Kids Nature Shows Teachers Guide to the “Animals in Fall & Winter” Show
Animals in Fall & Winter Show Description: How do animals in our neighborhood survive when it gets cold? Find out how in this show that introduces young audiences to the concepts of hibernation, migration, and other natural science topics related to the seasons of Fall and Winter.
Animal Puppets You Might Meet:
Annie the Squirrel
Chippy the Chipmunk
Tank the Turtle
Regina the Monarch Butterfly
Vocabulary Words You Might Hear in the Animals in Fall & Winter Show
- Adaptation: characteristics and behaviors that help an animal or plant survive
- Amphibian: ectothermic, vertebrate animals (frogs, salamanders & caecilians) that typically have moist, slimy skin, usually lay jelly-like eggs in water, and go through metamorphosis to become adults
- Canopy: the part of the forest where the tree branches have grown together
- Chlorophyll: is the green pigment (color) found in plant leaves and stems and is a crucial part of photosynthesis (see below)
- Cold Blooded (Ectothermic): an animal that has a body temperature dependent on the temperature of the environment (reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates are ectothermic)
- Deciduous: trees and shrubs that shed and then re-grow their leaves seasonally *Learn more about deciduous vs evergreen
- Evergreen: trees and shrubs that maintain their leaves all year long *Learn more about deciduous vs evergreen
- Forest Floor: a dark area where very little growth occurs usually covered with fallen leaves, flowers and twigs
- Habitat: a combination of climate, plants, geology and other factors combined to create an animal species’ home
- Hibernation: is a period of minimal activity and slow metabolism that typically occurs in cold Winter months
- Invertebrate: an animal that does not have a backbone or spine
- Mammal: a group of animals that have the following characteristics: are warm-blooded (endothermic); have backbones (vertebrates); have fur; and nurse their young with milk
- Metamorphosis: the process of change from a larval (juvenile) form to an adult form (most insects and amphibians go through metamorphosis)
- Migration: seasonal movement of animals from one geographic location to another
- Photosynthesis: the ability of plants and certain other organisms to create complex organic materials (including sugar) by using sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and inorganic salts
- Reptile: ectothermic, vertebrate animals (snakes, lizards, crocodilians, turtles, tuataras) that have dry, scaly skin and lay eggs with a shell or give birth to live young.
- Vertebrate: an animal with a backbone or spine
- Warm Blooded (Endothermic): animals that can maintain their body temperatures above the air or water around them (birds and mammals are warm blooded animals)
Suggested Activities to Do Before or After the Animals In Fall & Winter Show:
Supplies: real leaves, crayons, paper for making art, craft paper or newspaper for covering table
Choose a table that you are OK with children using crayons on. Use a cut up paper grocery bag, craft paper, or newspaper to cover the table. Head outside and have fun gathering some fallen leaves from the yard or neighborhood. Bring them in and set them on the table and get ready to make some ART!
Place a piece of paper over one leaf at a time, or make a collage with many leaves, and then use a crayon to rub over the leaf or leaves. An image of the leaf(s) will appear on the paper. You can do more than one color on each piece of paper.
In addition to hanging the beautiful artwork, other options for using leaf rubbings are:
- Make greeting cards by simply folding the paper into a card. What fun it would be to mail hand-made fall greeting cards to family and friends!
- Use sheets of unprinted newsprint to make rubbings that can then be used as GIFTWRAP!
- Leaf rubbings are also fabulous entries to put in your Nature Journal.
I find this simple, easy nature activity to be engrossing. Once I start, I can’t stop!
Write a Fall or Winter Haiku
Japanese Haiku poetry is often created as a celebration of seasons and nature. Traditional Haiku uses a format of: 3 lines consisting of 5 syllables, 7 syllables and then 5 syllables. Young students may have a hard time with that format, so I suggest doing a poem with a title and then three words (alliteration can be extra fun but not required!) Ask students to think about what they love about Fall or Winter and then have them write a poem. Here are a few examples:
Autumn Leaves by CobraCaroline
Wintertime Fun by CobraCaroline
Plant an Acorn
Head outside in the yard or neighborhood on an acorn hunt. Search for acorns that are solid and do not appear to have any holes (caused by acorn weevils) in them. Gather a few and when you get home, place them in a glass of water. Any acorns that float are unlikely to germinate, so only plant acorns that sink. To germinate, many acorns need to planted outside they will be exposed to freezing temperatures of Winter. Choose a site that receives plenty of sunshine and dig a 1-2 inch little hole and plant the acorn. Cover the hole back over and place a bit chicken wire or hardware cloth over the planting site so that sneaky squirrels and chipmunks can’t dig up your acorn. Mark the location with stake or other prominent marker so you know where the acorn was planted and can be careful not hurt the sapling when it sprouts.
Looking to bring the Animals in Fall & Winter Show to your school, day care center, or kids’ event?
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Kids Nature Shows are available in-person in the Northern Virginia area and virtually all around the world!