In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about camouflage and animal adaptations. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Camouflage topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching About Camouflage
Take your class to a grassy area and divide them into small groups. Give each group 30 paper clips in different colors. Which color will be easiest to see in the grass? Which will be hardest? Have students make their predictions. Have one group member sprinkle the paper clips on the grass and count to 40 while the other members pick up as many paper clips as they can. Have students record their findings. Discuss the results and have students talk about how camouflage can help animals to survive.
Create a habitat in a terrarium or fish tank. If possible, use a real animal to study, such as a lizard, beetle, or cricket. If keeping a real animal is not possible, you can use a realistic plastic bug or snake. Tell the class that they are going to create a habitat for the animal. Have students research and learn about the animal and its habitat. How does the animal use camouflage in its environment? What does the animal eat? If it eats insects, do any of them use camouflage? Have students collect and bring in materials to add to the habitat.
Together as a class, paint or color a large mural of a forest. Students may want to research different forests before they sketch their mural to learn what types of plant, animal, and insect life each forest has. Then have each student pick a forest animal, learn about it, and add it to the mural. Explain to the class that this animal should be camouflaged in the forest. Have each student present their animal to the class and discuss how it uses camouflage to stay safe.
Have students think of ways to camouflage themselves in different places. How would they dress to stay hidden in the forest or in the snow? What colors would they wear to stay hidden in the desert? Have students draw pictures of different outfits. Then compile the pictures into a book to make a clothing catalog.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Camouflage
Hide and Go Seek
Under adult supervision, have your child and his or her friends play hide-and-go-seek in the park or in the neighborhood. Remember to set strict boundaries and use an enclosed area so children remain safe. If possible, play the game at night or at sunset. Have a few children wear light-colored clothing, and have others wear dark clothing. As they play the game, ask them how the clothing makes it harder or easier to find each other. Who was easiest to tag? Why? Show the children how removing the dark clothing, or adding a light colored shirt, can make them more visible.
Hidden at Home
Cut out shapes using different colors of paper. Then hide the shapes in your home. Try to camouflage a few shapes. For example, you might cut out a white circle and hide it in a white bathtub. Have your child go on a hunt and look for all the shapes. Have him or her explain why each shape was easy or hard to find.
With your child, go on a walk at twilight. Be sure to pick a safe and familiar place and bring a flashlight. Listen to the sounds that you hear together. Many animals like to be heard and not seen. What animals do you hear? Have your child use the flashlight to find the animal. Would they ever have found it if they had not heard it first? Have your child think about how animals and why camouflage themselves at night.