Children tend to be attracted to animals, perhaps because they are different or cute and cuddly. Turn this fascination into a learning opportunity by engaging children in games that are centered on animal footprints. These games not only teach children about animal footprints, but they also serve as means of entertainment.
Matching items based on their attributes is an important mathematical skill and this game can help children hone this skill. Print out images of different animals and images of footprints made by the animals -- be sure to select images in which the feet of the animals can be seen. Spread the pictures out on a flat surface and have children analyze the pictures of the footprints and try to match them to the animals that made them. For a simple game, choose animals and prints that are very different and for a more complex game, choose animals and prints that are similar.
Have a scavenger hunt of sorts using animal footprints. Cut out different types of animal footprints from construction paper and spread them around a room. Send children out to search for the animal footprints; upon finding footprints, they should collect them. At the end of an allotted period of time, ring a bell and have children assemble in a pre-determined meeting spot. Count how many pairs of footprints each child finds; the child who collected the most footprint pairs wins.
Children act as detectives to find a missing animal in this footprint game. Hide a plush stuffed animal somewhere and from construction paper, cut out footprints that match the feet of the animal you have hidden. Tape the paper footprints on the ground in random locations that lead the children to dead ends and tape a path that actually leads children to the missing animal. Tell children that an animal is missing from a zoo and you need their help to find it. Provide children with magnifying glasses, if you'd like, and set them out to look for the animal. The first child to find the hidden animal wins.
In this game, children have to guess which animal made a specific set of footprints. Print out or draw pictures of a variety of animal footprints on individual pieces of paper and print out images of the animals that made the prints. Distribute the images of the animals to children and keep the footprint pictures. Upon holding up a footprint, children analyze it and hold up the picture of the animal they think the print belongs to. Award a point to each child who correctly identified the animal that made the print. The child who collects the most points wins the game.
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