It’s starting to warm up here in Australia, which means snakes are getting active once again. Don’t all shudder when I say that – snakes are awesome, truly! Celebrate these slithery creatures with some snake activities for kids.
We have the top ten most venomous snakes in Australia, and although they all play an important role in the environment, it does mean that there are risks, too.
So, as a result, I’ve decided to write two posts on this topic. This post will cover activities to encourage snake appreciation, and the next will cover what you can do to teach your child how to stay snake safe in a fun and snake-friendly way.
Let’s get into part 1!
Why should we appreciate snakes?
- Snakes have ecological value. They are silent predators of the world and keep the animal population in balance. Imagine how many rats and mice we would have living in our houses if we didn’t have snakes to keep them under control?
- They are beautiful. Okay, I know some of you may not agree with me… but one quick internet search of ‘snakes’ reveals an array of vibrant colours and patterns. Why do you think so many handbags replicate snake skin?! Fear factor aside, snake skin is one of nature’s most intricate beauties.
- Snakes have helped and are still helping to create medicines that help people:
-The Brazilian pit viper is one of the deadliest snakes of the jungle, but a blood pressure drug made from a protein in its venom has extended the lives of millions of people.
– More recently, researchers have begun exploring the potential cancer-fighting properties of certain snakes venoms (Animals in Research, cited 2012)
Snake Activities for Kids
1. Snake Crafts
Here’s some of our popular snake crafts:
2. Learn about snakes through play
We used our crafty critters to act like snakes and do what snakes like to do best—laze in the sun, hide under debris and eat mice! You could use stuffed toys, rubber snakes or even dress up like a snake yourself.
3. Read some great books about snakes
Here are some wonderful snake-friendly books:
- Verdi by Janell Canon
- Wonder Why Snakes Shed Their Skin by Amanda O’neill
- Snakes by Rachel Griffiths
- S-S-snakes by Lucille Recht Pennerby
- Hide and Snake by Keith Baker
4. Always talk about snakes in a positive light
Many parents don’t realise they are creating a fear in their child just by modelling negative attitudes toward snakes. Try to remember this as you discuss snakes and other animals – we have a lot of influence over the attitudes our children develop.
5. Discuss a snake’s role in the environment
Why do you think snakes are important? Create a food web or food chain and see what role snakes play with other animals in the environment.
6. Ask questions and research snakes
What would happen if snakes were taken out of the environment? Why do they need the sun to warm up? Why do you think they have scales all over their body?
What do you think it would be like to eat something when you have no hands? Do you think it would be funny if we shed our skin all at once?
7. Visit these snake websites
- Snake Facts – Learn more about snakes here.
- Reptile Games aplenty – With lots of snake fun!
- Online Snake Game – (children 8 +) the snake needs to eat a certain number of mice to move to the next level. A word of warning, it’s quite realistic.
8. Get Closer
It’s a great sensory thrill to touch a snake. They look wet because of the sheen on their scales but they are dry and they are cold to touch because they are cold-blooded.
If your child gets the opportunity to touch a captive and well-handled snake, do it. Don’t push your child if they don’t want to, though – it’s natural to be hesitant about touching a snake. Pushing can sometimes worsen a fear.
Remind your child that the snake is safe to touch. Touching the snake yourself can encourage them to give it a go too.
I’ve been working with captive snakes for 10 years and have never been bitten (yet), so they are very safe and the snakes used are always pythons and have no venom.
I hope you love these sssuper snake activities for kids!
Does your child love snakes? What do you do to appreciate animals that have a bad reputation?