Activity 6: Growing a Rainforest in Our Classroom

Activity 6: Growing a Rainforest in Our Classroom

Overview 

After exploring the rainforest through all five senses, students will create a rainforest mural depicting the wonders of this unique habitat. Encourage them to include information on what they would see, smell, taste, touch and hear in the rainforest.

  • Large butcher paper
  • Crayons
  • Finger paint
  • Additional art materials

Make me a tree

Make me a tree

  1. Lay a large piece of butcher paper (about 6 feet long) on a flat surface.
  2. Then ask a child to lie down in the middle of the paper with his or her legs together and arms spread out. Trace around the child. Do the same for the other children.
  3. Then invite the children to turn the outlines of themselves into trees by making their feet “grow” into roots and by adding limbs, twigs, leaves and seeds.
  4. Create a mural of your class’ forest and point out the different levels of the rainforest represented by the different heights of the trees.
  5. Make smaller rainforest plants for the understory using a finger painting tree activity.
  6. Sing a rainforest song together, such as the “Layers in the Forest” to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it”:

    Layers in the Forest

    There are layers in the forest, yes indeed
    Yes indeed (kids love to shout this part!)
    There are layers in the forest, yes indeed
    Yes indeed
    Emergent, canopy and the understory
    There are layers in the forest.
    Yes indeed!
    The emergent's home to birds and butterflies
    Butterflies!
    The emergent's home to birds and butterflies
    Butterflies!
    The trees are so high that they almost touch the sky
    The emergent's home to birds and butterflies.
    Butterflies!
    The canopy is like a big umbrella
    Big Umbrella
    The canopy is like a big umbrella
    Big Umbrella
    Monkeys, sloths, orangutan
    Eat all the fruit they can
    The canopy is like a big umbrella
    Big Umbrella!
    The Understory's home to many snakes
    Many snakes!
    The understory's home to many snakes
    Many snakes!
    They eat cats and rats and bats
    And they like the gnats for snacks
    The understory's home to many snakes!
    Many Snakes!
    The Forest Floor is dim and dark and wet
    Dark and wet
    The forest floor is dim and dark and wet
    Dark and wet
    The ants go marching by as they watch the birds up high,
    The forest floor is dim and dark and wet.
    Dark and wet!

Add animals to your tree mural:

  • Create rainforest snakes using old ties!

    Materials:
    • an old tie
    • craft stuffing or recycled clothing
    • a hot glue gun
    • red felt
    • googley eyes
    Directions:
    • Collect old ties.
    • Have the kids stuff the tie with craft stuffing or recycled cloths. Stuff from both ends and use a pencil or stick to help reach the middle.
    • Glue the small end closed.
    • Cut out tongues from the red felt.
    • Glue the tongues under the point on the big end of the tie.
    • Stuff some craft stuffing to fill up the snakes’ head and glue the wide end closed.
    • Glue on large googley eyes on the top of the snakes head (the top of the big area).

    ** If you want the snake to be bendable: take wire (possibly from a hanger) and fold over the ends with needle nose pliers so no sharp points can be felt. Then place it into the tie before stuffing with the craft stuffing.

  • Create hopping tree frogs using recycled juice boxes:
  • Encourage children to color and cut out animals from the Rainforest Alliance coloring pages.
  • To place the animals into your forest mural, ask your students:
    • How does this animal move?
    • What kind of food does this animal eat?
    • Where do you think this animal would find its food?
    • In which layer do you think this animal lives?
  • Add animals to the right rainforest level on the class mural.
  • Encourage children to draw rainforest products found in the mystery boxes and add them to the mural.
  • Play “I Spy” with the mural.