Shelter for people and animals

For ages 3 – 8 years

Who needs shelter? Could it be the toy horse or a wallaby? Enjoy exploring the idea of shelter. Your child can get creative building their special toy animal its own shelter. Using materials from outside they are learning to investigate, assemble and invent.

People build shelters to suit different environments and weather conditions. We need shelter from the heat and the cold, the snow and the rain. Some animals build shelters, too, while other animals know how to look for them.

What do I need?

  • Bark, sticks and leaves
  • Feathers
  • Rocks
  • Grasses
  • Clay, playdough or sand
  • Toy animals (soft toys or figurines)

How do I do it?

  1. Talk about how people and animals all need shelter. Ask your child to think about:
  2. why they need shelter?
  3. what types of shelter they use?
  4. what can be used to build shelter?
  5. Before you build your own shelter, you and your child can watch a video of a Tasmanian Aboriginal family building a day shelter.
  6. Once you are ready to start, ask your child to help you spread the clay, playdough or sand to make a flat surface.
  7. Go for a walk outside and collect some objects – bark, sticks, feathers, rocks or whatever you can find.
  8. Now ask your child to choose a toy animal to build a shelter for, using the materials you have collected.
  9. Time to get creative! Allow your child to build the shelter for their toy
  10. Ask them to tell you all about the shelter they have created.  

Next time, you could try making a larger shelter outside. One that could fit people!

No-one knows your child better than you.  So, choose and/or adapt ideas here to best suit you and your child. Remember it’s the talking and time spent together that matters most.

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