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5 Cave Critters



Materials:

Five Cave Critters flannel board story
Flannel board pieces (created in advance): crawfish, blind cave fish, a bat, red spotted
salamander, a cave cricket, a large cave shape that all of the creatures will fit into
Large flannel board



Instructions:

1. Prepare all of your flannel board pieces, perhaps even laminate them.
2. It is really fun to start your circle time with this flannel board story:

Five Cave Critters
When walking through an old, damp cave,
I knew that I must be extremely brave.
For I was told that I would see,
Five different cave creatures right before me.
Water was trickling at my feet.
A crawfish snapped, it was really neat.
Next, I would see, down by the pool,
A blind cavefish, an orange jewel.
I heard a squeak and up I looked,
A baby bat in the rock was hooked.
Down on the floor, running through my light,
Was a red-spotted salamander, twinkling bright.
As I walked deeper into the cave,
A cave cricket hopped, but I was sooo brave.
Five unique creatures, I was lucky to see,
Maybe there are more, "Want to come with me?"

3. Copy the above story onto index cards so that it is easy to handle and not as obvious as a large sheet of paper during circle time.
4. Next, line up all the flannel board objects in the order in which you plan to use them. This helps to keep everything running smoothly.
5. Quickly prepare the children for a great surprise. Don't share anything about what they will be learning until after the story.
6. Start the story immediately. Be very enthusiastic!
7. After the story is completed ask the children open-ended questions to encourage their participation. This is an excellent way for children to share their thoughts and interests.
8. Encourage the children to handle and look at all the flannel board pieces. This gives them further opportunity to ask questions.

More to do
Art: Offer the children a variety of activities. Two favorites are bat ears and toilet paper tube bats. Make the bat ears by first drawing two bat's ears (which look like fat tear drops), making a head band to fit the child and then attaching the ears with the points facing out to the sides. The children can make the toilet paper tube bats by painting their toilet paper tubes a dark color (black, gray or brown). Allow them to dry, and then the children can cut out wings from tissue paper in a dark color. You can explain that the paper is fragile just like the bat wings. Then cut out a face, draw its features and attach both the wings and the face with white glue. Finally, hang the bats from the ceiling in your classroom.

Dramatic play: Turn the dramatic play center into a giant cave. Use a dark-colored blanket to cover the shelves in which you create "the cave." Keep a crate of important items you must never forget when cave exploring: flashlights, hard hats, binoculars, magnifying glasses, notepads and pencils for noting or drawing about all the lovely things you will see. Create a cave atmosphere with plastic creatures and flannel ponds, etc. Add small fossils and magnifying glasses, informative books (with lots of great pictures) from the local library, flashcards, pamphlets on local caves and other hands-on materials.
Book: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Science Activities for Children 3 to 6
Center: Science/Discovery/Nature
Topic: Animals
Content: Science
Area: Language
Age: 3 through 4 Years Old
Interaction: Large Group

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