Wildlife habitats

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By Hilary WhiteEducational writer

If you go down to the woods today… you can try all of these brilliant beastie activities!


In this article:

  1. Minibeasts welcome
  2. Wildlife diary
  3. Cross-curricular activities

Minibeasts welcome

Encourage creatures to visit your setting by creating some natural outdoor habitats

Knowledge and Understanding of the World – Exploration and Investigation

Development matters: Show an interest in why things happen (22–36 months); Show curiosity and interest in the features of objects and living things (30–50 months).

Early learning goal: Find out about, and identify, some features of living things, objects and events they observe.

What you need

A selection of natural materials, such as leaves, bark, twigs and stones; magnifying glasses and bug viewers; minibeast reference books; materials for making signs.

What to do

  • Make a number of different habitats to attract minibeasts to your outdoor area. Try piles of bark, twigs and pine cones, old logs, empty plant pots with leaves and straw, heaps of stones and a few bricks with holes for insects to hide in.
  • Place most of the habitats in undisturbed corners, preferably in shady areas. Place some on a hard surface, some on soil and some on grass. Tie twigs into a bundle and hang them from a tree or a fence. Place a couple of the habitats in noisy, exposed areas of your setting.
  • Explain to the children the importance of leaving the habitats undisturbed. Encourage children to make signs for any habitats near activity areas, to remind everyone not to disturb them.
  • Leave the habitats for a couple of weeks before checking to see if any creatures have taken up residence. Use magnifying glasses and bug viewers to study the creatures and use minibeast reference books to help the children identify finds.
  • Explore which habitats seem to be the most popular with the minibeasts – and check whether a particular minibeast seems to prefer a specific type of habitat. Does it make a difference if the habitats are placed on a hard surface, soil or grass? Check the habitats in exposed parts of the setting. Do the minibeasts appear to prefer quiet or noisy areas?
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