RIC-20969 Early years Places - The Rainforest

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The rainforest

A complete unit of lessons and activities

Early years themes—Places

Published by R.I.C. Publications ® 2010

Copyright © R.I.C. Publications ® 2010


Titles in this series:

Early years themes—Places

Early years themes—People

Early years themes—Animals

Early years themes—Science

Early years themes—Fantasy

Early years themes—Fairytales

Early years themes—Special days and celebrations

Accompanying resources available:

Early years themes—Places Posters (set of 5)

Early years themes—Places Stickers (set of 5)

Early years themes Interactive CD (Places, People,

Animals, Science)

Early years themes Interactive CD (Fantasy, Fairytales,

Special days and celebrations)

This master may only be reproduced by the

original purchaser for use with their class(es). The

publisher prohibits the loaning or onselling of this

master for the purposes of reproduction.

Copyright Information

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publication may only be reproduced by the original

purchaser for use with their class(es). The publisher

prohibits the loaning or onselling of these blackline

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this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any

means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying

or recording, or by any information storage and retrieval

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Internet websites

In some cases, websites or specific URLs may be recommended. While these are checked and rechecked at the time of publication,

the publisher has no control over any subsequent changes which may be made to webpages. It is strongly recommended that the class

teacher checks all URLs before allowing students to access them.

View all pages online

PO Box 332 Greenwood Western Australia 6924

Website: www.ricpublications.com.au

Email: mail@ricgroup.com.au

Cross-curricular activities


• Identify the beginning sound in the name of a rainforest

animal (e.g. ‘monkey’). As a group, give each a name

with the same initial sound; for example, ‘Meeka the

monkey’. (Language)

• Children choose a photograph of a rainforest animal and

describe it. The children should say what it looks like—

describing its covering, eyes, paws, legs, claws, teeth,

where it is sitting/lying/eating etc. This will introduce the

concepts of appearance, habitat, diet etc. (Literacy)

• Label groups of individual rainforest animals created for

art/craft display with simple sentences which include the

names of the animals, how they can move or what they

look like. The children can give suggestions; for example:

‘Jaguars can jump’; ‘Tigers roar’; ‘Parrots are colourful’.

(Language, Literacy)

• Collect appropriate newspaper or magazine articles about

the rainforest or plants or animals from the rainforest; for

example, about the birth of a baby sloth at a zoo. Relate

the content in simple terms and display on a news board.


The children read simple rebus sentences, replacing

the picture with a word. For example, ‘The

rainforest are tall’. (Language, Literacy)

in the

• Read and discuss a nonfi ction book such as Rainforest

animals by Paul Hess and a fi ction book such as Toby

Toucan and his noisy beak by Paul Flemming. The

children state their preference. (Literature, Literacy)

• Laminate large colourful photographs of rainforest creatures and labels of their names. Include examples of mammals

(tiger, chimpanzee, gorilla, jaguar, monkey); reptiles/snakes (anaconda, python, boa constrictor); amphibians

(frogs); birds (eagle, parrot, cassowary, toucan); fi sh (piranha, electric eel) and arthropods (butterfl ies,

ants). As a group, identify the photographs by name, then, a few at a time, show the children

which labels and photographs go together. Play matching games to promote recognition

of each animal and its name. After the initial games, use the labels at the writing

table for copying or as a specifi ed writing activity. Websites such as may provide useful images. (Language)

• Listen to and identify rainforest noises while relaxing

on the mat. The children relate things they imagined:

tall trees, rain falling, animals sleeping or lurking, birds

chattering, ants scurrying etc. (Literacy)

• Make up nonsense or real rhyming words to match words

relating to the theme; for example: ‘jungle’—’bungle’;

‘tiger’—’liger’; ‘parrot’—’carrot’; ‘vines’—’lions’; ‘trees’—

’bees’. Introduce the rhyming words with a rhyming book

such as Over in the jungle: A rainforest rhyme by Marianne

Berkes. (Language, Literature)

• Say and clap the names of animals with 1, 2, 3 and 4

syllables. Play ‘Which animal is this?’ Match the syllable

clapping to a photograph. (Be sure there is only one

obvious, possible answer.) (Language)

• In small groups, play ‘I went to the rainforest and I met a/

an ...’. Each child has to remember the names of all the

animals that have been named before. (Language)

• Provide large, simple rainforest animal templates for the

children to trace around on white paper. Use brightly

coloured crayons or markers (and animal pictures as

reference) for the children to write patterns to create fur,

feathers, spots, scales or stripes on their traced-animal

shapes. (Literacy)

• Make ‘What am I?’ booklets. The children or a scribe write

short sentences or complete cloze sentences to describe

an animal on one page before drawing a picture on the

next. (Language, Literacy)

• Make two copies of simple sentences about rainforest

plants and animals. Laminate both. Cut one into individual

words and ask the children to match the individual words

to those in the uncut sentences. Read together as a class.

