Family Activity: The Forest of S.T. Shrew

The forest of S.T. shrewChildren take a “shrew’s-eye-view” of life in the woods to gain an appreciation for the many living things that make forests their homes, and for the variety of habitats within forests. 

Doing the Activity

A habitat is a place where an animal or plant lives and gets all the things it needs to survive, including food, water, shelter, and space to grow, breed, and raise young. Within any habitat there are smaller microhabitats. For example, a decaying log is a microhabitat within a larger forest habitat. The decaying log provides all essential elements for the many small animals and microorganisms that make the log their home.

Read “In the Forest of S.T. Shrew” to take children on a journey to the forest floor from the viewpoint of a small, and often overlooked, forest creature.

Ask the following questions:

  • What is a forest?
  • Have you ever visited a forest?
  • If so, what did you see? If not, what might you expect to see?
  • What do you enjoy most about forests?

Share images of the animals in the story. Have children seen them in nature before? If so, what were they doing? As you read the story, ask children to complete actions each time you reference a particular animal. For example, each time S.T. Shrew’s name is mentioned, have children wiggle their fingers by their faces to mimic a shrew’s whiskers. When the story is finished, invite children to draw pictures of events that took place or of their favorite character.

Finish the adventure by taking children on a walk through the woods. Look for microhabitats such as a fallen log, tree bark, or leaf litter. Ask: Are there other micro-habitats near your school? Near your home? In your own backyard?

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This family activity is adapted from Project Learning Tree’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide which can be obtained through an in-person professional development workshop or online course.

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