Crafts and Projects · Jobs of a Preschooler · Ramblings

Nature Walk: Whose Tracks Are These?

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I had mentioned in a previous post that your little ones can be scientists by taking a nature walk to make some interesting discoveries.

Maybe your little ones would like to find some animal tracks in sandy, muddy, or snowy areas. Guidebooks that show animal tracks can be very beneficial to identify the animals that made the tracks.

My family has found many tracks over the years. Below are a few samples of animal tracks we have found.

These are tracks we found on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River. We knew they were bird tracks, but we weren’t sure what kind of bird.

bird tracks

We looked at the guide found here (from USGS Education), and it appears as though they are heron tracks.

This is another picture I took on an island in the Mississippi River. The deer who left these tracks behind would have had to swim across the river to get to this island.

deer tracks in sand

We explored the small island for a little bit, but we never found any deer.

These were dog (or coyote) tracks found on the same island. It can be fun to make up stories to go along with discovered tracks. What kind of animal was it? What was it doing?

dog tracks in sand

We were guessing the tracks below were from a dog visiting with its family. That seemed like a nicer story than a coyote following the deer.

There are multiple tracks in this mud we found at a Wetlands Center we visited.

tracks in mud

Here is a large turtle track we saw while visiting MacArthur Beach State Park in Florida.

turtle tracks on beach

I’m glad we had decided to take a tour with a park ranger while there otherwise I’m not sure I would have recognized this as a turtle track. The park ranger was kind enough to point it out to us and tell us that it had been left by a turtle laying her eggs the night before.

We have enjoyed many field trips to nature centers and parks. On one visit, the naturalist showed us multiple animal track samples and allowed the kids to create their own animal track molds.

One of my daughters molded a Canadian goose print.

canadian goose track mold

My other daughter molded a wolf print.

wolf track mold

We used rubber molds of animal tracks when we created these animal prints out of plaster of paris. If you are interested in making a mold of an animal print you find outside, you may want to read How to Make a Mold of Animal Tracks with Plaster of Paris on Frugal Fun 4 Boys or this booklet from USGS Education, which includes an animal track reference guide.

Searching for tracks may lead to a hungry kid. You could continue with the theme of tracks with these cute animal track snacks as seen on Loreen Leedy’s website.

It may be fun to discuss another animal track animals leave…scat! You may want to save this discussion for after snack time, though. A cute book to check out about animal tracks and their scat is called Track that Scat! by Lisa Morlock.

Track that Scat book

Will you find (or make) any tracks today?

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