Children can draw or paint pictures to match and copy

the sentences. (Language, Literacy)

62 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

The rainforest – 1


• Students place a given number of plastic animals (or

pictures) in boxes which represent specifi c habitat

locations; for example, 3 chicks in the nest, 2 cubs in the

den, 4 fi sh in the river. (Number and Algebra)

• Using plastic ants, butterfl ies, frogs, monkeys, tigers,

snakes and birds, place collections of animals in their

correct section on a poster of the rainforest. Count the

collections and match a numeral to each. Use the same

animals to make rainforest animal patterns—snake,

monkey, snake, monkey etc. Complete other patterns

orally with clapping. (Number and Algebra)

The children thread a given number (between 1 and

20) of cut sections of plastic straws onto two different

pieces of wool or string to create two snakes of different

lengths— one long and one short. (Number and Algebra,

Measurement and Geometry, Statistics and Probability)

• Use coloured pattern blocks to create a snake; for example,

triangle, triangle, square, square, triangle, triangle,

square, square. (Number and Algebra, Measurement and


• Provide shapes in appropriately-coloured paper (patterned

or plain) to construct a monkey or a tall tree. Refer to

blackline on Page 73. (Measurement and Geometry)

The children paint and pile four green boxes (or blocks

covered in green paper) on top of each other to represent

the four layers of the rainforest (see page 68). Encourage

the use of positional language—on the bottom, on top of,

underneath etc. as well as ordinal language—fi rst, next,

after, last etc. Place pictures of animals from each layer

inside each appropriate box or tape them to the blocks.

(Measurement and Geometry)


• Demonstrate the layers of

the rainforest by attaching or

gluing four different strips of


tissue paper of various shades

of green underneath each other

on the board or large sheet of


paper, overlapping them a little.

Count the layers. Say them in

Forest floor

order from fi rst to fourth. Name

their positions—top, next, second from the bottom and

bottom. Ask the children to identify the layers using words

such as tallest, lowest, highest, middle etc. (Number and

Algebra, Measurement and Geometry)

• Sort rainforest animals by ‘skin’ type—stripes, spots, solid

colour, fur, feathers, scales etc. Line up the collections into

columns and count each. (Measurement and Geometry,

Statistics and Probability)

• Use a large, bright, clear picture of a rainforest scene to

play ‘How many can you see?’ in which children count

the numbers of animals and/or their body parts. For

example, ‘How many monkeys?’ ‘How many tails?’ ‘How

many trunks?’ ‘How many eyes?’ Develop the game by

asking ‘How many more/less than ... ?’ (Number and


• Write the numerals 1–5 or 1–10 on sloth, monkey, frog

or parrot shapes on a sheet for each child. Place a pile

of numeral cards for the children to select from. The

children use animal stamps to mark off each number on

their sheet as it is selected. Refer to blackline on page 72.

(Number and Algebra)

The children fold large sheets of green painted or printed

paper in halves and cut out or trace symmetrical leaf

shapes. Use the same technique and bright blue paper

to create blue morpho butterfl ies. Provide templates

and other colours to create frogs to sit on the leaves.

(Measurement and Geometry)

• Divide the class into two groups to play ‘Predator-prey’

or ‘Hunter-dinner’; for example, monkeys and leopards.

Designate safe areas for homes in the rainforest (outdoor

area). Call out a number between 1 and 5. The leopards

must run to tap that number of monkeys. Monkeys are

only allowed to stay in a home while they count to 10

and then run around at least to the count of 10. The

monkeys tapped sit out the remainder of the game. Count

the number left. Continue until all monkeys are gone.

Swap positions. Repeat with other animals. (Number and


• Play commercial games such as ‘Barrel of monkeys’ to connect up to 12 monkeys without dropping them. Or play ‘Ants in

the pants’ to see who can get the most ants in the pants. (Number and Algebra)

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest 63

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Cross-curricular activities


• Read the book Red-eyed tree frog

by Joy Cowley (or similar). When

discussing the book, emphasise how

tree frogs have a sticky substance on

their feet that help them stick to trees

and leaves. Give each child, or have

them make, a paper red-eyed tree frog. Fold the

legs, place a sticky substance such as jam or honey on

the feet and attach to windows. The jam or honey can be

easily removed using window cleaner after the frogs are

taken down. If preferred, use something like Blu-Tack.

Refer to blackline on Page 70.

• Make rainforest terrariums. Ask adult helpers to cut the

top and bottom from a 2-litre soft drink bottle and discard

the middle. Mix some gravel with charcoal and place it

in the bottom section of each bottle. Cover with a layer of

potting mix and water. Add small plants, stones, moss

or leaves and a plastic rainforest animal. Use thick paint

to decorate the outside of the terrarium with climbing

vines. Place the top section of each bottle on as a cover.

