Where do Animals Live?

In this lesson, the children will classify different animals based on where animals live in the neighborhood.

Content Area:

Curiosity and Wonder

Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Understand that living things grow and change
  • Understand that living things rely on the environment and/or others to live and grow

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Observing, investigating, describing and categorizing living things
  • Showing an awareness of changes that occur in oneself and the environment
  • Describing and comparing the basic needs of living things
  • Showing respect for living things

Where do Animals Live?

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • Chart Paper
  • Photos of Different Animals

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 2: Introduce activity.

  1. During large-group time, ask the children if they know different places that animals could live.
  2. Invite the children to share where they have seen animals in the neighborhood.
  3. Introduce photos of different animals that the children may have seen in the neighborhood.
  4. Invite the children to share ideas about where they have seen these animals and where they might live.

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. In small groups, invite the children to share their ideas about where these animals might live.
  2. Ask the children: “Where have you seen a squirrel (or another animal)? Do you think they live where you saw them?”
  3. Invite the children to sort and classify photos of animals based on where they think they might live.
  4. On a piece of chart paper, create columns of this classification system that the children have developed. Invite the children to write the titles of these places where animals live—such as underground, in trees, in the water, in houses—on the chart
  5. Engage the children in conversations about what animals would need if they lived in these different areas.
  6. Invite them to place the photos of the animals on the chart as they discuss each animal.
  7. After placing all of the photos on the chart, invite the children to make conclusions about the different animals and their habitats. (For example, “Do all animals with wings live in trees?”)

Step 4: Vocabulary.

Habitat: Where animals live

Classify: To arrange objects by rules or shared attributes or characteristics

Conclude: To make statements about what was learned after an observation or experiment

Early Science Glossary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Have an emerging expressive vocabulary to describe animals and may not fully express connections between animals and their habitats
Child care providers may:
  • Ask the children to match the animal photos with photographs of neighborhood habitats (places in the neighborhood where these animals might live)
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Be interested in extending these ideas to how animals build their homes
Child care providers may:
  • Take children on neighborhood walks to find animals in their homes and discuss what these homes are made of
  • Give the children a variety of materials, such as leaves and sticks, to make their own animal homes

Suggested Books

  • Henrietta’s First Winter by Rob Lewis
  • A Grand Old Tree by Mary Newell DePalma
  • Who Lives in a Tree? by Christie Matheson

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

  • Take a neighborhood walk to observe animals

Web Resources

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