If your children are interested in reptiles of all sorts, or if your child’s class at school has a reptile as a pet, then this theme day will help your family learn about these fascinating creatures.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do.
Download from your favourite music provider Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” to rock around the living room and kick off this theme day.
“Teasing Mr. Crocodile” http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/t002.html is a fun rhyme because when the crocodile snaps everyone claps their hands together like the crocodile mouth.
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “reptile coloring pages” or “Lizards,” “snakes,” “turtles,” or “alligator coloring pages” as well, or print out my Snake Colouring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in the family notebook or on a piece of paper to glue in your family scrapbook: What are reptiles? What are examples of reptiles? What type of reptile do you like the best?
Choose the level of your child:
Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and/or have your child draw a picture of the answer.
Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not).
Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story about a reptile.
NOTE: If there are any names in the word search puzzles that you and your children do not recognize then this is a good opportunity to look them up in the dictionary or online to see pictures of these creatures, or see if you can find them in some non-fiction reptile books (see below for examples).
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books on or about reptiles.
Go to the library with your child to find some books on reptiles.
Go to the library on your own to find books on reptiles from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject. Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try some of these nonfiction/learning titles if you can find them:
· My First Book About Reptiles, by Kama Einhorn and illustrated by Christopher Moroney, Random House, 2007 – Part of the Sesame Subjects series, this book will appeal to Preschoolers because it features the Sesame Street characters Grover and Elmo as they learn about reptiles.
· Reptiles of All Kinds, by Kelley MacAulay & Bobbie Kalman, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2005 – a great learning book with lots of photographs and easy to understand text. Try making the Reptile Memory Game at the back of the book to review all that you have learned during this Theme Day.
· Everything Reptiles: What Kids Really Want to Know About Reptiles, by Cherie Winner, NorthWord Press, 2004 – more detail about reptiles is given in this book as it answers numerous questions.
· Classifying Reptiles, by Richard & Louise Spilsbury, Heinemann Library, 2003 – a good book for older kids as it goes into more scientific detail (species, genus, family, order...) and looks closer at each of the four orders of reptiles.
Try some of these folktales for fun if you can find them:
· Go To Sleep, Gecko!: A Balinese Folktale, Retold by Margaret Read MacDonald and illustrated by Geraldo Valerio, August House LittleFolk, 2006 – fantastic acrylic illustrations adorn this book that tells the tale of a gecko who learns an important lesson about community when he complains that he cannot sleep.
· The Lizard and the Sun/ La Lagartija y el sol, by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Felipe Dávalos, A Doubleday Book For Young Readers, 1997 – a Mexican folktale about a lizard who saves the day by finding the hiding spot of the sun, told in English and in Spanish.
· Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from The Philippines, by Shirley Climo and Illustrated by Francisco X. Mora, Henry Holt and Company, 2008 - a fable from the Philippines about a noisy lizard and the eagle who outsmarts him.
Try some of these titles if you can find them:
· The Little Tuatara, by Robin Cunningham and illustrated by Samer Hatam, Haper Collins Publishing, 2005 – a tuatara befriends a petrol bird and learns about why he is special.
· Reptiles Are My life, story by Megan McDonald and pictures by Paul Brett Johnson, Orchard Books, 2001 – two girls who are best friends, one loves insects and the other reptiles, have their friendship tested when a new girl arrives at school who is also crazy about reptiles.
· Nate the Great and the Tardy Tortoise, by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Craig Sharmat, illustrated by Marc Simont, Delacorte Press, 1995 – A great beginning Reader book to challenge young readers as it has 42 pages about little Nate the Great, a boy detective who takes on the case of discovering where the tortoise he found in his garden actually lives.
REPTILE STICKER COLLAGE OR SCENE:
Materials: Green or other coloured paper, stickers with various reptiles on them (crocodiles, snakes, geckos etc. ) markers and crayons.
Step 1: Give your child the stickers and paper and have him/her either make a scene or a collage with them.
Step 2 (Optional): See if your child wants to embellish the picture with markers or crayons by drawing a setting for the reptiles.
PAPER CHAIN SNAKE:
Materials: coloured paper (whatever colour your child wants his/her snake to be), child-safe scissors, washable glue stick, markers, damp face cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Cut out the coloured paper into strips (whatever thickness or length you choose will determine what the snake looks like. As well, the amount made determines the snake’s length). (NOTE: your child’s age will determine whether or not you do all the cutting).