Water every two or three weeks. (Take care when using

potting mix. Wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly


• Explain what a pitcher is and view the colours of real-life

pitcher plants. Use water-resistant paint to decorate both

sides of plastic disposable cake decorating bags to make

pitcher plants. Punch holes on both sides of the top edge

and hang from trees overnight or when a light shower is

expected to demonstrate how pitcher plants collect water

and nutrients.

• Place pot plants of varying heights (including one large

enough for a child to sit under) in a corner on a large,

old plastic sandpit (such as the familiar clam shape)

or plastic sheet to create a rainforest microclimate for

the children to experience. Spread dead leaves and

grass around the bottom. Water using a watering can

to demonstrate rain falling. Use a tall reading lamp to

demonstrate how the sunlight reaches some layers and

not others. Have the children take turns sitting under it to

experience the darkness in the lower layers.

• Discuss different characteristics of rainforest animals; for

example, physical features (what they look like), habitat

(where they live), diet (what they eat), how they move,

hunt, look after their young. Play describing games to

promote recognition of each animal’s characteristics. For

example: ‘I am black. I am strong. I hunt at night. I carry

my prey up a tree. What am I?’ Answer: a black panther.

• Use paper plates painted and cut, or folded in half, to

create a deadly Venus fl y trap. Attach ‘spiky’ fringing

made from cardboard for ‘teeth’.

Ask the children to hold their

Venus fl y trap and pretend to

catch a plastic or child-made ant

or insect in the centre.

• Place examples of pot plants such as bromeliads, Venus

fl y traps, ferns, vines such as Devil’s Ivy and broadleaf

plants such as large philodendrons in the science corner.

Look at, discuss and care for them for the duration of the


• Show individual pictures of different rainforest plants and

animals. As a class, arrange the pictures to create food

chains and webs. Retell the story ‘This is the house that

Jack built ...’ in the following way: ‘This is the ant in

the rainforest. This is the sloth who eats the ant in the

rainforest. This is the jaguar that eats the sloth who eats

the ant in the rainforest.’ Repeat with other plants and


• View pictures, or read books about, two different rainforest

animals such as the toucan and the parrot, or the gorilla

and the spider monkey. Identify similar and different

features. Encourage the use of complete sentences such

as ‘The toucan is bright and colourful and so is the parrot’;

The gorilla is big but the spider monkey is small’.

• Introduce the words for groups of animals—‘mammal’,

‘reptile’, ‘amphibian’, ‘birds’ and ‘fi sh’. Young children

love to learn words which are hard to say or different

from their normal vocabulary. Show, or tell them, which

rainforest animals belong to each group. They may be

able to guess some themselves.

• View and match pictures of baby and adult rainforest

animals. Repeat with seeds to reinforce the concept that

plants begin life as a ‘baby’ plant and have a lifecycle as

well as animals.

• Mimic and describe the ways different animals move—

climb, scurry, fl y etc. If possible, view their motion fi rst

before imitating.

64 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

The rainforest – 2

Health and physical education

• Play ‘Rainforest tag’. Choose two species from the rainforest food web. Divide the

class in half and allocate one half as the predators and the other half their prey. The

predators chase their prey to the other end of an allotted space. As a player is caught,

she/he must become a predator. Game continues until all children are predators and

only one prey, the winner, remains. Repeat with different species and predators.

• Play ‘Rainforest layers’. On a command, the children move in different ways: swinging,

swooping, ‘fl ying’, sliding, rolling, swimming at different levels: low, medium, high,

very high, to simulate the movement of different creatures that inhabit the rainforest’s

different layers.

• Play ‘Rainforest home’. Name each of the four corners of a playing area as different

areas where rainforest animals may live; for example, trees, vines, forest fl oor,

bushes. (If the children are more capable, use the correct names for the four layers.)

The children move around the area as commanded until a whistle is blown and they

run to a ‘home’ corner. When all the children are ‘home’, name one corner to be

eliminated. (This may reinforce the concept that some areas of the rainforest are in

danger of being destroyed by human activity.) These children ‘sit out’ and the game

continues until one child, the winner, remains.

• Create a circuit of stations or obstacle course to practise set skills. The children may

need to climb a ladder to mimic climbing a vine or tall tree, balance on a beam to

walk across a bridge over a river, crawl through a tunnel to get mimic an ant hiding

under a leaf to get out of the rain or slide down a slippery dip to mimic rain falling

down. On command, children stand still before moving to the next station.

• Children create a simple,

edible rainforest scene on a

paper plate, using chopped

raw vegetable and fruit. They

may like to make four distinct

layers or a picture of a tree,

vine or animal.

• Create a healthy lifestyle

poster with characteristics of

different creatures. The children

complete oral cloze sentences,

putting in the correct name

from a choice of creatures.

For example: Get lots of sleep

like the


Eat fruit every day like the

(fruit bat).

