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WOW-Mission Survive

It's a tough time for many just surviving a long winter. For us it might be the grey skies or driveway shovelling, but for animals they are thinking shelter and warmth.


We notice the critters who are active in winter; those crisscrossing yards, raiding birdfeeders or circling high above our heads. These are adapters with thick protective coverings and food sources to chase down. Many other animals slow down their bodies and find ways to insulate themselves against the cold. Today we will think about ways animals might do this, recreate it, and test out the best choices to survive. You will need to bring along a plastic container with some water and a ladybug sized object.

Why ❓

Understanding the challenging lives of animals creates that CONNECTION to the bigger world. This builds strong feelings about conservation and protection of species even in very young children.

How 🌲

Talk about some animals that rest or are dormant around your neighbourhood in winter. We talk about snakes, insects, mammals like raccoons or skunks, and some of our rodent friends who slow down their body functions and find protection to survive the winter. You can start even before leaving your home. As you dress, chat about the layers that are keeping you warm. How are they doing that? See if you can tuck in the word 'insulation' to describe these layers keeping us cozy.

On your walk check into places animals may be sheltering from the cold like holes, under loose bark, openings in logs or under the leaf litter. Do some poking around, reaching in, guiding sticks along passages.

Now introduce ladybug in the container. Explain that ladybugs find places out of the elements (like your house) and group together while they enter a dormant state. Ask your child about where ladybug might find the best place so she doesn't freeze. We will know she has frozen if the water in the container turns to ice. I love to add temperature reading and recording in this activity depending on the age group.

Get constructing, making an insulated home using natural materials. If there is snow, that's great insulation or you may find wet leaves, twigs, bark etc. Guide the thinking about insulation using your clothing layers as an example. You may want to make a couple different insulated homes to test out which is most effective.

Take a initial temperature reading and then tuck ladybug in and walk away. Leave this for hours or days and return to check in. Is the water still liquid or is ice forming. Do you need to make upgrades to the dwelling to keep ladybug alive?

Next Step🪜

This activity can also lead to daily weather forecasting and also be a great tool for problem solving for small groups and partners. Keeping their ladybug alive becomes a survival mission where inventiveness shines!


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