We're heading to the mountains of North Carolina soon and couldn't be more excited to have a little change of scenery and temperature! There is something about the mountains that rejuvenates our souls and reminds us how majestic our world is. The air seems cleaner, the terrain breathtaking, and the wilderness abundant.
My son is approaching two years old, and can't get enough of animals. Especially bears, birds, and deer. We went on a little field trip with friends the other day to a local wildlife museum, and Mack was enthralled at all that nature had to offer. Before our family field trip I made some quick stencils for the driveway. By finding images on Google, I was able to print them on card stock paper and then cut them out. We used sidewalk chalk to make animal tracks up and down the driveway. Our friend Kaki helped Mack identify the beginning sounds of the animals that the tracks represented.
While playing on the playground at the museum I notice a fun matching game that quizzed children on their knowledge of animal tracks. I thought, "What a great idea for the car ride to North Carolina!" So when we got home we gathered a few things from around the house and went back to Google Images for some animal tracks that we might encounter on our expedition. It was an easy activity that young and older children could help to research and assemble. For elementary aged children have them first research the habitats of the area that you are visiting or that you live in. That way they can design their wheel accordingly. It would be fun to do a wheel to represent different types of animals found in a variety of ecosystems (i.e. rainforests, deciduous forest, tundras, deserts, etc.).
For the finished project I glued down a circle tag to cover up the paperclip.
To cap off all good projects, it's always fun to take your creativity to the kitchen. We made some animal track treats. Mix all the ingredients listed above in a bowl. Spoon small dollops onto wax paper. Flatten them with the back side of a spoon (I sprayed the spoon with cooking spray first). I followed a recipe I found online, but Mack and I couldn't get our animal tracks to show up with just thumbprints. So to the pantry we headed and tracked down some snacks. It was fun to use our creativity to make the animal tracks out of things like raisins, marshmallows, pretzels, and M & M's. Then pop them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to harden up a bit. While we were waiting for our treats I found some animal sounds online and Mack and I acted them out. His favorite of course is the "scary bear" as he says.
We look forward to tracking down some animals while in the mountains, and we hope that you are on the hunt for some animals during your adventures too!