Take lots of exercise like the

(leopard). Learn

to swim like the

(piranha). Provide pictures of

each creature doing the activity

to help the children choose the

correct words.


• Use clothes from the dress-up box to make improvised

rainforest animal costumes—blue shirt or cloak for a

blue morpho butterfl y; patterned materials for pythons

or boa constrictors; spotted or striped materials for

jaguars or tigers; plastic sunglasses with bright red lens

(made using red cellophane) for red-eyed tree frogs;

furry material or blankets for monkeys, chimpanzees

or gorillas; brightly-coloured feathers glued onto strips

of material or cardboard for toucans or parrots etc. Add

animal masks for extra motivation.

• Using beanbags as ‘babies’, the children walk on four

legs, like a monkey, carrying their baby on their backs.

• Place a number of plastic ants in the sandpit for creative

play. Add leaves for hiding under, carrying on their backs

or chewing into pulp (to feed fungi in their nests). Add

others to the block corner for the children to build a


• Decorate a hat stand as a tall emergent or canopy tree.

Tape on cardboard leaves and scrunched up green paper.

Use plastic frogs to climb the tree or perch in a branch.

Use individual frogs or families of frogs to act out life in a

tree in the rainforest.

• ‘What’s for lunch?’ Children in

rainforest creature masks sit

at a cafe table pretending to

look at a menu. Using their

knowledge of the rainforest

food web, they decide what

to eat.

• Go on a rainforest safari.

One child as hunter follows

potato print paw shapes laid

down in different colours for each animal. At the end of

each track, the animal (a child in a mask) either pounces

on the hunter or runs away.

• Assist children to sew the edges of simple felt shapes and

decorate to make and use rainforest animal puppets for

dramatic play.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest 65

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Cross-curricular activities

Visual arts

• Make the four layers of the

rainforest. Have the children

paint three different-sized

boxes in shades of green

and a fourth fl at cereal

box green and brown.

Place the fl at box on

the bottom and the

others, in order, from

largest to the smallest

on the top. Glue

together using strong

glue. When dry, use

brown paint or markers to draw trunks or vines on each

layer. Add cut-out leaf shapes and crumpled or fringed

paper to complete the trees, bushes and vines to create

a 3-D effect. Place animals around and on the different


• On strips of paper, the children use potato prints to make

animal tracks for a variety of animals, leading to a picture

or photograph of the animal.

• Use kitchen rolls to make rainforest animals. Cut the roll

into 5-cm lengths and paint. Colour and cut out different

animal faces. Glue faces to the rolls.

• Make a bromeliad. Children decorate two strips of thin

card (one 3 cm wide, the other 5 cm wide) with markers

or oil pastels. Use patterned-edged scissors to cut a fancy

edge on one side of each strip. Tape the wide strip ‘fancy’

edge up, to the inside top of the cup and the narrow strip

to the outside. Gently fold the edges down if desired.

Place some water in the bottom of the cup with a small

plastic frog.

• Use stiff plastic, such as overhead transparency sheets,

parental assistance and coloured permanent markers

to create blue morpho butterfl ies to suspend from the

ceiling. Coffee fi lters, coloured with markers and sprayed

with water, also make effective butterfl ies.

• Use painted or traced hand and footprints cut out for tails

or wings of parrots, butterfl ies or toucans; and bodies of

bats, frogs, piranha, tigers, jaguars and snakes (multiple

copies needed for snakes).

• Make snakes by painting both sides of a paper plate then

cutting a spiral towards the centre. Add eyes and a tongue

and create patterns along its length before hanging from

the ceiling. Stuff old socks or roll clay or playdough into

lengths for a 3-D version.

• Make a monkey puppet by attaching fan-folded strips of

construction paper, as arms and legs, to a cardboard head

and body. Attach cardboard feet and hands. Use different

craft techniques and materials to decorate the monkey’s

face and body. Hold a monkey parade to show many

different monkey species.

Society and environment

• Soak uncooked rice and pasta of different shapes in

different food colouring and allow to dry. Use to decorate

a paper plate with the facial features of a rainforest animal

or as a rainforest plant.

• Provide the children with yellow and orange paper,

scissors, black paint (to make fi ngerprint spots etc.) and

googly eyes to create jaguars. Add pegs for legs to make

free-standing models for display.

• Use discarded CDs, feathers, other collage materials,

googly eyes and strong glue to make parrots or toucans

to hang.

• Look at pictures of people who live in the rainforest.

Investigate and discuss where they live, what they wear

and eat and how they might get their food.

• Show pictures and say the names of various plants and

animals of the rainforest, as well as some human-made

objects. The children must state whether each is ‘natural’

or ‘built/made’; for example, monkey (natural), road

(built), hut (built), snake (natural), orchid (natural),

waterfall (natural), bridge (built), fern (natural), truck

(built) etc.

• Imagine and discuss what it would be like to live in the

rainforest. In what ways would it be the same as/different

from their lives?

