MATERIALS that children use to create animal footprints.

shapes of animal feet, downloaded from the
Internet or copied from books
fun foam, available in craft stores, to create
stamps of animal feet
small blocks, pieces of wood, or jewelry boxes,
for mounting the animal stamps
glue playdough, self-hardening clay, or paint
poster board
magnetic tape or hook-and-loop fasteners
(Velcro) small pictures of animals
assorted children’s books about animal feet
and footprints, such as Animal Feet by David M.

Schwartz, What Neat Feet! by Hana Machotka,
and Footprints in the Snow by Cynthia Benjamin
self-lamination strips
Animals have evolved a wide variety of types of
feet as an adaptation to their environment and
specific needs. Feet are used for a wide variety of
functions, including climbing, swimming, dig-
ging, walking, and staying warm. Animals such
as ducks and beavers have developed webbed feet
to aid in paddling. Horses, deer, and sheep spend
a lot of time standing. They have evolved hooves,
which are actually toenails, so that they have a
hard surface to support them. Some animals,
such as bears and squirrels, have sharp claws
that allow them to climb trees. Other animals,
such as dogs, foxes, cats, and wolves, run on their
toes but have soft pads that protect their feet.

The variety of animal feet is both fascinating and
extensive. Encourage children to use reference
books and appropriate Internet sites as they seek
further information.

2. Look up the size of the feet of various types
of animals, such as elephants, tigers, horses,
sheep, ducks, and rabbits. Draw an outline of
each foot onto fun foam and cut them out.

3. Create a chart out of poster board with a
column for each type of foot, a picture of each
foot at the bottom, and strips of magnetic
tape or hook-and-loop fasteners running
up each column. Cut out and laminate the
animal pictures, and place a piece of mag-
netic tape or hook-and-loop fastener on the
back of each.

4. All three aspects of this activity can be
implemented during the same time frame.

Children can create the animal footprints
in the art area or as a small-group activity. If
playdough or clay is used as the art medium,
children should roll it until it is smooth and
about ¼ inch thick. They can then press the
footprint stamps into the dough or clay to
create imprints of the feet. To produce a last-
ing product, the dough or clay can be allowed
to dry and harden. If paint is used as the art
medium, it should be placed in a shallow dish
with a sponge to absorb the paint. This helps
prevent excess paint from accumulating on
the footprint stamps.

5. The life-size animal-feet cutouts can be
placed in the science area along with the
books about animal feet. Children can com-
pare their feet to the feet of the animals.

6. Teachers may choose to introduce the animal-
feet graph during group time. Children
can help one another decide the column in
which each foot should be placed. Children
can return to the chart during choice time to
complete the activity on their own or perhaps
add more animals.

IMPLEMENTATION 1. In preparation for this activity, draw or trace
the shapes of various animal footprints onto
the fun foam, cut them out, and glue them to
the wood or boxes. These will be the stamps

Children will compare the imprint created with
the art medium with the image on the stamp.

How would you describe this animal’s foot?
Let’s look in our books to see what animal has
this foot.

Children will be excited to compare their feet
to the feet of the animals.

Who has a bigger foot, you or the horse? What
about the elephant? How many of your feet fit
into its footprint?
Children may realize that smaller animals also
have smaller feet.

We don’t have a footprint of a hippopotamus.

Do you think it would be little or big?
With experience, children will determine that
animals can be grouped based on the type of
feet they have.

We have pigs and sheep in the same column.

Let’s see if we can find any other animals with a
cloven hoof.

Experiment: Children will experiment with
creating animal footprints in art media.

Observe: Children will observe that different
animals have feet that are also different.

Compare/contrast: Children will compare and
contrast the types of footprints that various
animal feet make. They will discover similari-
ties and differences.

Communicate: Children will talk about the
shape and size of the footprints.

Measure: Children will compare the size of the
footprints to one another and also to their own
feet. Sort/classify: Children will group the animals
based on the type of feet they have.