Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rainforest Habitat Small World

I have wanted to create a Rainforest Habitat for a couple weeks now, but I debated a lot about how I would present it. The main issue was that I didn't want it to be so dense that they couldn't find anything in it, which is exactly how a real rainforest looks. So I decided to work on it in parts, since I knew I couldn't add too many layers to our Rainforest Habitat because, knowing Munchkin, I predicted that it would all be pulled out and dumped on the floor.

Now, I wanted to add a layer of coffee grinds to the bottom, but it's raining out and all the plants were damp, so I didn't want the coffee grinds to stick to their hands (which they would hate). We will add coffee grinds next time when we take a closer look at the rainforest floor. For now we focused on the understory, which is the layer of the rainforest between the forest floor and the canopy. In the understory the leaves are wide to catch as much sunlight as they can manage, so I collected a couple plants with wide leaves. This layer is dark and humid, which is why I didn't bother to dry off the plants. It had just rained, after all.

However, just to note, we did add three animals that didn't quite belong in the understory: a gorilla, an orangutan and a white Bengal tiger. Gorillas and Bengal tigers live on the rainforest floor and orangutans live in the canopy. But I knew that while Bean would enjoy playing with the lizards and bugs, Munchkin would have more fun playing with his Little People animals. So they are in the bin for him.

Once again we discussed camouflage and I asked Bean if she could find some of the animals that were camouflaged. The two green lizards hiding out in the trees were camouflaged really well.

But the white Bengal tiger stood out (despite his best efforts to hide).

As did the blue snake.

And the pink lizard.

That poor pink lizard didn't stand a chance! But he was released unharmed by the predator Bean, after being tasted. Turns out he was a poisonous pink lizard, no wonder why he didn't bother to hide!

We talked about what sounds the animals make (or don't make) and what they eat. Orangutans eat fruit and occasionally tree bark, leaves, and even bugs! We settled on orangutans saying, "Ook." But she quickly moved on to the tiger, who likes meat like her.

Munchkin ended up collecting all of the Little People animals, as I assumed he would, and played with them outside of the box.

Bean spotted the different flowers I had put in the bin and we talked about the types of animals, birds and bugs that like flowers. This is a red clover and isn't found in the rainforest, however it is still tasty, since Kaede decided to eat them all.

Bean tasted it too and said she liked it. :)

Here the orangutan and gorilla are talking. The orangutan looks confused and I asked Bean why. She said, "Kaede eats," and pointed to Kaede eating the red clovers.

I believe the tables have turned and the tiger has a new friend. Although by this point, Munchkin has demolished half of the understory. The orangutan is sad. 

Bean was also fascinated by all the different plants that were in the bin and we talked about each one. We used words like long, short, wide, and thin to separate them. I told her why leaves had to be wide in the understory so they could catch sunlight shining through the canopy. For this big piece of grass she kept repeating, "no rain."

The understory was the easy part! I can't wait for them to discover who lives on the rainforest floor and in the canopy!

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