• Make a class collection of (natural) soft rainforest toys

(frogs, snakes, monkeys, tigers, gorillas, parrots, toucans

etc.). The children can choose one to talk about in an oral


• Make a collection of readily available fresh produce

that comes from rainforest areas, such as pineapple,

bananas, avocados, corn, sweet potato (yam) and

mangos. Discuss and decide whether each is a fruit or

vegetable/what colour it is/whether it grows on the ground

or in trees etc.

• Look at pictures of family groups who live in the

rainforest. Discuss to compare to own family group OR

paraphrase online stories about children who live in or

near the rainforest from < http://www.rainforest-alliance.

org/education.cfm?id=rainforest_stories >.

• Select cool clothes to wear in a hot, tropical rainforest.

Ask the children what would be needed to protect them

from heavy rain showers.

• Make and wear ‘beaded’ indigenous necklaces.

66 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

The rainforest – 3


• All children, sitting in a circle, wear a mask or a laminated

picture of a different rainforest creature around their necks.

Start with one ‘animal’ in the centre of the circle. The

children in the circle chant ‘Deep in the rainforest, what

can I see? I see a looking at me’. The child in

the middle calls out an animal’s name to complete the

chant. The child wearing that mask comes to join him/

her in the centre. Continue until all children have left the

circle and are together in the centre.

• Laminate coloured pictures of rainforest plants or animals

(at least as many as the number of children in the class).

Place them, spread out, on the fl oor. Play appropriate

music and when the music stops the children must stand

on a plant or animal; a selected group will then name

their plants or animals.

• Listen to recordings of rainforest animal sounds. The

children use their voices, body percussion or instruments

to re-create the sounds.

• Match a given sound to a specifi c plant or animal, rain,

waterfall or river. Allocate different children to make each

sound. Compose a class ‘rainforest symphony’.

• Make up, clap and say simple rhythmic chants for

rainforest plants and animals; for example, ‘Venus fl y

trap is very happy; Insects get stuck inside ‘cause she’s

very snappy’; ‘Blue butterfl y, fl y away. Visit the rainforest

another day’.

• Read the story Verdi by Janell Cannon, which is about a

yellow-coloured baby python. Dance to a favourite song

while holding a long strip of yellow wool, crepe paper or


• Reinforce the concept of the four layers of the rainforest

by asking the children to move at different levels—high

(emergent), lower (canopy), lower still (understorey)

and on the fl oor (for the forest fl oor). Designate different

animals at these levels and ask the children to move like

them. Include different tempos (slow sloth, quick ant


• Add musical sounds to the telling of a rainforest story that

the children act out.

Technology (and design)

• Make and listen to the sound of the rain in the rainforest

using a rain stick. Make the rain stick, with adult

assistance, in the following way: Paint a cardboard roll

and allow to dry. Cover one end with strong plastic wrap

and secure with a rubber band. Place styrofoam packing

‘peanuts’, rice or popping corn in

the open end of the roll and then

cover the other end in the same

way as the fi rst. Tip up and down

to make, and listen to, rain.

• Practise gluing and joining: fan fold and attach

paper legs to the bodies of craft tree frogs; fold small

cardboard strips in half to attach the two halves of

a paper plate Venus fl y trap together, ensuring they

can open and shut; connect cardboard rolls using a

skipping rope to make a long python (determine how

to stop the rolls from falling off the end); use split

pins to make jointed animals.

• Provide a variety of threading materials and string

or wool to make tribal necklaces, bracelets and


• From pictures of rainforest tribal huts, design and

build a rainforest home from natural materials such

as sticks and leaves. Design and build a bridge in

the same way, testing for strength and durability by

placing one or more plastic rainforest animals on it.

• Design and build a tall, emergent tree using rolled up

newspaper taped in place.

• View online stories about children who live in or near the

rainforest from .

• Visit and

play ‘Remember the rainforest’ by matching animal pairs.

• Visit to view a virtual

rainforest at night and to fi nd printable photographs of


• Use dead leaves collected

from home or in the

playground to create a

home for an ant or other

insect in the rainforest.

• Use construction blocks

to design a road or bridge

through a rainforest.

Provide pictures or books

to assist.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest 67

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Teacher background information

NOTE: For the purposes of accuracy, this unit is titled ‘The rainforest’ instead of ‘The jungle’. This unit introduces animals and

plants associated with tropical rainforests. All rainforests are jungles but not all jungles are rainforests.

The world’s rainforests occur around the ‘waist’ of the globe, between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Tropical rainforests are

always hot and humid because they lie close to the Equator and have a lot of rainfall.

The rainforests are home to millions of plant and animal species. The plants consume carbon dioxide and generate oxygen so

rainforests are known as the ‘lungs of the planet’.

The world’s major tropical rainforests are located in Central and South America, central Africa and Madagascar, Southeast Asia

and the Cape York Peninsula of Queensland, Australia.

