I have always loved the footprint units I have seen on other homeschooling blogs because it looked like fun for both the parent and the child! A couple of my favorite blog posts are "Investigating Animal Tracks" and "The Snowy Day Snow Dough Play." I was excited to set up these sensory experiences for Little Bee to learn about winter forest animals and footprints.
Muddy Footprints - Early Spring
The first sensory activity that we did was using brown finger paint and our Schleich forest animals. I explained to Little Bee that in the early spring time, the snow begins to melt and the ground gets muddy. Many of the winter forest animals come out of their secret hibernating spots to roam around and look for food. Little Bee loved getting the animals all muddy and then walking them around on the white paper. We talked about the unique footprints that each animal made on the paper.
Forest Animal Footprint Cards
After exploring the muddy footprints, we matched up our forest animals with these lovely forest animal footprint cards. I printed the cards and cut them out. Then I taped each matching pair (animal and footprint) onto a black background in a vertical fashion. Little Bee matched the Schleich animal to the corresponding cards.
"Secrets of Winter" - Shine a Light Book
This lovely Usborne book, "Secrets of Winter" is fabulous for teaching children about the activities and hiding spots of forest animals in the winter time. What makes this book extra special is the "see-through" pages when a flashlight is used behind the page. The child will discover that this book is full of secrets waiting to be discovered.
Practical Life Skills - Making "Snow" Play Dough
Little Bee helped me make "snow" play dough by using his Montessori practical life skills. We followed this recipe - "The Best No-Cook Play Dough" and added silver glitter. We didn't add any food coloring to keep the play dough white. Little Bee poured, measured, and stirred the mixture together.
Forest Animals in "Snow" Play Dough
I placed the "snow" dough onto a round platter and I showed Little Bee how the bear makes footprints in the dough. It didn't take Little Bee long to dive in and find out what the footprints of the other animals looked like in the "snow" dough.
Examining Footprints in the Snow
Later that day, we took a walk outside and looked for footprints in the "real" snow. We found a big footprint of a human. Little Bee made a few of his own little footprints in the snow too.