Pre-visit activities:

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California Wildlife Coloring Pages!

We have coloring pages for 20 different animals that all call California their home! 

Pick the ones you will have fun coloring in, and click on them to download and print them.

Nature Picture Frames!  

Go outside and collect a handful of sticks the size of a piece of a paper. You can also look for dried leaves or flowers. A special helper might join you!

Use yarn to wrap the sticks and leaves together to make a rectangle.

Now you can display your coloring pages and other works of art in a Nature Picture Frame!

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Habitat Matching

Here's what you will need for this activity:

✅  Click here to open and print the Habitat Matching activity

✅  Colored pencils, markers, or crayons.

Have you ever seen wild animals in your neighborhood? 

There are lots of animals that also make their homes here in California!  California has many different kinds of habitats for animals. 

A habitat is where the animal can find its food, make its nest or den, and spend most of its time. A habitat can be dark forests, dry deserts, cold mountains, open meadows, or the ocean coast. 

Click here to open and print the Habitat Matching activity

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Nature Walk Bingo!

Practice your observation skills next time you go on a walk and you will start to notice lots of nature in your neighborhood!

Here's what you will need for this activity:

✅  Click here to open and print the Nature Walk Bingo

✅  Colored pencils, markers, or crayons.

  • Go for a walk outside with your family and bring a Nature Walk Bingo sheet for each person.

  • When you find something in nature that matches a square on your bingo sheet, color it in. Remember to leave what you find in nature (except trash! That goes in a trash can).

  • When you find and color in five squares across, down, or diagonal, you can say "Bingo!"

  • If you don't find everything on your walk, save your bingo sheet and take it with you on your next walk.

  • When you find and color in all of the squares, you can say, "Bonus Bingo!" Congratulations, you finished the game!

Click here to open and print the Nature Walk Bingo

Bird Break!

Have you ever seen a bird wiggle its whole body and fluff up its feathers to get warm? 

Let's take a break to be like a bird! 

Go outside, and wiggle your whole body! 

Wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes, wiggle your arms, wiggle your legs, wiggle your torso, and fluff up your feathers!

That's the end of our pre-visit activities!

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Post-visit activities:

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Build a Habitat!

Photo by Kaija Ollikainen

What types of wild animals live in nature near you? In this challenge, you can build a shelter for wildlife in a nearby park, outdoor space, or inside your home!

Let's get started!   

Become a wild animal! Dress up as a wild animal of your choice. You can be creative and use clothing, costumes, masks, hairstyles, face paint, and accessories, and even try communicating like your animal ("Chirp, chirp!")

Where do you live? Are you an animal that lives underground in a burrow? In a cave? In a tree? Choose a spot to live where you have food, water, and enough space.

Choose a location with no poison oak!  

Build your shelter! Use materials you find in your home, or collect loose rocks and plant parts that have fallen to the ground so that you do not cause any damage to the environment. Will your shelter keep you warm and dry from the rain? Is your shelter cozy for sleeping in?

If you built your shelter outside, check on it after a week and see if an animal has moved in! Check for feathers, fur, tracks, scat, or chewed leaves and fruits nearby.

Did you know...? 

Dusky-footed Woodrats build large dens that are passed down from mothers to daughters, generation after generation! Although it may look like a pile of sticks, the inside actually contains different rooms for food storage, bathrooms, and even bedrooms! They are very tidy and line the rooms with leaves like Bay Laurel, which keeps unwanted ticks and mites out. Can you imagine what it would be like to shrink down to their size and explore their shelter?

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Play Opossum!

Opossums can live in many different kinds of habitats. They live in woodlands, wetlands, and even in cities!

You might not have seen one, because they are nocturnal, which means they are most active at night.

Another animal that hunts for its food at night is the Great Horned Owl, which can carry prey up to four times their weight! Watch out, opossums!

Did you know...? 

Opossums faint and release a stinky smell when they sense danger! We call it "playing opossum" when an opossum acts dead so that a predator won't want to eat them!

