Natural Science or a specific habitat study: The Habitat Box
Use a small flat box, about the size of a shirt box is ideal. Visit on your own the habitat that you will be studying and pick of samples of things the children might expect to see. Example: Beach habitat – sand, small shells, smooth stones, kelp, barnacles, periwinkles, feathers, etc. Put them in the box together and let the children handle, sniff and explore them. Talk about the different animals that would have lived in the shells, how the stones got smooth, what kind of birds hang around the beach, what they eat for food…the possibilities are endless! This can be done for forest, lakes, rivers, cities, anyplace. It is also a great way to prepare children for a field trip. Use items that they might expect to see – explore and discuss them in the classroom before you go. The children will be very excited when they arrive at their destination and see things that they already are familiar with, and will have great fun looking for more!