Week Fifty-Six: STEAM Storytime: Animals!

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March 12, 2016 by libraryheather

Program Title: STEAM Storytime: Animals!steamanimals22

Target Age Range: Ages 3-6 with a caregiver

Program Length: 60 minutes

Brief Description:
Half-storytime, half-lab in which we explore animal adaptations and habitats.

-4-8 quart-sized Ziploc bags
-48oz tub of vegetable shortening
-Duct tape
-7lb bag of ice cubes
-2 buckets
-Paper towels
Optional: Feathers, faux fur, and other potential insulators for the “Blubber Glove” activity. Also, it is very helpful to have plastic trays upon which to set the ‘gloves’ after they’ve been in the water!
Copies of this coloring sheet from Mother Natured
-Crayons (enough for 2 craft stations)
-~3×2″ pieces of craft fur
-Scotch tape
-~3×3″ pieces of imitation snake skin
-Craft feathers
-1-2 bowls to put the craft feathers in
-Laminated printouts of a variety of real-sized animal tracks, along with the identifying information.
-Masking tape
-Pieces of yarn (2 per participant)
-Animal masks printed on cardstock and cut out (1 per participant)
-Hole puncher
-X-Acto knife
-Computer with internet access, hooked up to a projector with sound
“Camouflage Clues: A Photo Riddle Book” – Megan Cooley Peterson
“Welcome Home, Bear: A Book of Animal Habitats” – Il Sung Na
“If All the Animals Came Inside” – Eric Pinder

Cost: $0-50

Advanced Preparation:
-Print out a variety of animal masks on cardstock, cut them out, and use an x-acto knife to cut out the eye holes. Punch holes for the yarn where designated on the mask.

-Cut 2 lengths of yarn for each participant. The pieces should be long enough so that they can be tied to each side of the mask and around the back of a child’s head.

-Cut out several ~3×3″ pieces of imitation snake skin.

-Cut out several ~3×2″ pieces of craft fur. Use scotch tape to secure the top of each piece as needed.

-We like to make a powerpoint that includes the lyrics to the songs and rhymes for our storytime, so that the parents can follow along.

-Print out copies of this coloring sheet from Mother Natured.

-Find, print out, and laminate pictures of life-sized animal tracks. This can be as many or as few as you’d like. We found enough to border the entire meeting room.

-Make examples of both the coloring sheet and animal masks.

-Make instructional signs for each station.

Program Outline:
1. Welcome and introductions.

2. The More That We Learn Science (to the tune of “The More We Get Together”):

The more that we learn science,
Learn science, learn science,
The more that we learn science,
The happier we’ll be.
We’ll know things, and do things,
And explore many new things,
The more that we learn science,
The happier we’ll be.

3. Brainstorm: Have you ever thought about how animals live outside all the time? How do they live outside when it’s so cold like it is right now? What other special things do animals have to keep them safe outside? (We used this time to talk about a variety of animal adaptations–but they already knew a ton on the subject!)

4. Nonfiction Book: “Camouflage Clues: A Photo Riddle Book” – Megan Cooley Peterson
*We only read about half of this book because we were running low on time. We hid the photo clue from them as we read the accompanying poem, and then we showed photo so they could all find the hidden animal at the same time. They were way into this. If we didn’t have lots of other fun stuff planned, we could’ve read the whole thing!*

5. Song: Camouflage Song – modified just one line from the version on Library Bonanza. (to the tune of “Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?”)

Oh where oh where can my little frog be?
Oh where oh where can he be?
With his big, buggy eyes
And his smooth, brown skin
Oh where oh where can he be?

Oh where oh where can my tiger be?
Oh where oh where can he be?
With his stripey fur
And his big, sharp teeth
Oh where oh where can he be?

Oh where oh where can my owl be?
Oh where oh where can he be?
With his big round eyes
And his short, curved beak
Oh where oh where can he be?

*We put a picture of each animal using their camouflage to hide on the powerpoint slide with that verse. We stopped at each verse asking the kids to point out where the animal was.*

6. Brainstorm: Where do animals live? (Talk briefly about habitats and how animals live best in their specific habitat)

7. Song: “Whose Home?” – from TheMailbox.com

8. Fiction Book: “Welcome Home Bear: A Book of Animal Habitats” – Il Sung Na

9. Action Rhyme: Walking in the Jungle – from SuperSimpleLearning.com  (see Special Instructions & Procedures below)

10. Fiction Book: “If All the Animals Came Inside” – Eric Pinder

11. Activity: Animal Yoga – inspiration for this activity was from Mother Natured. (see Special Instructions and Procedures below)

12. Lab Time: (see Special Instructions and Procedures)
Four Stations:
-Insulation Station
-Fur, Feather & Scales Rubbings
-Animal Tracks – Foot Comparison
-Animal Masks

Handouts: None

Special Instructions and Procedures:
Walking in the Jungle (action rhyme):
We put the lyrics and actions for this on our powerpoint. Since there were 2 staff members in this program, it was easy for one to lead the action rhyme and the other to advance the slides and play noises of a frog, monkey, toucan, and tiger when the leader says “Stop! Listen! What’s that?” Once they guessed an animal, the slide was set to show a picture of the animal. This was super fun!

Animal Yoga:
On our powerpoint, we used side-by-side cartoon images of children doing a yoga pose with a real photo of an animal doing that pose. Instead of the real yoga name, we just called the pose “flamingo” or whichever animal we were imitating. Since we had two staff members in this program, one demonstrated the yoga positions and the other advanced the slides and called out which pose to do next.

Insulation Station:steamanimals32

The main scientific project here was “Blubber Gloves” from Steve Spangler Science. This is a totally brilliant, almost mess-free project that really demonstrates how fat acts as an insulator for arctic animals. We used two buckets filled with ice water, along with trays for the wet ‘gloves,’ so as not to spread water all over the table. We ALSO took inspiration from Knowledge Matter’s Animals in Winter post and filled two extra baggies with craft fur and feathers. That way, kids were allowed to experiment with which insulator worked best. It is best to have someone manning this station to help explain what to do (like: have an adult hold the top of the baggies so that the inside of the bag doesn’t fill with water) and help clean up spills as they occur.

Fur, Feather & Scales Rubbing:
This project came entirely from this post and printable PDF on Mother Natured. We purchased some green
steamanimals7vinyl snake skin
and cut it into six ~3×3″ squares, as well as ~2×3″ pieces of white craft fur. We found it helpful to use scotch tape to hold down the top of the pieces of craft fur, so it doesn’t all fall out. Of course, we also used some feathers we had on hand (we found it easiest to use wispy feathers instead of the strong, smooth feathers). Once we had those materials on hand, we simply put out the coloring sheets and some crayons and it was a very simple craft.

Animal Tracks:
For this ‘station,’ we printed out and laminated as msteamanimals81any life-sized animal tracks as we could find. We gave preference to those that had the tracks labeled with the animal name. Then we taped them to the floor all the way around the perimeter of the room. The idea was for the children and caregivers to walk around and compare the size of their feet with the different animal tracks. An example of some of the tracks we used can be found on this PDF from the Minnesota DNR.

Animal Masks:steamanimals1

All credit for this craft project goes to First Palette. We printed off two of each of their masks on cardstock, cut them out (including the eye holes), and punched holes where indicated. We cut out two lengths of black yarn per child so that their caregiver could tie on the mask. We just set out the masks and yarn with crayons, craft trays, and an instructional sign and that was that! Super easy and very adorable.

Resources Used:
MotherNatured.com: Animal Yoga for Kids

MotherNatured.com: Fur, Feathers & Scales: A Cover-Up!  plus the cool Fur, Feathers & Scales printable PDF!

Steve Spangler Science: Blubber Gloves

Knowledge Matters: Preschool Science: Animals in Winter

Super Simple Learning: Walking in the Jungle

TheMailbox.com: Whose Home?

Library Bonanza: Curious Kitties: Animal Adaptations

“Camouflage Clues: A Photo Riddle Book” – Megan Cooley Peterson

“Welcome Home, Bear: A Book of Animal Habitats” – Il Sung Na

“If All the Animals Came Inside” – Eric Pinder

Kids Yoga Stories: Jungle Animal Yoga

First Palette: Animal Masks

Minnesota DNR: Minnesota Animal Tracks PDF

Additional Resources:
MotherNatured.com: Animal Sand Painting

MotherNatured.com: Animal Finger Puppet Play

Abby the Librarian: Preschool Lab: Birds

Apartment Therapy: DIY Training Chopsticks

How Stuff Works: Animal Activities for Kids

Learn Play Imagine: Oo is for Octopus

Brilliant Beginnings Preschool: Salt Water (Floating)

Abby the Librarian: Preschool Lab: Ocean Animals

Juggling With Kids: Contact Paper Jellyfish

Abby the Librarian: Preschool Lab: Bats

Carrots Are Orange: Animals in Winter

NPS.gov: Alaskan Animal Adaptations

Jellyfish Facts: Jellyfish Adaptations

PBS.org: Exploring Animal Camouflage

Barney Wiki: Tiger Song

Songs for Teaching: How Do You Know It’s a Bird?

Mr. R’s Science Poems and Songs: Animal Poems

Kids.Gov: Animals for Grades 6-8

What we would do differently:
This program worked very well as-is. It was low cost, easy to set up and clean up, and was a fun, natural fit for this age group. That being said, there are many alternate project possibilities for a broad theme like “animals” with this age group–camouflage scavenger hunts, bird beak testing, seeing like a batjellyfish crafts, and on and on and on!

Adaptation for older/younger audience:
No recommendations for aging down, though it’s easy enough to find books featuring animals for even younger children. For a slightly older group, we recommend our program on Bird Nests. On that post, we also give recommendations for how to age the program up to accommodate tweens. At the moment, we don’t have recommendations for specific animal science projects to do with teens, though we continue to research the possibility!

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