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Elementary Science

Animal Habitats Activities

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Laura Pedraza Laura Pedraza 935 Points

I am a student teacher and I have been working on creating a science lesson for my 1st graders on animal habitats. However, I am stuck on creating a fun hands-on activity for them to discover the different habitats. Any suggestions? I feel like I have not been able to find anything helpful on this yet. 

Eric Roth Eric Roth 3385 Points

You could have the students make "What Lives in a _______?" posters and include flaps that on the front are decorated to blend in with the poster, but when you open the flap, reveal an animal that lives there. For example: What Lives in a Tree? The poster design has a tree, perhaps in a front yard or a park.  Glued or taped to the poster are flaps (you can decide how many) that are decorated to blend in/match rhe design. When you open one of the flaps, it will reveal a bird with the name of the bird and one other piece of information (if there is room). Another flap can reveal a spider, and do on. What lives in a pond? In a house? In an acorn? In a person? In the dirt? Etc.

Isabelle S Isabelle S 6755 Points

One suggestion might be to have a set of cards for matching animals to their homes such as this link: is a great hands-on activity that students will enjoy. They can color in the cards afterwards. You can also introduce the animal habitat lesson with a fun song/video such as this: This video will give students a big idea on animal habitats. Another option is for students to work collaboratively in small groups to complete an individual report and design a group poster on animal habitats. I got the idea from: teacher will create the booklet where the title will say: My ______ Report By: ________ then on the next page, it will say Animal: _________ Type of Animal ____________ Draw a picture (Label your drawing) (insert blank square box here). The next page will include Habitat (Where I live) and then a blank square box where students can draw their animal and there will be space for them to write a sentence of where their animal of choice lives in. The next page will be titled "Diet (what I eat) and an empty box where they can draw the food of the animal and a space below where students write what that animals eats. The next page will be titled Interesting Facts 1. ______ (empty box here) 2. _____ (empty box here) 3. ________ (empty box here).

Zoe Fritz Zoe Fritz 620 Points

Hi Laura, I looked on the internet for some activities/sources that might lead you to some helpful activities and came across some that might be helpful to you. Another thing that you could do is to take your students on a nature walk that will help them to get an idea of the habitat that is around them. You could have them collect leaves, grass, sticks, and anything else they may find while on the walk. With these materials they can then make their own habitat in a shoe box. For other habitats, you could give mini lessons on different habitats and then have them remake the habitats using materials that have been collects or that are from the classroom. Hope this helps you with the lesson!

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Zoe Fritz has some really good sites to explore in her response. Animal web cams are really interesting too.

Armando Prieto Armando Prieto 2145 Points

I would suggest you taking them outdoors. What better way to learn about animal habitats than to actually go to the animals’ habitats? Are there any trees in your school or large green areas? You can explore earthworms, butterflies, lizards, etc. This experience can then be used to extend the activity and teach them about other different animal habitats. 

Natasha Ibarra Natasha Ibarra 415 Points

One idea may be to search your local toy store or dollar store to find toy animals and plants where you could assemble a little mini habitat? I remember, as a student, completing some representations of habitats in shoe boxes. Those were fun to make and educational, as it had me consider all elements of the habitat while I created it.

Katheryne Ayers Katheryne Ayers 545 Points

I did this with some first graders during a practicum! My partner and I brought in shoe boxes and a ton of material we'd bought from the dollar store, like pebbles, moss, flowers, etc. plus construction paper, glue, scissors. We picked out a bunch of those National Geographic Kids animal books and each group of about 3 received an animal and a book about their animal. Most of these kids were reading above grade level, so it was no problem for them. We gave them half an hour and just let them go for it, using the books as a resource to create the habitat their animal would live in--we got some really creative stuff!

Kristen Ford Kristen Ford 75 Points

I did an animal habitat project one year and my teacher had the class make a list of their top 3 animals that they wanted to make a habitat for the one that no one else had chosen. After the class chose which animal they would do their project on we went to the library to look for books about our animals. The next day we were told to bring in a shoe box from home in which we were going to build our animals habitat with materials we brought in from home and bought ourselves and materials provided for us in the classroom. After our habitat was built we needed to type one paragraph on our animal and its habitat in the computer lab after we had written the paragraph in class. Our animal habitats were put on display in the hallway and in the library.

George Mehler George Mehler 1575 Points

Hello Laura, I am going to attach a link to the Habitat playlist on the Youtube Channel I have been developing called FunScienceDemos. This channel is home to hundreds of free, easy to use and recreate, fun science demonstrations that can help get concepts across to your students. The channel has hundreds of videos on a variety of topics, but this link will direct you to the habitat videos specifically. If you like what you see, subscribe to our channel as we release new videos regularly! Best, The FunScienceDemos team, Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University Jared Hottenstein Central Bucks School District

Amanda Byrum Amanda Byrum 780 Points

One thing that I did with my 5th graders this year was to create their own mythical creature (we'd been discussing animal adaptations and tied this in to their creature creations), and then to design a zoo habitat or enclosure that would meet the specific needs of their animal. Students then built dioramas to model the kind of habitat and needs (food / shelter / water) that their specific animal may have. The kids really got into creating their creatures (although some were pretty blatant pokemon copies!!) and loved building the dioramas. I was really surprised at their insight and creativity. - Amanda B.

