Summer Activity: Kids Can Learn About Animals in Their Own Backyard!

As coronavirus precautions have most students limited to taking walks, going on short trips to the park with their closest friends and family, or spending more quality time in their own backyards, summer education may seem a bit challenging—but there are still lots of ways students can observe and learn about the truly amazing abilities of animals they likely see every day. An easy way to help kids relate to other species and see that they’re “like us, only different,” is to have them consider the fascinating traits, capabilities, and hidden lives of animals in their very own neighborhoods.

Encourage students to engage in this animal scavenger hunt. Order our FREE stickers to give to those who find all 15!

TeachKind Reward Stickers

Instructions for Students

In your own backyard, while on a picnic with your family, or when taking a walk this summer, notice the amazing animals all around you. Be sure not to touch, bother, or get too close to wild animals—just watch them from a distance. See if you can spot all 15 on this list:

  • Geese have 13 different calls—they honk to give warnings, say hello, and even express happiness. How do you express happiness? How similar or different is your way of showing happiness from a goose’s way?
  • These animals go “bzzz bzzz,” and sometimes people are afraid of them, but bees are truly amazing. They have a complicated social system, can remember colors and landmarks, and can recognize different types of flowers, shapes, and patterns. Just like us, they can make plans and decisions and understand concepts like time. Honeybees play an important part in our ecosystem, and we should never hurt them.
  • These animals have eight legs—and when we spot one in the house, we should think of them as roommates, not pests. Did you know that some male spiders pluck their webs like a guitar to attract females? Pretty cool!
  • Deer are gentle and intelligent. Did you know that baby deer (also called fawns) stay close to their moms for two years before going out on their own? You probably like to be close to your family, too!

  • These little guys are all around us—and because they’re so small, their abilities may be hard to believe. But ants can carry up to 20 times their own weight. That’s some super humanant strength!
  • In a bad mood or feeling sad? Dogs can tell! Studies show that they can do this by paying attention to how your voice sounds, how you smell, and the look on your face. And we know dogs can be very comforting to us, so this is really no surprise!
  • Did you know that many birds, like pigeons, have great memories? Pigeons care about their family, stay with the same mate for life, and can even recognize themselves in a mirror.
  • Just like humans, frog fathers watch their babies closely and protect them. Some species of frog dads even swallow their babies when danger is near and spit them back out again when it’s safe! Frogs belong in nature—don’t ever catch them and take them away from their homes outdoors.

  • Your parents tell you to eat your greens, right? Then you have something in common with rabbits—they eat greens like grass, clover, wildflowers, and vegetable plants. Rabbits sometimes live underground in burrows with lots of tunnels that they dig for safety.
  • When moths want to signal each other, they use light patterns that only other moths can see. Do you have a secret language that you use with someone special?
  • How long can you hold your breath? Some kinds of turtles can hold theirs for 100 days under the ice!
  • Crows and ravens are very smart birds. The crows in your neighborhood might remember your face after seeing you for a few days—and they can also remember if you ever seemed like a threat. Ravens have shown that they can use tools to get food and solve problems, just like us.
  • You learn a lot as a kid, and you’ll remember some of it forever. Butterflies are the same way—they can even remember things they learned when they were caterpillars!
  • If you’re hungry, you might wander into your kitchen looking for a snack, right? Worms can think and make decisions based on what they want, too! We have so many things in common with even the smallest animals!
  • Even though they look really different from us, snails and humans have a lot in common. These small animals can remember the smells of good things to eat and can also smell danger.

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For more animal-friendly activities to help keep your students busy all summer long, check out PETA Kids’ Animal Rights Summer Activity Choice Boards!

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind