If you love rainforests and want to instill a love and understanding for them in kids, then this is the post for you. There are lots of fun ways to integrate the rainforest into your child’s life, and I’ve written some of them down for you here. I’ve also linked back to blogs and sites that have other great suggestions for those of you who want even more!
There are five books that I would personally recommend, the first being The Cat in the Hat’s If I ran the Rainforest. This one is meant for beginning readers, but it gives a ton of information about the rainforest in a fun way. It talks about transpiration and the different kinds of rainforest. It goes over the different layers of the rainforest and the animals that can be found in each layer. It’s definitely a book you should get for your child.
The next I would suggest for beginning readers is The Magic School Bus Presents The Rainforest. This book talks about all the animals in the rainforest. It also mentions how rainforests are being destroyed without putting the weight of the world on the kid’s shoulders. It introduces the problem so they can start thinking about saving the rainforest at a younger age. I would say reading this by 1st grade would be a great time for this book.
Orangutan Orphanage by Suzi Eszterhas would be great for older readers, closer to 3rd grade. It spends about a page dealing with the reality of orangutans going extinct. It does mention how they’re losing their habitat and being poached, so the reader understands why an orangutan sanctuary is necessary. The book goes over the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine and how it saves baby orangutans. It details how they’re taken care of by foster moms and what their daily life up to adulthood is like. It’s definitely something that could inspire a love for orangutans, if not just teach them more about this particular ape.
The Amazon by Eyewitness is filled to the brim with information on every page, even Amazonian myths! It’s so full of information on every page that I think 3rd or 4th grade would be the best age range to read this book. It’s definitely meant for an advanced reader–and one who appreciates the rainforest.
The Most Beautiful Canopy in the World: Exploring the Rainforest Canopy by Kathryn Lasky is probably meant for more advanced readers, maybe around 3rd grade. It has a lot of neat pictures and talks about the life of a scientist in the rainforest. This book is also probably more for kids who already have an interest in science or the rainforest.
Crafts and Activities
Here are two crafts and two activities I chose because they’re simple, easy, and something I can see doing with my own kids one day. (I always hated doing complicated crafts as a kid.) But there are links at the bottom to more fun crafts.
Paper Plate Monkey
This one’s super easy. You’ll just need some glue, scissors, paper plates, and brown and beige paper. As you’re doing this craft, you can tell your kid some cool facts about monkeys in the rainforest. To see this craft, click here.
This one is a little messy and takes a little bit of effort to make, but it turns out kinda pretty and it’s super fun to play with! Just don’t play with it around carpets. To see it, click here.
These are fun yoga poses that your kids can do. I think ages 4 and 5 would love it. To see this activity, click here.
Rainforest Coloring Book Pages
This one is a link to free coloring pages for your kids. There’s quite a few of them. You could give fun facts about each animal they color! Click here.
Here’s the Pinterest page I found these activities and more on. Scroll through and see what calls to you!
This is a great blog post with a ton of resources for rainforest activities and information to share with your kids! Definitely check it out.
This is a great blog to find more fun and easy crafts to do with your kids.
Mongabay is a great resource for both kids and adults. If you want some information to share with your kids, go here.
It’s important to nurture a love for the environment in kids. They’re the future, and if they care about keeping the rainforest safe and our water clean, then they’ll fight to make those things happen.
Photo courtesy of Colleen O’Dell.