Take your children on a wildlife water safari this month!
By definition, animals that are not tame or domesticated are considered wildlife. A habitat is the place or “neighborhood” where an animal lives. A suitable neighborhood must have food, water, shelter, and space in order for an animal to survive there.
On your wildlife water safari, the children are going to explore water in a habitat. The animal’s habitat may be your local neighborhood, a large city, or a natural setting. Animals get their water in many ways. Some get their water from moisture in the food they eat. Others may use tiny drops of water under leaves or in pavement cracks. Large animals may use permanent water sources like ponds or fountains to get water.
Before you head out on your safari, you will need to pack for the trip. The children may want magnifiers, a flashlight to light up corners and cracks, and a camera. Give each child a clipboard, pencil and a field notebook (you can make these ahead of time with the children or just use a couple sheets of paper). Pack up your safari gear and take the children on a safari walk around the building, play yard, or neighborhood.
On the safari, look for wildlife or clues that wildlife has been in the area (nests, feathers, tracks, scat). When anyone sees a wild animal (or sign of one), have them draw it in their field notebook. If you have a camera, take a picture of the animal or clue.
Help the children look for water near each wildlife sighting (on or under leaves, in puddles, in sidewalk cracks, etc.) to try to find where the animal might get the water it needs to live. Encourage children to draw or write the animal’s water source next to the animal.
Back in the classroom, give the children the opportunity to describe their experiences and findings as fully as possible. Provide them with crayons to help further enhance their field notes.
For this and other activities, crafts and snack ideas use Growing Up WILD’s ‘Wildlife Water Safari’ on pages 56-57 of the guide. Check these out from Growing Up WILD:
- Copy Me pages that open as PDF
- Home Connections card that opens as PDF
- Show Me Wildlife – video of house sparrow and raccoon
- Are you looking to explore other habitat elements? Kindernature.org has a wide variety of activities, songs, games, and crafts about habitats and habitat components.
- Looking for a resource to find your local natural areas? Try mycountyparks.com or iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go
- Your county naturalist is a wealth of information and may lead the exploration! Find staff (likely a naturalist) from your local Iowa county conservation board or search this Word Document, Guide to Interpretive Services, compiled by the Iowa Association of Naturalists that includes camps, private nature centers, museums, and more!