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Preschool Lesson on Habitats: Where do Animals Live?

written by: Sonal Panse•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 10/25/2012

This article introduces preschoolers to natural animal habitats and animal homes. It explains how animals need homes much the same way people need homes. Many preschoolers usually have a curiosity about animals and teaching about animal homes can further develop their interest about the environment.

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    Where do Animals Live?

    This article is intended to introduce preschoolers to the idea that living creatures, besides themselves, need their own space. The preschoolers will learn that, like us, animals, birds, insects, fish and other creatures too have homes and families. Creating respect for living creatures and the environment in children will make them more mindful of the natural environment.

    We live at home. So where do animals live? Let's take a look.

    Materials

    • Posters of animals and their habitats
    • Internet
    • Videos
    • Photographs
    • Drawing paper
    • Colors - water-colors, markers, crayons
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    Directions

    Talk to the preschoolers about different living creatures and where they live. Explain what an habitat is - an animal home, which provides them with the necessary food, water, air and climate to live well in. Give examples of natural animal habitats like Lakes, Ponds, Ocean, Desert, Mountains, Rain Forest, Prairie, the Arctic and so on.

    Explain why certain animals can only live in certain habitats. Polar bears, for instance, can live very well in the Arctic, but would not flourish in Africa. Similarly, African elephants would not survive in the Arctic. Talk about animals having certain characteristics that help them live well in their particular habitats. The whale, for instance, has a skin that protects it from cold ocean waters. The zebra has stripes that helps it meld into its environment and confuse predators.

    Show the children photographs of different animal homes like nests, caves, rock crevices, underground burrows, hollow logs, tree trucks and so on. Talk about the different materials that living creatures use to construct their homes, like stones, straw, hay, twigs, sticks, mud, sand, water and so on. Explain that how different living creatures use different means to build their homes - using beaks, mouths, claws, feet and paws. The Weaver Bird for instance, uses its beak to weave a beautiful home with a narrow entrance. Some living creatures, like the snail, carry their homes wherever they go. Some living creatures, like the Magpie, try to beautify their homes by adding bright and shiny objects to it. Living creatures need homes for protection from other creatures, protection from cold, heat, snow or rain, a place to sleep in, a place to give birth in, a place to rear the young ones in, a place to store food in, etc.

    Next, compare the reasons animals need homes to our reasons for needing a home. What animals live in your local area, and what kind of homes would you find them in? How would animals would suffer if they became homeless?

    What can we do to prevent homelessness in animals? Some answers would be protecting natural habitats, creating wildlife parks, sanctuaries and gardens, using green products to help save the environment, and informing our friends about how to live in an environmental-friendly manner.

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    Activity Ideas

    • Make a chart of animals around the world and the homes they live in.
    • Take preschoolers to Zoos or Natural History Museums that have displays of natural animal habitats.
    • Take the preschoolers for a walk in a local field or park and look for signs of the local creatures there.
    • Show the children videos of animals in their natural habitats and animals in the process of constructing their homes.
    • Ask the preschoolers to draw and color animals of their choice, showing the animals in their respective homes.

    Here are some wonderful YouTube videos about animals and their habitats:

    Amazing animal habitats! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC7REG55E10
    Polar bear habits - BBC wildlife - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHDLjMOEGSo
    Underwater Galapagos - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21ufn4OJB5c
    HYENA- Forgotten Predator - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg88iWpp-ZQ