Kids love learning about the rainforest. There are so many plants and animals that live only in the rainforest biome and kids love to learn about nature that is different from what they've seen. When I taught my students about the rainforest I found so many unique activities to help the kids learn and I'm excited to share them with you!
Before I had my students do fun projects I wanted to make sure they had the basic knowledge about what is so unique about the rainforest. We read a couple of books and I helped them write notes about the climate, plants, and animals of the areas. Once they knew about what lives there and had an understanding of the layers of the rainforest the students were ready for the fun! First they applied their new knowledge by drawing the layers and populating them with animals that live there. This is a great way to check for understanding as well as have children draw things they aren't used to.
After all the book work we had fun with creating our own little rainforests in jars. The students enjoyed creating their own layers and learning how the terrariums would keep their plants alive. They also got to express themselves with the decorations. Apparently there are cats and dogs in our rainforests! I got all the pieces except for the plants at the dollar store so it was a fun, inexpensive project to wrap up the unit.
When kids learn about the rainforest they always like to see all the unique insects that live there. We've been doing a lot more work on insects since then and the students are constantly surprised by how much we really need those little guys! I found a fun rainforest themed recipe here.
Any time I see a way to add a little food project into class I grab it. Kitchen skills are so important for everyone so they might as well start early! And this snack is healthy as an added bonus.
First we chopped the bananas and coated them in peanut butter. This part was incredibly messy and the kids thought it was easier if I globbed the peanut butter on their hands and they spread it on the bananas with their fingers! Don't worry, the one on the left isn't really crying. He just hates having messy hands.
Once the bananas were coated in peanut butter the boys rolled them in granola. I got coconut granola to keep with the tropical theme, but any granola your kids will eat works. This was messy too so the kids got an extra lesson on kitchen cleanliness. Just after one year of this class though the kids all know not to touch anything while cooking so they don't spread germs. They always sing "Happy Birthday" twice through while scrubbing.
Finally, we put pretzels in the bananas to be the spiders' legs. This was a little tricky because the kids all wanted to make sure there were 8 legs and if they pushed too hard the bananas split. So if you try these at home make sure the kiddos don't push too hard on their pretzels. Some of the boys chose to add raisins for eyes too. Then we got to eat! Yummy!