Heejin Jeon Heejin Jeon 435 Points

Hi Laura! Animal habitats is a fun topic to teach 1st graders. I found a lot of creative ideas from Pinterest, so I suggest you check those out. One activity I recommend is splitting the students into smaller groups and giving each group a habitat to do their research on. Whether they gather the information from the books read in class or videos you show them, they can write simple notes and make a poster introducing each habitat. They can draw pictures and decorate their posters according to their specific habitat. Once each group makes their poster, they can present it to the class. This not only helps the students practice their cooperation skills, but also exercise their creativity, organization, and presentation abilities. Another habitat project they can work on is assigning each group of students a habitat and having them use different craft materials to portray their habitat on a paper plate. Good luck! This website is in Greek, but there are pictures and I got the plate idea from here

Corina Chen Xusha (Corina) Chen 555 Points

Hi Laura, if you still need more ideas for interactive ways to teach your students, I found this great website that the students can explore and learn independently. I think that many students are attracted to the use of the internet and computers so this will mostly likely engage them. This website also is very colorful and kid-friendly and will help introduce them to this subject! ( I also found this great video that will also aid in introducing your students to this concept. ( There's also this lesson plan I found that invovles an interactive matching game for students to figure out and try to match animals with which habitat in which they may live in. (

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

Thank you for the link to the habitat game. It is great. I really like the idea of acting out the animal. BTW, your first link does not work. It gives a 404 error msg.

Malari Finamore Malari Finamore 260 Points

Hi Laura, This seems like such a fun lesson to do with your first graders. I would recommend purchasing some different books at their reading level about many different animals. This would be especially helpful for animals that can be found in the areas around where they live. You can then have a nature walk and have students pick out some materials that can be used for their habitats. This can include things such as leaves, sticks and dirt. Have the students bring in a shoe box or another type of box and let their imaginations go.

Julie Glass Julie Glass 680 Points

Hi Laura, This seems like a great idea for first graders. Are you looking for a hands-on classroom activity or something that the could do at home and then bring share with the class? I think that a good first step is to bring the students outside to examine the habitat around the school. With time to observe - and prompts about taking time to look around - your students would observe many things about the habitat right around the school. Making similar observations near home makes this a very hands-on experience, that students could share the next day (or a couple of days later) with classmates, in full-class or partner/group discussions. Best, Julie G.

Heejin Jeon Heejin Jeon 435 Points

Hi Laura! I definitely agree that your 1st graders will enjoy a more hands-on activity. I would suggest dividing your students into table groups and assigning them a specific animal habitat. Then, you could supply them with a strong piece of cardboard and play doh. The students would be expected to create their habitat with play doh and place it on the cardboard to display. For example, if a group was assigned the desert, they could use brown or tan play doh for the surface and try to create different animals that could reside in the desert. If play doh is too messy for your class, then you could always use construction paper and have the students draw the animals and tape it on the cardboard or poster paper. With this, you could make it a little more interesting and have students glue their animals on popsicle sticks and you could poke holes through the cardboard, so that the animals could be popsicle puppets in their habitat. Another activity could be having each group design an informational poster about their specific habitat. This would require students to use their research skills to find different facts about their habitats. Good luck!

Alyson Whitmore Alyson Whitmore 555 Points

With first graders, it could be really fun to do something very hands on outside. You could go for a nature walk around your school (if there are trees, grass, or bushes, or even just spaces in the gutters for birds nests) and look for animal habitats. What would fit in this, that or the other habitat? Every time you get to a spot, have students write what kind of animal might live in each habitat. It's also fun to sort Beanie Babies (I have so many from when I was a kid!) into categories of habitats around the room- rainforest, tundra, desert, forest, etc.

Krystal Andreu Krystal Andreu 2285 Points

One fun idea you can do is have students create a classroom "zoo." You can use multiple plastic animals and teach students about the different habitats in the world. Then, you can have the students physically sort the plastic animals into the different habitat enclosures. You can create the "zoo" on a foam board and be as elaborate as you want with decorating it. Or even better, you can have the students draw and color the different components of the habitats in groups.

Scott Williams Scott Williams 490 Points

A fun idea for first graders who may not be able to go outside the classroom is to decorate various sections of the room as different habitats. Students could be in charge of designing and researching what animals live in their habitats. You may also be able to decorate different activity centers as habitats and then refer to those habitats for the remainder of the school year. This could prove to be extremely enjoyable for the first graders who now would get to read in the jungle or do their math work in the tundra.

Sherita Celestine Sherita Celestine 730 Points

Incorporating art into animal habitat lessons are very beneficial for the students. It allows them to create a habitat for animals based on what they have learned. It also lets you as the teacher see what they understand and what they do not understand about habitats.

Rosalva Pedraza Rosalva Pedraza 790 Points

I remember when I was in elementary I had to create a habitat out of a shoe box. I used construction paper, play-do and other crafty materials. It was a fun activity and at the end the class presented a mixture of different types of habitats and even in similar ones there was significant variation.

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