Even very young kids can understand that animals try to hide from predators by blending in to their environment. One way to reinforce this understanding is through literature and a hands on activity. After reading Hide and Seek: Nature’s Best Vanishing Act by Andrea Helman, my preschooler and I talked a lot about camouflage, why animals may want to hide, and how animals protect themselves. Another enjoyable book to reinforce the concept is Hide and Snake by Keith Baker. Kids have a lot of fun trying to find the snake blended into its environment. I like the combination of a non-fiction and a fiction book to introduce the concept.
To further his understanding, I made a felt activity that allowed my preschooler to hide an animal so that it could not be seen!
Here’s the scene:
How I used it:
- First, I presented the simple scene with four animals on the right hand side.
- Second, I brought out a stuffed animal. In this case I used a purple dog. I told my little guy that the purple dog wants to eat the animals, so we have to hide them like the animals in the book. At first he wanted to hide them behind the wagon, so I explained to him that he had to camouflage them so that they dog can’t see them.
- He hid the animals one by one.
- After he hid each animal, the dog came by to see if he could find them. Can he find the brown mouse hiding on the brown tree trunk? (He’s only using his sense of sight, in real life the dog could smell the animal of course!)
My little guy had a lot of fun hiding the animals. My oldest even wanted to try! I always love the combination of literature and hands on experience. He will always have the memory of hiding the animals from the dog to draw upon as his understanding of the topic grows.
The books we used:
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