One of the topics that always tends to be of interest to the children in our care is animals. I know that part of that is influenced by my son who has been an animal lover all of his life. (Our family vacations are often planned around his research of what animal can be seen where.) Another big factor in this is that we have a number of classroom pets and spend time observing and learning about the critters in our care and neighborhood. We currently have a dog, a turtle, and a bearded dragon.
This summer, under the guidance of one of our interns, the children spent some additional time exploring various aspects of animals. One of the areas they investigated were the tracks/prints that different animals make. To help look at some of the similarities and differences, we opted to make some prints with our plastic animals.
To set this up, I put a sponge out on a plastic lid and then added the paint to a sponge. In the past, we have just used a puddle of paint for the children to dip the critters in. I have found that using the sponge keeps the critters feet from grabbing too much paint and allows for a cleaner, more "crisp" print of the animal's feet.
The children had the opportunity to choose a couple of critters to bring to the table. We have a HUGE selection of wild and domestic animals for the children to choose from. It was fun to observe them as they made tracks on the shared paper. Some of the animals were having trouble sharing the same space, and it was clear that the children knew a little bit about the food chain.
The children had so much fun making the giant masterpiece of prints! They also had fun trying to guess which animal made which print. Can you tell which animals were used?
After they were done with the giant collaboration- they took some time to make some prints on smaller pieces of paper that they could take home too!
Have you ever made animal prints? I'd love to hear about it!