Science for Littles: Camouflage

Looking for nature’s camouflage is a wonderful science activity for young children!

A well-camouflaged moth

We were playing outside when Emma nearly stepped on this moth, prompting a discussion of camouflage and how many animals are designed to blend into local vegetation. I brought out our magnifying glass, and all three kids examined the moth closely:

Looking at a well-camouflaged moth


Then they found a bunch of other things to look at through the magnifying glass:

Johnny picks a leaf to look at through the magnifying glass

And eventually turned to general goofiness:

Emma clowns around with the magnifying glass


We put the magnifying glass away when they decided to see how far its hinges would bend in the wrong direction…

Let me know what your kids find when you take THEM on a camouflage hunt out in nature!

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

20 thoughts on “Science for Littles: Camouflage”

  1. Elisa | blissfulE

    Very cool! This reminds me of two things: (1) I’ve been meaning to buy my kids a magnifying glass, and (2) Ben called me over last night after the kids were asleep to look at an inchworm who was clearly lost since he was on our newly primed wall. He looked like he had a piece of bark on his back and would have blended perfectly into a tree trunk. The “bark” disguise was 4 times his width and nearly as long as he was.
    .-= Elisa | blissfulE´s last blog ..gardening without work – 1st garden update =-.

  2. I love how Lily had to be in on the action too. Magnifying glasses are such a useful tool for outside exploration. I keep thinking of getting Anna a better glass than a cheapo one that she has, but she seems perfectly happy with it and I am not worried about scratches and such.
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..We Play With Water =-.

    1. @Natalie – We really like this one, if you do decide to get her a nicer one – and it’s less than $10, which was cheaper than some similar ones I was looking at.

      @Ticia – It keeps my kids occupied for a LONG time outside!

      @Our Nifty Notebook – We love it! We got it from Lakeshore Learning:
      http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/seo/ca|productSubCat~~p|LC1102~~f|/Assortments/Lakeshore/ShopByCategory/science/suppliesequipment.jsp

  3. jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

    Isn’t it great the way we can learn so much in our own backyards!

    I like the big magnifying glass. Do you remember where you got it?
    .-= jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa´s last blog ..Devilishly Delicious and Easy Pumpkin Muffins- FREE printable recipe guides for children =-.

    1. @jeannine – It’s called the Big View Magnifier from Lakeshore Learning. I tracked it down after seeing it on another blog!

  4. Magnifying glasses outside are so much fun. I once remember reading an idea where you use some masking tape to “draw” a square on a particualr area whether it be a tree trunk, a patch of grass etc and then use your magnifying glass to see how many different discoveries you can make within the square. We are yet to do this.

    We have that same progression – all serious and focused and then it gets silly :). Some great learning can still happen when we get silly.

    Your pictures of Lily are adorable, she looks like she has a bubbly personality.

    Emma’s drawings are very impressive. I can imagine that this must be a special father daughter time when your two artists draw together and create not only special pictures but precious memories.

  5. @Elise – We should try that masking tape idea sometime. Lily has a very fun and friendly personality, we have a great time with her and are so glad she is part of our family! And I love Emma’s drawing lessons with Mike =)

    @Jen – I love that my kids can learn and have fun at the same time =)

  6. Two Chicks and a Hen

    Wow–I agree, that is a very cool magnifying glass. I might add it to our Christmas list. And I’m sorry, but I had to laugh about their experiment bending it in the wrong direction. It’s very much something that would happen in my house.
    .-= Two Chicks and a Hen´s last blog ..How We Celebrate Half-Birthdays =-.

  7. @Two Chicks and a Hen – Great kids think alike? =)

    It is a great magnifying glass, it took me a while to hunt it down, but I’m glad I did! It even folds flat for storage – which, of course, is why it HAS hinges to bend…

  8. There is no better activity here then when we pull out our magnifying glass. Selena just absolutely loves using hers. What a great way to explore camouflage!

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