Activities on the opposum do much more than teach children about just one animal. The opossum falls into the marsupial category, sleeps upside down, plays dead around predators, and eats both plants an animals. This one animal possesses so many unique characteristics that not only interest preschoolers, but also represent so many other animals as well. Let's get going with some preschool opossum fun and learning.
Marsupials carry their babies in body pouch. Kangaroos, koalas, and opossums fall into this category. Explain that while kangaroos look very different from opossums, they share a very unique characteristic. Teach the students that an opossum gives birth to 13 babies at the same time. They live in the mother's pouch until they are old enough to survive outside. Tape a small brown paper bag to each child's shirt and give them 13 dry red beans to carry in the bag. These beans represent the baby opossums. Have the kids close their bags without tape and wear them throughout the day. At the end of the school day, count the red beans to see if the students protected their baby opossums.
Opossum Freeze Dance
Introduce the concept of defense mechanisms in nature and how some animals prey on other animals. Opossum preschool activities should include something about "playing dead". This characteristic seems to interest children the most. As an activity, play music and have the kids dance around. Then, stop the music unexpectedly and have the children freeze like scared opossums. You could also use this as a competitive game. Those that move after the music stops are "out". The last one standing wins.
Pouch Snack Idea
Talk about the diet of the opossum. They eat both plants and small critters. This makes them omnivores. Introduce the concept of herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Ask the children to place their own eating habits into a category. Then, as a snack, give the children pita pockets (to represent the opossum pouch), and fill them with lettuce and lunch meat. The lettuce represents plants and the lunch meat represents the animals opossums eat like rats, mice, and snakes.
Preschool activities on the opossum teach students about differing diets of wildlife animals. They also show children interesting ways in which some animals protect themselves from danger. You could spend an entire week with activities, crafts, books, and snacks centered around the opossum. Use your imagination and think like a child. Focus on the interesting and unique characteristics like playing dead (perhaps with a game like sleeping lions), carrying babies around in a pouch, and hanging upside down to sleep. The opossum has a lot to teach a preschooler.
"Opossum Description", https://www.squirrel-rehab.org/opossum/moreinformation.html, accessed November 15, 2010.
MystiSongbird at Morguefile.com