What makes a good home for an animal family? Find out where different types of animals like to live and how they build special homes for themselves and their families!
Observe an Animal in Its Habitat
One of the best ways to learn what makes a good home for an animal is to observe animals that have already built their homes. Here are some things to look for:
Make an Insect Habitat
If you observed an insect in the wild, such as a ladybug, a beetle, or an ant, try making a home for it based on what you learned. Collect the items you will need as you answer the questions below.
For an animal to be happy and healthy in its home, it needs food, water, shelter, and security. Observing an animal in its natural environment is one of the best ways to learn what an animal needs to survive and for you to make a home for it. However, animals also need to roam and generally need a larger territory than you can provide for it in a bug habitat, so it is best to release the bug back to nature after a couple of days.
Make a Bird's Nest
If you found a bird's nest in your neighborhood or park, don't touch it, but look at it carefully. What is it made of? How do you think a bird made it? To help get an idea of what great architects birds are, try your own hand at building a bird's nest, using the same materials birds use!
Was it hard getting all those materials to stick together and make the shape of a nest? Imagine building that nest using just a beak and in the branch of a tree! Isn't it amazing how well birds can build their own homes?
Why do fish love salt water?
- Because pepper makes them sneeze!
What's the nicest thing to say to a frog?
- Go jump in a lake!
What do you call a snail on a ship?
- A snailer.
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The environment in which an animal lives (its habitat) must provide water, food, shelter, and space. Its home must also make the animal feel protected from predators, harsh weather, and other threats.
Animal homes come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be found from the deepest depths of the ocean to the very top of a mountain. Some animal homes are easy to see, while others are camouflaged to protect them from predators. The structure of an animal's home depends on the type of animal, the environment it lives in, and what it needs to survive. Some homes are for just one animal or for a mother and her babies. Other homes are for a large group of animals to all live together.
Animal homes serve a variety of purposes. Many animals design their homes to trap heat in and keep the cold out, especially when there are babies living in the home, since baby animals cannot keep themselves warm like their parents can. Nests, dens, and burrows are examples of this type of home.
How to Apply It at Home
If you have a pet, use it as an example to discuss with children what animals need in order to have a home. Talk about an animal's need for shelter and fresh food and water. If you use wood shavings or sawdust as bedding for your pet, discuss how it makes a soft place for him to sleep, keeps him warm, and can be changed to help keep the pet's home clean.
Types of Animal Homes
There are many different types of animal homes. Here are some of the most common ones and the animals that use them.
Click here to download and print a free worksheet on animal homes.