In this game you can play as an Opossum and try not to get eaten by a Great Horned Owl. 

 Watch this video to see how to play: 

Video clip is 30 seconds long. 

For this game you will need:

✅ At least 2 players, with no limit to how many can play!

✅ Indoor or outdoor space to move around in,

✅ Optional: Wear a costume!
  • Choose one person to be the Great Horned Owl, and everyone else will be the Opossums.

  • The Great Horned Owl's goal is to see the Opossum moving, and the Opossum's goal is to appear totally motionless.

  • The game starts when the Great Horned Owl turns away from the Opossum and counts down from 10. During this time, the Opossum can move around however they want! For example, they can do an Opossum dance, Opossum wiggle, or Opossum yoga. 

  • When the Great Horned Owl finishes their count down, they turn to face the Opossum. The Opossum freezes, opens their mouth wide to show all their teeth, hisses, and growls! Then the Opossum lies down, sticks their tongue out, and stays very still ("playing opossum").  

  • The Great Horned Owl will take 1 minute to walk around all of the Opossums and see if any of them move. The Great Horned Owl is allowed to make funny faces, sing songs, or tell jokes to try to get them to laugh and move, but the Great Horned Owl cannot touch any of the Opossums.

  • If the Great Horned Owl sees an Opossum move after fainting, that Opossum is out and waits for the next round to join again. After 1 minute of walking around the Opossums, looking for any moving prey, the Great Horned Owl turns around and counts down from 10 again while the Opossums get up and move around.

  • When there is one Opossum left standing, that Opossum becomes the Great Horned Owl in the next round!

Opossums are important animals in our neighborhoods because they eat many small critters that we call pests!

They feast on snails, slugs, cockroaches, and ticks.

Let's give a big THANK YOU to opossums for keeping our neighborhoods clean and tidy!

 You can help opossums living in your neighborhood!

Keep your cat indoors, or give them a special collar that makes them more visible to wildlife. 

Before releasing your dog into your yard at night, take a look around for nocturnal wildlife and make some noise to give wildlife a chance to move on.

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Going Green with Crayons!

When we learn about wildlife, we also learn about how our choices and actions affect the environment.

Going Green means making choices that have a positive impact on the Earth!  

You can help wildlife by doing the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!  

Going Green can be easier than you think. Try this fun crayon activity with the help of an adult to see just how simply we can combine all 3 R’s in our everyday lives.

Here's what you will need for this activity:

✅  Click here to open and print the activity,

✅  Muffin tin,

✅  Oven or toaster oven,

✅  Broken Crayon pieces,

✅  An adult to use the oven.

1.   Collect broken, small, or difficult-to-use pieces of crayons.

2.   Remove any paper wrapping from the pieces so it is just the wax remaining.

3.   Fill muffin tins with the pieces of crayons. You can put all the colors mixed together in each tin for a mixed effect, or make specific color combinations.

4.   Ask an adult to bake the crayon-filled muffin tins for about 15-20 minutes at 150 degrees.

5.   Then ask an adult to remove the tins and let cool completely.

6.   Your new crayons should pop out easily (if difficult to remove, you can place the tins in a freezer for an hour).

Now you have a whole new set of crayons for coloring!
Test out your new crayons by coloring in this butterfly:

Click here to open and print the butterfly and activity directions!

Draw a Picture of Yourself in Nature!

Use your new set of recycled crayons to draw a picture of yourself in nature doing something that makes you happy! Some nature activities include smelling flowers, hiking, swimming, skipping rocks, watching the sunset, picnicking, playing with friends, building structures, searching for wildlife, picking berries, camping, and sitting by a campfire. What is your favorite activity to do in nature? 

That's the end of our post-visit activities! 

We hope you had fun!

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You can open and print the Ways to be a Wildlife Hero idea bubbles that appear throughout this page by clicking below!

English version

Spanish version

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