Dinosaur Woods is the perfect book to begin a conservation lesson for kids. The animals in the story are about to lose their forest home. They come up with an idea to save it. What ideas do your kids have for saving the forest?
Dinosaur Woods by George McClements
Dinosaur Woods: Can Seven Clever Critters Save Their Forest Home? (affiliate link) is a hilarious book because of all of the added speech bubbles and silly names and animal antics. Some of the humor was lost on my 6 year old, but he still really liked this book. Seven animals (including a Himalayan Frost Bear, Crabby-Faced Punching Rabbits, and a Left-Footed Klutz Deer) come up with a plan to build a dinosaur. Because “no way they’ll tear down our home if they think a dinosaur lives here!” They succeed in building the dinosaur and scare away some of the construction workers. People come from far and wide to see the dinosaur. That’s when a mistake is made and the robot comes crashing to the ground revealing the animals inside. The animals were endangered or extinct, so scientists created a nature preserve for them and called it Dinosaur Woods.
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A Conservation Lesson for Kids
The book introduces several conservation topics and vocabulary words – habitat destruction, endangered, extinct, preserve, and protected. Talk about these words as you read the book. Here are some questions you can ask:
- What is going to happen to the animals home? Why? (People want to cut down the forest to build a factory.)
- What will happen to the animals?
- What does endangered mean? (The animals are in danger of extinction. Their numbers are low or their habitat/where they live is small.)
- What does extinct mean? (That type of animal/plant/organism is no longer living anywhere in the world.) You might also talk about Milton, the snake, being considered extinct. Sometimes scientists classify a species as extinct but then find a small number of them somewhere (usually in a place where people don’t go very often).
- What did the scientists do to help the animals? (They created a nature preserve. This means the animals’ habitat/home is now protected and can’t be destroyed.)
- What can you/we do to help save animals? (create protected areas, keep our Earth clean, educate others – zoos help do this)
Build a Dinosaur
The last pages of the book invite the reader to build their own dinosaur puppet out of recycled paper. We chose to build dinosaurs out of LEGO.
Then, we grabbed some animals and reenacted the story.
Make Conservation Posters
A good way to help endangered animals is to educate others about the problem. When people learn about an animal’s plight (especially a cute animal they love), they are more likely to support conservation efforts. Teaching children about the importance of protecting and preserving our environment is paramount to our future. Having them make conservation posters is a fun way to connect with the animals and share with others. My son and one of his friends spent a good part of the afternoon learning about endangered animals and creating posters for them. Here’s a sample of what they created. They want to hang the posters up outside for the neighbors to see.
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- Ecology for Kids: Food Chain Lesson
- 22 Outdoor Science Experiments and Activities
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Trisha is an educator with a passion for science literacy and mom to Aiden, Lily, and Elon.
She’s the creator of Inspiration Laboratories, a blog dedicated to encouraging learning through creativity and play.