose.
Put a nut (cone) between your toes.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, swish your bushy tail.

I’m a Nut!
I’m a little acorn round,
Lying on the cold, cold ground. Everybody steps on me,
But someday I may be a tree.
I’m a nut! I’m a nut! I’m a nut!

Activities provided by:

Polk County Conservation Board
Lori Foresman-Kirpes
Nature Friends 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:
summer, fall

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 9.1, 9.4, 10.4, 11.1, 11.2, 12.1, 12.2, 12.6, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 14.3

Related Kindernature Resources: Other Resources: