Animal Chart Activity: Who Are Your Tree-Dwelling Neighbors?

Find out who's home with this early childhood animal chart activity! 

Age recommendation: 3 – 7 years 

 

Who’s home? The trees all around us are a habitat or home to many different animals. Learn about how a tree can provide shelter, food, and a place to play!  

You can complete this animal chart activity by simply following the steps below, but if you'd like to add to the activity, we recommend you make it a story time with the book The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Lisa Falkenstern and published by Two Lions, an Amazon Publishing imprint. Get the book on Amazon.com here, or consider getting an e-book or checking it out from your local library if it's available! 

If you want to keep an eye out for the animals you see in The Busy Treeyou can print out this pre-made chart by clicking here. You can also use this chart as a start instead of making your own but keep in mind you may not see all of these animals during your observations. We’ve left one column blank so if you see an animal neighbor who lives near you that isn’t in the book, you can still include them in your data!

Who are your tree-dwelling neighbors? 

Lots of the animals who live in The Busy Tree are animals that we see here in Florida. Take some time to observe the outdoors through a window, in a backyard, or on a nature walk. 

As you’re observing, collect data on what you see! As scientists, when we collect data we are gathering information about something so that we can better understand it. As you collect data on the animals that live in the trees near your home, you are learning more about your environment and the critters who share a space with you. 

Materials For Your Animal Chart Activity:

  • Paper 
  • Clipboard or something to lean and write against 
  • Marker, crayon, or pencil 
  • Straightedge like a ruler, the side of a book, or anything you have on hand
  • Binoculars (optional) 
  • Magnifying glass (optional) 
How to create Orlando Science Center's animal chart activity

Directions:

STEP 1
  • Using your paper and writing utensil, create a simple chart. You can use your straightedge to help you make straight lines.

    A
    chart is a way to keep track of information, this is one of the ways scientists collect data. In our chart we will keep track of which animals we see at the bottom, and how many of that animal we see in the top columns (the tall skinny space above the animal)Be sure to add the date and time you are collecting your observations! 
STEP 2 
  • Attach your chart to a clipboard with your writing utensil and get ready to explore. Binoculars can help you see things that are far away (like up in a tree!) and magnifying glasses can help you see things that are small (like insects at the roots of a tree or on the tree’s bark). Bring binoculars and a magnifying glass if you have them. If not, you can still make amazing observations with just your eyes!  
You tools like binoculars or magnifying glass to help complete your animal chart activity
STEP 3 
  • You need to find a place around your home to observe. This could be in a yard, a nearby park, or out on a walk. Bring your supplies with you to start making observations!
    Always ask a grown-up before going outside!
STEP 4
  • Pay attention to the animals you see around the trees near your home. When you see an animal, write the name of the animal or draw a picture at the bottom of your chart.

Using your animal activity chart, go outside to observe animals and complete chart
STEP 5
  • Make one “x” in the column above an animal for each one you see. Only count an individual animal once! If you see the same squirrel again, don’t make another “x”. If you see a different squirrel, make an “x”. This will make our data more accurate!
STEP 6
  • When you are done observing and collecting data, count how many of each animal you wrote down on your chart. Analyze or think about the information from your chart. Which animal did you see the most? Which animal did you see the least? Why might that be?
Mark which animals you see on your animal activity chart
STEP 7
  • This is an experiment that you can repeat. Some animals are more active during different times of day. Choose a different time of day to collect data from your observations, then compare and contrast the data you have collected. Did you notice more of a certain animal during the evening than during the day? If you repeat this experiment all year, you may notice different animals are busier during certain seasons.
STEP 8
  • Enjoy getting to know your animal neighbors!
collect data by marking the animals you observe on your animal activity chart

Be a citizen scientist!

You can become a citizen scientist when you use the data you collect while watching animals around your home to help real-life scientists with their projects! Check out the projects below to see how you can help.

Always ask a grown-up before visiting a new website and before posting anything online!

 

The Lost Ladybug Project

Website: http://www.lostladybug.org/

If you come across ladybugs during your observations, consider contributing to The Lost Ladybug Project. This project is investigating ladybug diversity and will help scientists better understand where all of the native ladybugs have gone as well as provide information for other insect species!

 

Project Noah

Website: https://www.projectnoah.org/

Share your observations with pictures and notes through Project Noah. Project Noah is a place where people like you can help keep track of wildlife by sharing what you see! Researchers can then use your observations to collect ecological data (that’s information about how living things depend on one another).

 

iNaturalist

Website: https://www.inaturalist.org/

Citizen scientists all over the world observe animals and plants just like you are in our activity! You can share your observations on iNaturalist with others who love nature. The data that you and others share can be used by scientists globally (that means all over the world!) to help them with their projects.

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In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Kids Homemade Stamps DIY — Recycled Custom Creations

A repurposed project that teaches STEM skills to kids. Homemade stamps really make a mark!  

Repurposing found objects, using materials in creative ways, making a plan, and problem solving are all key engineering skills that you can practice while doing this kids homemade stamps activity! Follow along for tips, tricks, and suggestions to help you make custom DIY recycled stamps at home.

Once you've finished creating your tools with your kids, homemade stamps can be used to make your own cards, wrapping paper, or artwork so this recycled project can be used again and again!

  

Materials:

It’s time to raid your recycling bin! This is a great opportunity to stretch your creative muscles and use what you have available to you. The materials listed here are suggestions and you can absolutely make substitutions based on what you have on hand. 

 

  • A base for your stamps
    This needs to be something sturdy that you can attach materials of different shapes and textures to. We used cardboard, but you could also use something like scrap wood from another project or the lid from a pickle jar. 
  • Textures for your stamps
    These could be just about anything! Our examples feature popsicle sticks, string, bubble wrap, tin foil, pipe cleaners, a design made out of hot glue, and a mesh produce bag. As long as your materials can be glued to your base and lay relatively flat, they should work. 
  • A handle
    We used more cardboard for this, but you could also use a pipe cleaner, bottle cap, or 
    wine cork. 
  • Adhesive
    We used a glue gun, but if you’re willing to wait other kinds of glue can also work. Check the directions on your adhesive of choice for best results. 
  • Paint
    Several different kinds of paint will work well for this project. 
    Make sure to pick a paint that works well for whatever you’re planning to decorate with your stamps. If you have an ink pad, that’s also a good option (just remember to check if it’s washable as many are not!). 
  • Paintbrushes or sponges
    Select 
    whatever you think will be easiest to use to apply your paint. You can always switch it up part way through if you’d like to try something new! 
  • Something to stamp
    Stamps are often used on paper, but with fabric paint you could also decorate a canvas bag or T-shirt
    . We also recommend decorating paper bags, cardstock, or butcher paper so you can later turn your creation into a card or gift wrap! 

Directions:

  • Glue your textures of choice to whatever you’ve chosen to be the base of your stamp.
  • Adjust your texture materials as needed so they lay flat on the base of your stamp.  
Stamp created by wrapping yarn around cardboard
  • Glue your handle onto your stamp.
    NOTE: This should go on the side opposite your texture.
     
Cardboard attached to stamp to create a handle
  • When your adhesive is dry, use a sponge or a paint brush to apply your paint. Depending on how you’ve constructed your stamp, it may be easier to spread a thin layer of paint onto a paper plate and stamp directly into the paint. 

Paint front of bubble wrap stamp to begin printing project
  • Apply your stamp to whatever you’ve chosen to decorate! It’s important to put even pressure across the whole stamp as you press it down.

    If you remo
    ve your stamp and find that part of your pattern or texture hasn’t transferred to your project, that’s a good sign that the missing part of your stamp didn’t get enough pressure. 

Three stamps alongside piece of paper that they have been printed on
  • When you’re finished stamping, allow your creation to dry completely. 
  • Share your creation with us! We’d love to see what you made! Submit your photos to our Science Showcase or tag Orlando Science Center and use hashtag #OSCatHome on social media!

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

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Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!