Plants create different layers and habitats within the rainforest:

The forest floor is the lowest layer. It is very dark, so there is little or no plant growth. Vegetation that falls decomposes very

quickly. Many insects and small creatures can be found on the forest fl oor and up in the trees. Giant anteaters and other large

creatures live there.

The understorey receives a little sunlight so plants can grow here. They have developed wide leaves to take in as much

sunlight as possible. These leaves create more shade on the forest fl oor.


The canopy forms a roof over the layers beneath. It is a network of leaves and

branches, teeming with life: insects, birds, reptiles and mammals.

The emergent layer contains the tallest trees of the rainforest. Flying creatures such

as birds, bats and butterfl ies are found here. Climbers such as monkeys can also

reach these treetops.


Plants are the most numerous living things in the rainforest, feeding the insects which

in turn become prey to larger but less numerous creatures.

The balance of nature in the rainforest is under constant threat from human activity.

The extinction of a single species can create a hole in a food web and have a

disastrous effect on an ecosystem.

Some of the animals in various rainforests around the world, and their diet/prey, are

listed on the facing page.


Forest floor

Concepts to be developed

• A tropical rainforest is found in the hot, humid parts of the world.

There are four layers in the rainforest.

Rainforests are home to many different plants and animals.

• Plants and animals feed on each other to form a food web.

• Humans affect the rainforest by cutting down trees.

• Some people still live in the rainforest.

68 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Some animals of the rainforest

and their diet

Animal Prey/Diet Animal Prey/Diet Animal Prey/Diet Animal Prey/Diet



ants, termites



butterfl y

caterpillar eats

a toxic pipevine

plant; adult feeds

on the liquid

nectar of fl owers

blue morpho

butterfl y

rotting or

fermenting fruit


fruit, leaves,

buds, young



fruit, berries,

small birds,

lizards, insects

leaf cutter


grow own fungus

to eat which they

feed using leaves

or grass


leaves, fruit, bark


fruits, nuts, seeds


tree frog

insects, including

crickets; smaller


poison dart



crickets, fl ies,

ants, spiders,

crustaceans, tiny

water animals



larvae feed on

rotten wood;

adults feed on

nectar, plant sap,





boars, monkeys,

pigs, birds and



harpy eagle

sloths, monkeys,

small mammals


seeds, fruits,

leaves, bark,

insects such as

termites, small



nuts, fruits, seeds



fruit, seeds,

leaves, nuts and





fruit, vegetation,

insects, fungi


fruits, leaves, tree

bark, fl owers,

plant shoots,

bird eggs, small

birds, insects, tree

frogs, other small



fresh leaves, fruit,

nuts, insects,

eggs, small



fruit, leaves,




fruit, leaves, bark,



rodents, fi sh,

birds, caiman,

turtles, larger

mammals if the

snake is big



shoots, buds,

grass, fruit, fungi,




birds, small

rodents (including

bats), lizards

but not large



birds, mammals

of different sizes

including deer

and pigs and

on very rare





freshwater plants


leaves, fruit


smaller fi sh,

larger fi sh and

small mammals if

there is a school

of piranhas


fruits (the

avocado family),

insects, small

vertebrates such

as lizards and



a variety of

animals— turtles,

tapirs, deer



fruit, insects,

lizards, snakes,

small mammals


grass, fruit, water




fi sh, turtles, birds,

capybara, larger




leaves, fruit,



organic matter

in soil such as

animal parts and



fruit, nectar,

blood, insects

(depending on


tree snail

fungus, lichen,

dead plant


R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest 69

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Red-eyed tree frog

70 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Instructions: Colour or paint the parts of the frog, except the eyes. Fan fold strips of paper and attach for legs and arms. Attach feet and hands. Add red spots or sequins for eyes. Alternatively, use as a template to

trace the frog shape onto the back of a painted sheet of paper or as inspiration to create a tree frog from coloured paper shapes. Painted handprints may be substituted for hands and feet, if desired.

Colour the toucan

Instructions: Follow the key to colour the toucan. Use the picture as a guide for a shape picture—circle for head, oval for body, rectangle for tail, triangle for beak.

1 = yellow

2 = blue

3 = orange

4 = red

5 = green

6 = brown

7 = black

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest 71

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Sloth game

1 2


72 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®


5 6

7 8

9 10

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Instructions: Copy one page for each child. The teacher randomly calls out numbers from 1 to 10. Children tick, stamp or cross each numeral as it is called out. Or photocopy two copies of the sheet onto

card to play a memory game.

Rainforest shapes

Instructions: Colour the pictures or use as inspiration for the children to make other animals or trees using attribute blocks or coloured paper shapes.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest 73

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Tiger mask

Instructions: Copy onto card. Colour or paint and cut out the tiger mask. Cut out the eyes. Punch holes at the sides and thread elastic through, or staple elastic to card.

