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Make and Play Snakes

Age: 0 to 8+
Time: Under 1 hour
Materials: clay, forest putty, and small nature treasures (pebbles, acorns, etc)

Did you know snakes can “see” heat and “hear” with their jaws? Snakes have such marvelous superpowers and kids can learn a lot from these slithering friends. Here are some ways to help kids be wise to the dangers of snakes but also appreciative of all that they have to offer!

The Guide

Learn more about snakes

Here are a few of our favorite sites you can visit with kids to learn more about snakes:

Make snakes

Rolling substances like clay or forest putty into snakes is something that is equal parts attainable, satisfying and engaging for many young kids. What makes forest putty special is that it's made to mix and mingle with nature treasures! You can just enjoy rolling snake-shapes or pressing nature treasures into your “snake” to make patterns. You can see many examples of wonderful snake patterns on a site like iNaturalist.

You can also make snakes by laying out small nature treasures like pebbles, leaves, acorns or woodchips in a line or spiral. This act of putting objects in a sequence or line is not only relaxing and engaging, it's one of a series of behaviors that universally captivate kids during play. Search for which snakes live in your area and look for images of their patterns to get some inspiration and learn about the snakes near you!

Move (a bit) like snakes

Snake’s bodies are amazing, and it’s impossible to replicate their locomotion with our human bodies. But, it can be great fun (and even good for our kids motor development) to get on the floor and just try to move around on our bellies. If you have a baby in the family, have fun empathizing with their point of view, too!

Remember to have fun sticking out tongues, too!

Be mindful snakes

Learn a bit about the yoga pose often called “cobra” pose, then give it a try together. As part of our Wellness series, we created this direction card to help grown ups introduce the pose to kids and understand some of its benefits.

Note: Snakes can carry very different meanings within different cultural contexts. If snakes are not a celebratory match for you and your family, just have fun creating or playing like another creature that you see in your summer biome or that intrigues you or your child.

Why is this activity great for kids?

It’s sometimes easier to connect to some animals than it is others, but all creatures have incredible value to our ecosystems. Snakes have played an important role in stories and in various cultures —plus they have incredible animal superpowers that can spark curiosity, joyful play, and a healthy appreciation for all creatures in young children.

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