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 (habitat) must have food, water, shelter, and space in order for an animal to survive there.
Prep your children to go on a wildlife safari adventure! On this adventure, you and your students will be looking for wildlife and THEN explore the area nearby for water! 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 adventure. Brainstorm with your children on what would help them see animals or evidence of animals, notice water sources, and be good scientists! Help guide and narrow their choices to magnifies, flashlight (to light up corners and under objects), a camera, and their “scientist” journal. Prep their field notebooks ahead of time from the Growing Up WILD Copy Me pages for this activity, a clipboard or sturdy cardboard, and a pencil for each. 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 or at home, 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 activity ‘Wildlife Water Safari’. Check these out from Growing Up WILD:
- 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
Most children love to play in water, jump in puddles, pour it, blow bubbles, and more! Here are some favorite summer ideas for water play!
- Fill up a wheelbarrow – If you don’t have access to a pool, fill up a wheelbarrow with water in the backyard is enough!
- Ice excavation – Collect clean plastic containers and fill them with water, add a small object like a toy, a flower, or a leaf before placing in the freezer overnight. When the water is totally frozen, plop out the frozen chunk from the container and challenge your children to find a way to get the items out of the ice!
- Create a water wall! – Children love to pour water and watch the water move other objects! A water wall is an easy and fun project to create. Check out Happy Hooligans and Little Bins for Little Hands for ideas to get started.
- Sink or float – This old classic has endless variations. All you need is a bucket or tub of water and an assortment of objects to try out! Before you get started, talk with the children about what makes an item sink or float – more dense objects (not necessarily heavier, though) will sink. While the children may not totally understand the concept, then can still make predictions about if the object will sink or float.
- Make a mud kitchen – Where there is water, there will be mud! Designate an area for your mud kitchen and stock your kitchen a table or “counter” and old pots, pans, bowls, and kitchen utensils! Check out these ideas from “Play of the Wild.”