Rainforests bring to mind lush trees, colourful animals and interesting insects. Most rainforests are located in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Central and South America. According to MongaBay.com, rainforests contain 170,000 or the world's 250,000 known plant species. Rainforests help stabilise the world's climate and are also home for many of the world's endangered species. Along with being the ecosystem for plants and animals, rainforests receive large amounts of rain and help maintain the water cycle by adding moisture into the atmosphere from trees releasing water during photosynthesis.
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Recycle paper towel or toilet paper rolls by creating rainforest trees. Trees found in a rainforest are tropical-like palm trees along with very tall and skinny and short bushy trees like shrubs. Kids can cut interesting leaves out of green construction paper, resembling palm trees, to create rainforest trees. Use glue to attach the leaves to the paper towel rolls. Once the tropical trees have been created, they can be put together to create a vast rainforest.
Colourful tropical birds live in the rainforest such as toucans, parrots and macaws. Share pictures of these colourful birds with the children. Kids can use the pictures to help them draw their own tropical birds using oil pastels on sheets of drawing paper. Once the drawings are finished, children can paint the birds with watercolour paints. Oil and water don't mix, so the oil pastels will resist the paint, making the finished artwork bright and vibrant.
Part of what makes a rainforest tropical is the amount of rain it receives. Children can create a water-filled rain collage by using old magazines and silver glitter. Each child can cut out pictures of animals that are found in tropical rainforests from magazines and glue them onto a piece of paper. Once their paper is filled, lightly paint over the collage with water-downed glue. Children can sprinkle their collage with silver glitter, making it look like it is raining in their tropical rainforest collage.
Children can pick their favourite tropical rainforest animal, be it a monkey, tree frog, or jaguar, and create a colourful portrait. Kids can use a ruler to create a 2-inch border around the outside edge of their papers and draw a picture of their selected animal in the centre of the paper using coloured pencils. The outside border of the paper can be decorated with drawings of leaves and geometric line designs.
Cut tropical snakes out of construction paper. Kids can make a snake by cutting the corners of the construction paper to create an oval. Using a marker, children draw a spiralling line, which starts at the outside edge of the construction paper and spirals around to the centre of the paper. Cut along the line. Kids can decorate the cut snake with markers, and when finished, hold it from one end as it uncurls. Pick one end to be the head of the snake and attach a tongue and eyes, as desired. Making tropical snakes hones a child's hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills through cutting.
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