There is something so exciting about life cycles! Studying how creatures live, what they eat, and learning about them can be so fascinating for young children. Even toddlers find it interesting to see baby animals or plants! As we continue with our fall learning activities, our squirrel theme has been one of the most loved themes for both the older and younger kiddos with just a few simple adaptations.
Squirrel Life Cycle Activities
Age: You can use these materials for children approximately between the ages of 3-6.
Pinterest Board: Science
Squirrel Life Cycle 3 Part Cards
To introduce any new life cycle, I typically like to start with a 3 period lesson using the 3 part cards that are included in each life cycle pack that I create. These are always a nice way to introduce vocabulary, discuss the phases of the life cycle, and simply to spark interest.
In this set of materials, I also included information cards that explain interesting facts about squirrels. You can use them for as a separate lesson.
I like to use the spinners and our life cycle posters I include in all of my life cycle bundles during a presentation. They are kept on display for the children to explore when they choose.
You can also see that I also included a miniature squirrel and some objects on our shelves. This is not necessary, but it can add an interesting touch to a work. This squirrel was used to discuss anatomy, and to explain to the children what a squirrel is. We do not live in an area where we see them in nature. Materials like this are very useful is such cases.
Squirrel Life Cycle Matching
Typically, I present these materials as a gluing work. I have the circles pre-cut, and give my older child a blank mat. He should then place each stage of the life cycle in the correct spot on the empty mat.
However, my younger child has been excited to use her older sibling’s work. Since I have been receiving many questions about creating materials for younger children, I decided to show you how to make this specific activity for an older toddler or 3 year old.
I printed and laminated the life cycle poster included in our Squirrel Life Cycle Pack. I also laminated the circles from the gluing work in the same pack.
Then, just added some velcro dots and VIOLA! A matching activity.
Matching is a fantastic way for younger children to work on visual discrimination. This is a very important skill they must master before they can move on to more challenging work like counting, number quantity, and everything pertaining to math.
Honestly, I cannot even explain to you how joyfully this child worked on this! She repeated it multiple times, exclaiming BABY as she pointed to the newborn squirrel.
Please note – if you are presenting this to a younger child, you do not need to worry about them mastering the vocabulary or understanding the concept as you would expect from an older child. When using this with 4 or 5 year olds, they can understand the concept of a life cycle and will be able to master the vocabulary.
I created this specific activity in order to include my younger child in our lessons, but it is important to keep expectations practical. Our focus here is to match the images.
Squirrel Gluing Work
You can also use the same materials to create a life cycle gluing work for older children. Older children will be able to master the concepts presented.
If you wish to present this material as a gluing work, there are several objects you should keep on the tray:
- blank squirrel life cycle gluing mat
- squirrel life cycle poster as a control of error
- glue (kept in a small cup to prevent it from moving on the tray)
- objects to glue in a bowl
- Optional: spinner on a stand
Have you seen our Snail Life Cycle?
Squirrel Theme Coloring Book
To reinforce the phases of the life cycle, another activity you can present is a life cycle coloring book. I love this because children can make an entire “book” with their work. Coloring is a great way to practice pencil grasp, as well as generally giving children a moment for artistic expression.
You could even ask a child to draw the life cycle out themselves for an additional challenge!
I provide a pencil sharpener on this tray alongside the coloring pencils that children can use to make the book. The white strip on the far right is binding material that we use to create a book from the finished pages.
The images include cover the phases of the life cycle, as well as interesting aspects of a squirrel’s life, such as what they eat and where they live.
Squirrel Life Cycle Sequencing
This is a material I use to give the children another opportunity to put the new information they have learned to use. They can lay out the cards in order based on the phases of a life cycle of a squirrel.
The presentation is very simple. I keep the arrows separated in a cup, but leave the cards on the tray.
Notice how there is no text on the cards. This activity is meant only to give children an opportunity to practice sequencing the steps of a squirrel’s life cycle. This is a good way to see if they have retained the information presented previously.
I love a good practical life tray! This is a fantastic pre-writing activity. Holding a spoon properly, using the hand, strengthening hand-eye coordination, and so many other necessary skills are improved when children use practical life materials.
We kept it simple with this spooning material. A lovely gold spoon, and two “earthy” colored bowls. The balls came from a nature inspired set of decorations I purchased a while back. I use almost anything for materials in practical life activities. As long as it will be safe and I think my children will be interested in it, there’s a good chance that anything can be used for practical life!
An Overview of our Squirrel Theme
And that’s all folks! Here’s what our squirrel life cycle looks like all on display!
As you can see, we try to keep the shelves themselves clean and easy to access for the children. The activities are organized neatly and logically. Each material can be carried to either our table or a mat on the floor by the children independently.
Get the Squirrel Life Cycle Printables
SQUIRREL LIFE CYCLE INCLUDES:
- 9 (Montessori) 3 part cards with control cards, image cards, and label cards
- 6 Information Cards
- 3 sequencing cards
- 1 spinner and cover
- 3 arrows and one header that can be used for display boards
- 1 life cycle poster
- Life cycle cut and paste activity
- Life cycle coloring book – 10 pages
- 8 black and white and not labeled 3 part cards