It’s not always easy to give children active exploration of a wildlife habitat as soon as their interest is peaked, but there are plenty of activities you can do at home. Wildlife cave play is just one of the many!
Miss L became interested in caves after reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. Here are seven ways you can bring caves and the wildlife found in them to your place.
1. Visit the Library
Borrow books related to caves and display them around the house. Some great picture books include: We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland. Non fiction Books: Life in a Cave by Oliver Clare.
2. Build a Cave
Together, grab a few chairs and lots of sheets/blankets. Make the cave really, really dark!
3. Re-enact ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’
We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ll have to go through it! Put a big teddy bear at the back of the cave. Tiptoe through the cave and let your child feel for the bear. Ask your child ‘What can you feel?’ They might want to do this more than once (we did it eight times!).
4. Research Cave-dwelling Animals
Show children that non-fiction books, even just looking at the pictures, can give us information. Some great open-ended questions to ask your child include: What animals are found in caves? Why do they live in caves? What part of a cave do they like best? Which animal do you like the most and why?
Millipede: We used pipe cleaners for the body and cut a second pipe cleaner in segments. We twisted the segmented pieces onto the body to make legs and the antenna.
Cricket: We made a cricket by using a toilet roll for the body, bottle cap for the head and pipe cleaners for legs and antenna.
Bats: We used black paper for the body and yellow paper for the eyes.
Glow worms: We cut out a glow worm body using yellow paper, stuck glow-in-the-dark stickers on their bottoms and used an old necklace with Schwarzkopf beads to make the web that they create. See our other post about glow worms – What’s Slimy, Tiny and Glows out of its Hiney?
6. Become a Cave Explorer
Hide the creatures in the cave and have your child find them with a torch.
7. Become a Cave Tour Guide
Are Grandparents coming over? Don’t destroy the cave… yet! Ask your child if he/she would like to show them through the cave. If they love this idea, perhaps encourage making some information signs and VIP tour badges for the grandparents.
Our wildlife cave play activity lasted for two weeks and was used for numerous play and learning activities. There are endless wildlife homes to explore, so if you can’t give your child a real-life habitat experience right now, do it at home. There’s always time for a follow up visit to the real thing later!
Here’s hoping Miss L decides possums are her next favourite thing. How I would love to curl up with her in a home-made possum dray (nest) on these chilly winter days.
Want more cave play?
All about Caves. This link includes information on stalactites, stalagmites, types of caves, wildlife found in caves and much more.