The Food Chain: fun & educational activities for kids

Our 4 (almost 5) year old son is so excited to learn about everything and he really soaks it all in, making it really fun to teach him about the world right now. He’s thrilled to participate in any hands-on activity and we usually learn best by DOING, right? I try to combine different things when teaching (from realizing how I learn best and from previously being a teacher and observing my own students). We read, we draw, we listen, we watch, we do.

the food chain

Today’s fun and educational lesson is on the food chain! Ryan is crazy about dinosaurs right now so he was already familiar with the terms “carnivore” and “herbivore” and what they meant (he says “eating meat or eating grass”). So I figured the food chain fit right in—I could tie it in to his dinosaurs, something he’s passionate about, and expand to new words and meanings.

The idea came from Animal Jam Academy—an online resource I use frequently for fun and educational activities.

the food chain: producers and consumers

First, I gathered some of our toys and figures. I tried to find all types of animals and some plants. Ryan and I named each one and then we decided what they ate—meat or plants (or both)—and we lined them up. Producers make their own food, herbivores eat the producers, and carnivores eat the herbivores. Collectively, herbivores and carnivores are the consumers because they eat other food sources (rather than making their own).

Then together we completed the food chain vocabulary worksheet (a fill-in-the-blank you can download and print from Animal Jam). Some of the words were new to Ryan (producers and consumers) and he caught on quickly—realizing they eat for energy, just like him!

the food chain worksheet

We took a break so he could role play with his animal figures for a bit—of course! The carnivores hunted, the herbivores hid, and they all chowed down in the end. Then we created a food web (download the worksheet here).

Ryan used his figures as a guide, chose the ones he wanted to use, and then he drew one in each spot. I labeled them for him when he was done: grass, a tree, lion, tiger, deer, and giraffe. Then together we talked about who ate what and drew in arrows to complete the web.

the food chain: creating a food web

More fun and educational ideas for learning about The Food Chain:

  • Make a plate of vegetables and meats and have your child become the herbivore or carnivore. Talk through the process—where did that lettuce come from? What else eats it?
  • Download and print this food chain word find.
  • Head outside and look for things to fill in the food chain. What producers do you see? What herbivores do you see? Any carnivores or omnivores? Look for insects, birds, and the neighbor’s dog.
  • Make a model of a food chain. Use string to connect the pieces of the web, print images of consumers and producers to use like a mobile.
  • Play Animal Jam! After a lesson (like above), let them have some game time… while still learning! Identify the animals and label them with their place on the food chain (see screen examples below).

As I am sitting in my office typing this right now, I can hear my son in the other room (still role-playing with his animals at the table). He says, “I could teach you what they eat, Dad! Do you know what an herbivore eats? Grass. Then there are also carnivores. They eat meat. So, dad, look at this dinosaur and tell me… what do you think he eats?” Ha, I LOVE IT!!!

I found these printables for free on Animal Jam’s Pinterest page (the Science Downloads board) and you can find lots of other activities there, too! HAVE FUN!

animal jam

 

Fashionably Festive Jamberry Giveaway!

Okay, you’ve all heard about Jamberry Nails by now, riiiiight?!?! But have you tried them yet? Here’s a good chance to win 2 sets! Sign My Shirt and So Jam Cute have teamed up to bring you this FUN and festive Halloween giveaway.

jamberry giveaway

First of all–is the shop name So Jam Cute not SO JAM CUTE?! I love her. She’s giving away two sets of Jamberry Nails: Candy Corn for you and Jacks & Corns for your little one. A fun Mommy & Me set! If you don’t have a little one, you can pick out a different set for you ;)

And Sign My Shirt–you know how much I love them! I’ve made lots of shirts there, I think it’s so cool that you can get handwritten messages from friends and family across the country printed on your shirt (they easily sign online with their computer or mobile device).

Enter below! Good luck!

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Safe Sleep Tips with HALO: plus giveaway!

I’ve been a HALO fan since we had Ryan nearly 5 years ago. We used their SleepSacks for our children as a safe way to sleep and keep warm, without blankets. They’re now a regular on baby registries and as shower gifts for new parents! I’ve teamed up with HALO to bring you these safe sleep tips:

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Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night

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Indoor fun for kids: with Lalaloopsy

Ohhhh, winter, how I despise you. I hate the cold and all the snow, the lack of sunshine, and being stuck inside. I have two toddlers and if I don’t keep them busy, we all lose our sanity Some days are already getting a bit chilly this fall and in preparation for the even colder days to come, I came up with a list of indoor fun for kids!

1. Pick a theme! You can make a whole day (or afternoon) of fun

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NEW Contours Options Elite Tandem Stroller: with $100 Babies R Us giveaway

One of my favorite baby brands ever is Contours Baby—I’ve owned 3 of their strollers and got one of their bassinets for friends of ours having their first baby. They’re reliable, quality products, made with mom (and baby) in mind, and Contours is a family-friendly company with awesome customer service.

Contours recently launched their brand new double stroller: the Options Elite. I got one to review and as I also own their previous Options LT

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Traveling WITHOUT Kids: a RecordablePal giveaway

Traveling WITH kids is hard. What to pack, how to keep them entertained, what stroller(s) or babywearing carriers to bring, what hotels are best, what activities to do with toddlers…. I’ve seen countless blog posts on every topic. But what about when mom or dad is traveling WITHOUT kids?

It can be very hard, too. It’s a change in routine for the kids that can be difficult to adjust to. They miss mom or dad. They’re staying with grandma and grandpa and aren’t

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