74 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Food chain

Wonderful rainforests


Some strange plants grow in the rainforest.

Instructions: Enlarge to A3 size. Colour the pictures. Cut out the strips. Put the strips in order. Staple them together to make a book.


Some animals eat plants.


Some animals eat the plant-eaters.


Some plants eat animals, too!


R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest 75

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6


Mango milkshake


• 500 mL milk

• 250 g vanilla yoghurt

• 500 g chopped mango


• Mix all ingredients in blender. Put in fridge to cool. Pour and serve.

Chocolate and coconut bread


• 1 slice of fresh bread

• 1 teaspoon chocolate spread

• 1 teaspoon dried coconut


• Spread chocolate spread all over the bread. Sprinkle coconut on top.

Cut bread into four triangles and serve.


Guava delight

• 1 cup pureed guava pulp

• 1 cup evaporated milk

• 3

/ 4

cup honey

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice


• Pour evaporated milk into a bowl and leave in freezer for

20 minutes until chilled. Whip until thickened. Add honey

and lemon juice to pureed guava and mix to combine.

Gently fold milk into fruit and pour into freezer moulds.

Freeze for about 6 hours.

Tropical muffin pizza


• 1 English muffi n sliced in half

• 1 tablespoon tomato paste

• 1

/ 2

sliced avocado

• 1

/ 2

cup chopped pineapple

• 1

/ 2

cup grated cheese


• Spread tomato paste over the cut side of the two muffi n

halves. Place slices of avocado and pineapple pieces on

top. Cover with grated cheese. Cook in oven at 200 ºC for

15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then serve.

76 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Avocado spread



• 1 avocado

• 1 crushed clove of garlic

• 1 small tub natural fromage frais

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1

/ 2

teaspoon salt


• Slice avocado and remove stone. Remove fl esh and blend

with remaining ingredients. Spoon into bowl and chill in

fridge before serving.

(If fromage frais is not available, try using low-fat creamed

cheese instead.)

Fig surprise


• 1

/ 4

cup chocolate chips

• 1

/ 2

cup chopped, toasted almonds*

• 12 fresh fi gs cut in half

• vanilla ice-cream


• Pre-heat oven to 180º C. Combine chocolate chips and

almonds in a bowl. Press a teaspoon of mix into each fi g

half. Spray a baking tray lightly with oil. Place fi gs on tray

and bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla icecream.

Tropical fruit salad


• 1 peeled, seeded and diced ripe papaya

• 1 diced banana

• 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh coriander

• 3 tablespoons lime juice


• Combine all ingredients and chill before serving.

Tropical fruit punch


• juice of 1 orange

• juice of 1 pink grapefruit

• 3 tablespoons lime juice

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice


• Combine all ingredients

and chill before serving.

Macadamia butter


• macadamia nuts (or nuts of choice)*


• Grind or process nuts until a butter. Chill 2 minutes to thicken then use as a spread (in place of peanut butter) or dessert


*Be aware of children with allergies to nuts.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest 77

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Display ideas

Rainforest layers

• Cover a wall with child-made rainforest plants, clearly showing the four layers: emergent, canopy, understorey and forest

fl oor. Include hanging vines (liana). Children make different 3-D animals using a range of craft techniques and materials and

locate them in the appropriate place in the rainforest layers display. Include a river for fi sh and water-loving amphibians and

reptiles. Label each animal or unusual plant. (See a list of rainforest animals on page 69.)

Rainforest gallery

• Children choose a rainforest creature or plant to match the initial sound of their own names. For example, Jamilah jaguar,

Amelia anaconda, Freddie fl ytrap, Kevin kapok, Peta piranha etc. They colour/decorate and frame with coloured construction

paper, a picture of their chosen creature/plant. In black pen on a silver-grey paper name plaque, label each picture. Display

pictures in alphabetical order.

Swinging vines

• Children hang models of rainforest creatures across the classroom using green cardboard or twisted paper, thick string or

wool, or real vine from the garden.

Colourful parrots

• Ask the children to use fi ngers or brushes to make

colourful patterns on a small paper plate. When dry,

add a circular head cut from coloured paper or card

and a coloured, cut-out pattern for wings, beaks, eyes

and head feathers. (Alternatives: Painted handprints,

allowed to dry and cut out may be used for wings,

triangular shapes for beaks, feathers (in a collage) for

head pieces and googly eyes.)

Rainforest library

• Provide a variety of suitable books about rainforests—

both fi ction and nonfi ction—for the reading corner. Suspend a green sheet from the ceiling over the area so that the children

can read about the rainforest while sitting under a green canopy.

Rainforest food webs

• As a class, discuss, place, connect and display pictures of plants and animals in different food webs. Join them together

using paper chains.

Woven rainforest canopy

• Weave strips of green and brown material and thin, fallen branches through the spaces of an old fi shing net and suspend it

from the ceiling of the classroom to replicate the emergent and canopy layers of the rainforest. The children underneath the net

can pretend to be any plant or animal living in the rainforest.

