Design Challenge: Creating Animal Habitats

What You Need:

  • Access to a computer or encyclopedia to conduct research

  • Pen and paper for notetaking

  • A designated space for your child to create an animal habitat


What You Do:

  1. Explain to your child that they're going to research an animal that they would like to learn more about. Then, they are going to create a miniature or kid-sized version of that animal’s habitat in their home and imagine what it’s like to be inside of it.

  2. Ask your child to choose an animal they would like to research. Maybe they’d like to investigate their favorite animal, or an animal that they don’t know much about.

  3. After your child decides the animal they want to research, ask them to clearly plan what they want to learn. Your child can research anything they’d like to know, but they must also look for specific information about the animal’s habitat. Make sure to reiterate that they will be recreating the animal’s habitat, so that your child knows what to focus on.

  4. Give your child a computer or electronic device to conduct their research with, or give them an encyclopedia. While your child researches, have them take notes on a piece of paper about the animal’s habitat.

  5. After your child has finished researching about the animal and its habitat, guide them to a designated location where they can recreate their animal's habitat using materials you have in your home. Clearly define which household materials they are allowed to use, and which are off-limits.

  6. Have your child repeat the instructions, and ask them if they have any questions. Then, allow them to start building.

  7. Once your child has finished building their habitat, ask them to explain it to you in detail. While your child explains, ask them questions that encourage them to reflect on their research. For example, ask them:

    • What parts of your habitat are similar to the habitat of the real-life animal?

    • How is your habitat different from that of the real animal? 

    • What does it feel like to be inside of the animal’s habitat?


If your child created a large habitat, allow them to spend some time inside their habitat. You could suggest that they read or complete other activities while inside.

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