Make Tiny Friends

The bodies of tiny critters are truly amazing! This week at Tinkergarten Anywhere, we'll move our bodies just some tiny critter friends move their bodies to communicate.  Then we'll use forest putty and the natural materials around us to build models of these amazing creatures or critters from our imaginations!

The Guide

Step 1: Gather materials and make forest putty.

To help kids make models of tiny critters, try out our easy recipe for forest putty (homemade play-dough) or gather some store-bought play-dough or even mud! Have a variety of nature treasures on hand that kids can use to build their critters (e.g. sticks, leaves, acorns, pine cones, grasses, stones). If you'd like, you can also print out these printable Critter Movement cards to inspire kids' playful movement.

Step 2: Watch the Tinkergarten Anywhere Critter Camp video lesson.

Hop into your My Tinkergarten trial dashboard to watch the Critter Camp video lesson. Kids can watch how Meghan and other explorers move and communicate like tiny friends, then get inspired to play like tiny critters and make their own critter models!

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Step 3: Search for tiny friends.

Critters can be found in all parts of the world, under ground, in the sky, inside our homes and outside. Head outside and search for tiny friends in your biome. Read our Critter Hunt DIY for tips on where to search. Talk together about the shapes of the different body parts you see. Notice how each body part helps the tiny friend to move, gather food, etc.

Step 4: Move and communicate like tiny friends.

Invite kids to try moving like some of the tiny friends they saw on their critter hunt. How do they think these movements might help critters communicate with other tiny friends? You can also use these printable Critter Movement cards to help kids learn how some tiny friends communicate and to inspire playful movement.

Step 5: Make your own tiny friends.

Offer a ball of forest putty. Say, “I wonder if we could use this to make a tiny critter’s body?” Offer a collection of nature treasures. “What could we use to make those parts of the critter?” As kids build models of real or imaginary tiny friends, ask them about their critters, how they move and how they might communicate.  Try out moving like them, too!
Want more ideas? Try out some of these critter-themed activities:

Why is this activity great for kids?

Learning about the ways that tiny critters use their bodies to communicate and giving kids a chance to move and play like critters can help kids learn how all creatures, including humans, communicate through body language. Mashing and molding the dough, blending pebbles and dirt into it, or sticking sticks into it are great examples of the connecting and transforming schema, universal behavior patterns that experts know develop the human body and brain. As kids use their hands to change the shape of forest putty and connect treasures to it, they are also practicing bending and blending, two important creative actions. Finally, learning about and moving like the critters we share our space with supports kids' empathy for tiny friends.

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