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Forest Friends

Here's a fun theme to do when the animals are busy outside preparing for the coming winter or any time the children seem especially interested in these fury friends.

Language & Literacy



Fury Wild Animals and Friends Landoll Publishing

Chipmunk At Hollow Tree Lane  by Victoria Sharron

Squirrels by Brian Wildsmith

Where Are The Night Animals  by Mary Ann Frasher

Flying Squirrel at Acorn Place  by Barbra Gaines Winkelman

Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh



Songs, Poems, & Fingerplays

The Squirrel
These are the brown leaves fluttering down,
And this is the tall tree bare and brown.
This is the squirrel with eyes so bright,
Hunting for nuts with all his might.

This is the hole where day by day,
Nut after nut he stores away.
When winter comes with it's cold and storm,
He'll sleep curled up all snug and warm.
                         Adapted Traditional


Literacy : Have out a variety of forest animal rubber stamps, paint sponges, or stencils for the kids to use to create animal pictures, ask them to create a poem about their picture, record their voice and play it back for them to hear.



What do I eat... hold up a picture of a forest animal and ask what does this animal eat...  kids will find most eat berries, nuts, seeds, plants, grasses, and small animals: for example some owls will eat mice and snakes.  Some forest animals come to peoples homes and eat people food they find in the garbage and in gardens!

Owl Paper Bag Puppets
Supplies:  Brown paper lunch bags, various owl parts cut from construction paper for the children to glue to the bag (yellow triangle beak, small yellow triangles to glue on as feet, brown triangles to glue on as feathers on the chest, two brown triangle ears, two big white eyes with black dots in the center for pupils.)
Directions: Have the kids glue parts on the owl, talk about the shape and color of each part.

Mouse Count Props:

Use some easy to find props with the Mouse Count story book by Ellen Stoll Walsh.  All you need is a jar (an old plastic peanut butter jar works good)  and some rubber mice.  You can usually find these in stores around Halloween time or check the Oriental Trader.  Use then when you read the story for added interest.  Let the children practice counting with them when your finished.



Math & Number Concepts

Have out a variety off nuts, acorns, pine cones, etc. for the kids to count, sort, and create patterns.



Supplies: Toilet paper tubes, picture of a squirrel, with it's tail able to be cut off, brown colors or markers, scissors, glue.
Directions: Have the kids color the squirrels brown.  Then if they are able cut it out or you can, and let them glue it's body to the front of the toilet tube, and it's tail to the back of the toilet tube.  

Mouse Paint
Supplies: Large sheet of white finger paint paper, yellow, red, blue, finger paint.
Directions: Give the kids one color at a time and have them mix the color to see what color they get just like the mice did in the story Mouse Paint.  If you want you could also give them some mice cut from white construction paper to glue on when they are done painting.

Forest Friends Feeders
Supplies: Chenille sticks, Fruit Loops and Cheerios.
Directions: Have the kids string Fruit Loops and Cheerios onto the chenille sticks, tie ends together to make a treat wreath!  Hang it in a tree outside for birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and other wildlife to eat!

Chipmunk Nut and Seed Pictures
Supplies:  a chipmunk coloring book picture, a variety of seeds and nuts, brown crayons, glue.
Directions:  Let the kids color the chipmunk picture and then glue seeds and nuts on the picture to give it more texture and add dimension.  They could make it look like the chipmunk was collecting the food or actually use the seeds and nuts to fill in the body.



Dramatic Play

Set up a Camp Site!- A small pup tent is great for creating a fun "camping" dramatic play adventure where kids are sure to come face to face with some plush wildlife! Be sure to include a sleeping bag, binoculars, and maybe even a fake campfire.]


Maurice Sendaks "Little Bear" books would be great to have out to read!  Fill the puppet area with as many forest animal puppets or stuffed animals you can find.

Add other forest pals push toys to the area.

 Plush Standing Fox 13"

 Plush Sitting Grizzly Bear 19" Stuffed Animal

 Plush Forest Animal House 12"


Music & Movement

Chipmunk Nut Search: Hide a bunch of peanuts in the room or outside and have the kids pretend to be chipmunks searching for food!  Have them bring the nuts to you for storage!  (Use care around very young children, peanuts are a choke hazard, also check for peanut allergies! Use fake package peanuts instead.)    After all the nuts are found celebrate because the chipmunks will have plenty of food for the winter!  Hide them again and play a few more times!

Owl and Snake, Hide and Seek: Turn off the light and have the person who is it pretend to be an owl hunting for snakes to eat... When the owl says "Whoo can I eat?" the children have to try to crawl on their bellies to get away from the hungry owl back to their home!


Science & Discovery

Animal Sort: Find pictures of forest animals and then let the children sort the animal pictures into groups of animals of the same color, size, kind.

Have out a variety of picture of various forest animals for the kids to look at and explore, fill the discovery box with leaves, twigs, moss, etc. and ask the kids to build a squirrel/bird nest.

 Rain Forest Creatures - Look & Learn - ViewMaster 3 Reel Set



Blocks & Building

Ask the children to build a house for a mouse.  Add forest animal plastic toys to the block area.

 Raccoons #4205 by Playmobil

 Forest Animals with Cave by Playmobil

 Wild Safari North American Wildlife


Puzzles, Games & Manipulatives

Puzzle Me Up - Squirrel Family [Toy] 

 Fox Puzzle (7 Pieces)Mini Woodlands Puzzle NEW 2007 -Mini Woodlands Puzzle

 Woodlands Giant Floor Puzzle




 Magic School Bus 3-CD Pack Volume 1

 Little Bear Rainy Day Activities (Jewel Case)




Nuts and Berries: Let the kids sort them, talk about how they are different and how they are the same.

Have a Forest Animal Snack!  Let  the kids make some trail mix, add some nuts, chocolate chips, raisins and popcorn to some of  the Fruit Loops and Cheerios left over from the feeders.  The kids will think it's great to pretend to be eating like the squirrels, chipmunks, and other forest animals!

Pear Mice: cut a pealed pear in half from the top and set it on a plate, add some cloves for eyes and a little piece of carrot for a nose and a bit of string cheese for a tail.  Or what ever you can come up with to make a mouse!  A great snack to go along with the Mouse Count & Mouse Paint stories.



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