Live plant display

• Refer to science cross-curricular activities, game activity.

Hand print treetops

• Use yellow and shades of green paint to make

prints of the children’s hands or feet. When dry,

have the children cut them out and display them

near the ceiling as treetops. Use fl at sheets of

brown paper, hanging down from them as tree


Household items displays

• Hang a class-painted shower curtain as a

rainforest background; use an old hat or coat

stand, decorated, as tall trees to support craft


78 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Literature resources – 1


• Rain, rain, rainforest by Brenda Z Guiberson

The great kapok tree by Lynne Cherry

The umbrella by Jan Brett

• Slowly, slowly, slowly said the sloth by Eric Carle

• Way up high in a tall green tree by Jan Peck

The rainforest grew all around by Susan K Mitchell

• Over in the jungle: A rainforest rhyme by Marianne Berkes


Rainforest foodchains by Molly Aloian & Bobbie Kalman

Rainforests by Lucy Baumann

• A rainforest habitat by Molly Aloian & Bobbie Kalman

• Tropical rainforest by Donald Silver

• A walk in the rainforest by Kristin Joy Pratt

• Nature’s green umbrella by Gail Gibbons

Songs, action rhymes, fingerplays and poems

I’ve been working in the rainforest

(Sung to: ‘I’ve been working on the railroad’)

I’ve been working in the rainforest,

All among the trees.

I’ve been working in the rainforest,

Where I saw the bats and bees.

Parrots, butterfl ies and toucans,

Monkeys and hummingbirds galore,

Frogs and snakes and spotted leopards

On the rainforest fl oor!

I’ve been working in the rainforest,

All among the green.

I’ve been working in the rainforest,

Where the plant life must be seen!

Ferns and mosses and lianas,

Orchids and honeysuckle, too.

Oh, how special is the rainforest,

A magic place come true!

Rainforest animals singing game

(A bag with small animal fi gures inside is required.)

We’re going through the rainforest,

We’re going through the rainforest,

What can we see?

What can we see?

(Sing while tapping hands on knees to keep the beat but also

imitate feet walking through the rainforest. Ask a child to select

an animal from the bag, then either sing a song about this

animal, say a rhyme, tell a story or just discuss the animal.

Repeat a number of times.)

The layers of the rainforest

(Tune: ‘If you’re happy and you know it’)

There are four layers in the rainforest.

4 Layers!

There are four layers in the rainforest.

4 Layers!

Forest fl oor (crouch down), understorey (stand up and bend

over slightly), canopy (stand and put your arms over your

head like an umbrella), emergent (stand on toes and reach up


There are four layers in the rainforest.

I’m a little monkey

(Tune: ‘I’m a little teapot’)

I’m a little monkey in the tree

Swinging by my tail so happily

I can leap and fl y from tree to tree

I have lots of fun as you see.

I’m a little monkey watch me play

Munching on bananas every day

Lots of monkey friends to play with me

We have fun up in the tree.

Deep in the rainforest

Deep in the rainforest, in the shade of the trees,

Along creeps a jaguar, hunting for a meal.

What can he spy? What can he sniff?

Out jumps the jaguar!


for tea.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest 79

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

Literature resources – 2

Songs, action rhymes, fingerplays and poems

Carnivorous plants

The Venus flytrap

Five buzzing fl ies

Near the rainforest fl oor,

Snap! goes the fl ytrap.

Now there’s only four.

Four buzzing fl ies ... etc.

The sundew

The colourful sundew shining in the sun,

Waits for its prey – tentacles waving,

That’s number one!

The colourful sundew shining in the sun,

Waits for its prey – tentacles waving,

That’s number two! ... etc.

The pitcher

The pitcher plant opens its hood.

In pops its prey – the nectar tastes so good!

Down goes the prey.

Down goes the hood.

Mmm that was tasty.

Time for some more, so ...

The pitcher plant opens its hood ... etc.

Three talking toucans

Three talking toucans sitting in a tree

(Hold up 3 fi ngers.)

The fi rst one turned and squawked at me!

(Squawk! Squawk!)

Three little toucans sitting in a row

(Hold up 3 fi ngers.)

The second one said ‘I fl ap my wings. Watch me go!’

(Flap wings.)

Three little toucans sitting side by side

(Hold up 3 fi ngers)

The third one said ‘I can open my beak wide!’

(Hold hands like a beak and open out.)

Three Red-Eyed tree frogs

Three little frogs sitting in a tree.

The fi rst one turned and jumped towards me!

Three little frogs hopping all about.

The second one said ‘At night’s when I come out!’

Three little frogs leaping tree to tree

The third one said ‘Hey, wait for me!’


80 Early years themes—PlacesThe rainforest www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

ISBN 978-1-74126-966-6

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