Teaching Preschoolers About Camouflage
Camouflage Lesson Plans for Pre K
Pre K students are fascinated by insects and animals, and are natural explorers. In this science lesson for a Pre K classroom, the students will learn scientific vocabulary about camouflage, and will learn about how insects and animals can camouflage themselves through a hands on science experience. From the lesson, students will be able to draw their own conclusions about how camouflage works.
This science lesson about camouflage lends itself nicely to a study about bugs or animals. In this way, the lesson can be done at any time of the year. If possible, bring a praying mantis into the classroom for the students to observe while the camouflage study is underway.
Gather students to the meeting area. Select an object in the classroom that matches the color of one of the students' shirts. Call the student forward. Hold the object near the student's shirt and ask the other students to name what the object is. For example, a red block against a red shirt. Next, select the same object in a different color, for example a black block against the red shirt, and ask the students to tell you if it is harder or easier to see than the red one. They should be able to say that the red block was harder to see, because it "hid" against the red shirt. If necessary, practice a few times with other colors.
Next, define "camouflage" with the students. Tell students that some animals and insects are able to camouflage themselves by changing color. Have them repeat and clap the word camouflage several times. Tell them that the animal or insect's ability to camouflage itself helps the insect or animal to be safe, which is a bit like a game of hide and seek; it helps them to hide better.
There are several books to read and show pictures to the Pre K level about camouflage. As this science lesson lends itself to a week long study about camouflage, one book can be read per day, and repeated.
Animal Camouflage: Hide-and-Seek Animals by, Janet McDonnell.
Backyard Insects by, Ronald Goor and Millicent Ellis Selsam.
The Mixed-Up Chameleon by, Eric Carle. Please note that a Chameleon may change its color for reasons other than surroundings.
Before beginning the activity, gather these materials:
Plastic tubs (or a water table/discovery table can be used)
Easter grass (available all year from Amazon) in green, and any color that the bugs or animals can "hide" in.
Any other medium that students could dig in (popcorn kernels, red beans, rice)
Small objects, small toy animals and small toy insects in a variety of colors.
The fun part of this lesson is that it can be done over a week, so that each medium can be used, and each student has the time to explore for hidden animals, insects and toys. You could even do one color a day (for example, soil is brown, sand is tan, grass is green and so on).
Hide the objects in the medium that are the same color. For example, hide brown animals or bugs in the soil, green animals or insects in the grass and so on.
Let students dig to discover the camouflaged animals, insects and/or objects.
Optional: add to the adventure by putting one object of a different color in the medium for the students to find.
Review the Lesson
Bring students back to the meeting area and discuss what was discovered. How hard or easy was it? Can the students tell you what the word camouflage means?
Extend the lesson:
Have students draw pictures of the medium used and what they discovered.
Let students camouflage their objects around the classroom.
Pre K students are sure to have hours of fun learning about camouflage. Be sure to take pictures and post them in your science or discovery center. Add the pictures the students drew. This hands-on learning experience is certain to prepare them for future science experiments about the natural world around them.