Step 2: Have your child glue on the end of one strip and curve it over to form a loop. Press the ends together and count to ten until the glue holds.
Step 3: Put glue on the end of another strip but this time when forming the loop string it through the first loop before pressing together.
Step 4: Continue to make loops attached together to form a chain as long as your child wants.
Step 5: Have your child draw eyes on the end loop of his/her snake.
Step 6: Cut out a thin red rectangle to use as a tongue and snip one end in the middle to make it forked.
Step 7: Attach tongue to the end loop with glue.
NOTE: For crafty kids who may want to try a more challenging art project try to find this book at your local library: Crafts for Kids Who Are Wild About Reptiles, by Kathy Ross and illustrated by Sharon Lane Holm, The Millbrook Press, 1998.
Some reptiles are herbivores, eating plants, but others are carnivores, eating mice, insects and even other lizards. When we were able to look after the First Grade pet Joey the Gecko we had to feed him live crickets! While those may be tasty for reptiles they’re not too appealing to us unless they are made out of sweet things like ice cream. Try one of these for a reptile themed treat:
Ingredients: bread, various toppings (peanut butter, honey, different jams, etc.)
Step 1: toast the bread.
Step 2: take one topping and spread only one stripe along the top of the toast.
Step 3: take another topping and spread another stripe beside the first.
Step 4: take another topping and spread another stripe beside the second.
Step 5: take the last topping and spread along the last topping
Easy Grasshopper Pie:
Ingredients: Half a 200 g box of chocolate wafer cookies (about 30 cookies), 5 cups vanilla ice-cream (half of a litre box of ice-cream), 1 tsp peppermint extract, 2 or 3 drops of green food coloring
Step 1: Crush the cookies in a re-sealable bag (kids like this crushing part) and spread the crumbs in a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan or a large rimmed glass or tin pie plate.
Step 2: In a food processor (or by hand in a large bowl after letting the ice cream soften for a bit) mix the ice cream, peppermint and food coloring. You may have to do this a few scoops at a time if your machine is smaller.
Step 3: Spread the ice cream over the crushed cookies in the cake/pie pan.
Step 4: Freeze for at least 6 hours before serving .
Print out my Types of Reptiles Chart and together with your child fill in the names of the four different types of reptiles. You can find the answers together by reading some non-fiction books from the library (or look online if you do not have access to any Reptile books).
Volunteer to bring home the class pet (if your class is lucky enough to have a reptile as a pet that is).
http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/ForKids/default.cfm - this kids page has a colouring page of a Komodo Dragon and photo puzzles of reptiles to play online.
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles.html - this National Geographic site has photos, info and videos or try their kid pages: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Animals/CreatureFeature/Anaconda
http://pelotes.jea.com/AnimalFact/Reptile/Reptile.htm - colour photos and information on some snakes, turtles, tortoises and terrapins
· Get on the floor and move like a reptile.
· Try to slither without legs as a snake does, either wiggling or moving sideways like a sidewinder.
· Try to move slowly like a turtle with a heavy shell.
· Be still like a crocodile and then attack!
· Run like a Bakilisk Lizard on two hind legs.
PLAY DOUGH OR CLAY SNAKES: Snakes are easy to make with clay or play dough. Have fun as a family with this tactile activity.
EDUCATIONAL GAME: See if you can find this cool card game, Professor Noggin’s Reptiles and Amphibians Card Game, at your local educational toy store http://www.professornoggin.com/games/10417-OS.html
Q: What is a snake’s favourite subject in school?
Q: What is the Gecko’s favourite movie?
A: The Lizard of Oz.
Q: What kind of tiles won’t stick to the floor?
Q: Why did the two boa constrictors get married?
A: Because they had a crush on each other.
Q: How did the snake sign his Valentine’s Day Card?
A: Hugs and Hisses.
If you have a child who likes arts and crafts have your child draw a picture for his/her favourite joke.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with various reptiles in them.
Try to find this non-fiction title at your local library:
Eyewitness Reptile, a co-production of BBC Wildvision, BBC Lionheart Television, and DK Vision in association with Oregon Public Broadcasting, 1994.
Explore the options around where you live and see if your local zoo has a reptile house and plan an outing to visit the reptiles one day.
Visit a pet store to look at various reptiles that can be pets.
Unknown type of lizards photographed in Italy.
Easy Grasshopper Pie
Paper Chain Snakes
Joey the Leopard Gecko from my son’s First Grade class.
Photo: Larry K
Photo: Larry K