Wildlife Tracking

A big part of my Nature Club will be for the children and I to learn to identify various parts of nature when outdoors such as; which leaves come from which trees, bird identification, plant, herb and weed identification and of course, learning to identify which animals make certain tracks.  This time of year we have a lot of snow in our area so it is a great time for us to go out and discover the tracks of wildlife left behind.  But tracks are also left behind in dirt,  mud and sand so don’t give up.  While finding actual bear tracks may be difficult, there are plenty of other animals that will leave behind a trail for you to follow.  Be sure to send us in any photos of your discoveries and we will share them here at info@littleacornlearning.com 

**the following activities come from our January 5 Day Childcare Program

Wildlife Tracking

Supplies Needed:
(all optional)
Magnifying Glasses
Nature Notebooks
Field Book

During your nature walk today, go hunting for signs of the midnightfrolics of wildlife.  Can you find little animal tracks?  Big tracks?  What type of animals do you think caused them?  Can you tell from the prints whether or not the animal hops or walks?  Bringing along magnifying glasses will encourage your little detectives to really search for clues! 

A critical thinking question to ask young children: 

When the pathway has not been shoveled, would we be able to tell if a visitor had come to the front door?  How could we tell?  

Let older children journal in their Nature Notebooks.  You may even choose to take photos of the tracks you find to keep in your notebooks.  Make drawings of each print.  Which animal do you think it came from?  Go to your library or online to research further.  

Making Bear Tracks

Supplies Needed:

Plaster of Paris
Measuring cup for powder
Water and measuring cup
Container to mix in Spoon and knife

Even if you do not live where you can find tracks left by bears, you can have fun making pretend bear tracks, using your own feet! The hind foot of a bear has a shape that is very similar to the shape of our feet, as you can see below.

To make your “bear track” you will need to fill a pan or small tub (big enough for you to put your foot in) with moist sand or dirt. With your bare foot, step into the sand, pressing down hard, to make a good, clear print. Using a nail, sharpened pencil, or other small, pointed stick, make “claw prints” above each of your toes.

Measure ½ cup water into the bowl.  Slowly add 1 cup plaster, sifting it through your fingers.  Stir until smooth. It should be like pancake batter.  Carefully pour into track, filling all of it (claw marks, too).  Wait until it is dry – probably 30-45 minutes.  When it is hard, gently cut around it and lift it out.  When you pour the plaster into the print, be sure to get some into the “claw prints.” When your cast is hard and dry, lift it out carefully. Brush or rinse the sand off, and you will have your own “bear track”.  

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