Children have always been interested in foxes and other animals. It is our responsibility to teach them facts about a variety of species of animals, so they can grow up having an appreciation for wildlife and a basic knowledge of how animals affect our world. Ask students what they know about foxes. Tell them they are mammals that have a bushy tail, pointed ears, and a pointed nose. They are closely related to dogs, wolves, and coyotes. Ask children if they have heard about endangered animals and explain what it means to be extinct. Explain that foxes are an endangered species. Show the students pictures of foxes. Tell them they are going to learn more about where they live and what they eat by creating a diorama and pretending to be this marvelous animal.
Let’s Get Started
The teacher will hand out materials after each mini lesson.
Play-Doh (blue and brown)
Small fox cut-out
Colored cereal (fruit)
- The instructor will teach children where the fox lives and what they eat a step at a time while they create a fox diorama. The teacher will give each student a shoebox lid to create their project in. The teacher will describe the characteristics of a fox in detail and show the class pictures. She will then give each child a small fox (pre-cut from paper and crayons). The students will color the fox.
- The teacher will then discuss where foxes live (in dens). Dens are usually small and hidden away from predators. Foxes make their dens in piles of wood, or find old tunnels that other animals have dug and use that as their home. Foxes are usually sleeping in their dens in the day because they are nocturnal (remind them what nocturnal is). Show pictures of dens. The teacher will demonstrate how to construct a den out of brown Play-Doh. Tell children they are going to make a den for the fox they colored. Hand out brown Play-Doh and have them make their den on the shoebox lid.
- Next educate the children on what foxes eat. They eat plants, mice, rabbits, fish, eggs, and fruit. Tell them to make a pond out of blue Play-Doh. Demonstrate first and then hand out Play-Doh and have the children make a pond in their shoebox lid. Give them fish crackers to place in their pond. Give them foil eggs, and cereal (to represent fruit) to add to their box. Have them put the fox in.
This hands-on interactive project will help preschool children learn about the red fox.
Sniff Like a Fox Activity Extension Idea
Foxes use their keen sense of smell and hearing to locate food and predators. They can smell better than humans. Discuss how foxes bury their food to eat later (called a cache) and can find the food by smell. Also, touch on how they use their ears to hear when a predator is close by. This fox activity will help children understand how the red fox hunts and uses their sense of smell in order to survive.
Small Dixie cups
Pass around three cups, one with cotton and two with tea bags hidden in the bottom of the cups. Have the children identify the one cup without a smell. Next soak a cotton ball in each of the above ingredients and place in Dixie cups. Have the students smell each cup and guess what it is.
Dramatic Play and Song Extension Fox Activity
Ten Little Foxes (To the tune of Ten Little Children)
One little, two little,
three little foxes.
Four little, five little,
six little foxes.
Seven little, eight little,
nine little foxes,
ten little foxes sniffing for food.
Ten little, nine little,
eight little foxes. Seven little,
six little, five little foxes.
Four little, three little,
two little foxes,
One little fox asleep in his den.
Dramatic play and a song will reinforce what the kids have learned about foxes. The teacher will make a fox den in the back of the classroom. This can be a tent, blocks arranged in a corner of the room, or a den made with blankets. The children will put on a fox mask and pretend to be foxes by going in and out of the den. The kids will hold the masks up to their face and become foxes traveling in and out of their den while they are singing the Ten Little Fox Song. The teacher will allow different students each day to sleep in the classroom den at naptime, until each person has had a turn.
Appreciation of Wildlife
It is very important for kids to gain appreciation of our wildlife. The red fox is an interesting wild animal that kids will enjoy learning about. Students will gain knowledge while creating this fox project for preschool that is fun and interactive. What better way to learn about animals than pretending to be one. Engaging students in hands-on activities and dramatic play greatly enhances learning and discovery.
Photos courtesy of Lisa King
Projects and activities courtesy of Lisa King