You may not have ever considered teaching your child about the different food chains that exist in nature. However, doing so is a fun and easy way to teach our children about different animals, habitats and ecosystems. . .all at the same time! Food chains are a simple concept that tie into all those facets of our world in a way that even really young children can understand.
Since food chains are completely different in different sorts of environments, studying different food chains as a unit of study will also give your child a way to think globally about the variety of animals and habitats all over the world! Today, we’re talking about the Australian Woodlands Food Chain and even sharing an Australian Woodlands Food Chain Coloring Book that is perfect for introducing younger children to this particular ecosystem in a fun and easy way!
The pages in this printable coloring book include a colorful cover page as well as six black-and-white pages for your children to color as you teach them more about the food chain of Australia’s woodlands. These coloring pages also include handwriting practice with the names of each living thing discussed in this particular food chain, namely: plants, beetles, possums and dingos.
I think it’s a great idea to use these pages to introduce each animal to your child, and then spend some time talking and/or reading more about each animal and how they relate to each other on the food chain while your child colors the pages! I used to think that kids would be too distracted coloring and listening at the same time, but I’ve since learned that giving kids something to color as they listen can actually really help them pay better attention!
Easy Lesson Ideas to Learn About the Australian Woodlands Food Chain
Introduce the Food Chain
If you’re studying Australia or food chains (or both) with your children, there are some fun and easy ways to make the most of your lessons without adding a lot of extra work and planning! One of the simplest things you can do is just look at these pictures together. Talk about the names of the animals. Let your children color the pages with crayons, markers, or paints as a way of beginning to build interest in the topic and starting to feel more familiar with the topic. One of the coloring pages that is included in this printable shows where each creature on the food chain is seen in nature, so you can talk about that as well.
Talk About Relationships
Look at the food chain and talk about the relationship of plant/animals to others in the chain (particularly to the one before and after it on the food chain chart that comes with the printable). Look together at how the food chain begins with smaller animals and increases in size. Discuss how plants and animals need food to live and thrive, how this cycle works and how it continues. (Of course you can decide how in depth you do or don’t want to go based on your own children’s ages and maturity levels.)
Use the handwriting practice that’s provided with each coloring page to encourage young children to work on handwriting skills as you learn together, but don’t worry about perfecting the handwriting of young children just yet! You want them to be interested in handwriting, but very young children aren’t ready yet to work too much on beautiful handwriting. That will come with time, maturity, and the building of greater fine motor skills. For now, let them enjoy the practice and don’t worry about how it looks.
After your child colors the page showing the complete food chain, cut it apart and have him or her put the animals in the correct order. This is another opportunity to discuss why each plant or animal feeds on another particular plant or animal as well as to work on memory and vocabulary.
Read Some Books
Do some reading with your kids to go along with this food chain activity! There are so many fun and educational books out there that you can use to teach your children about Australia. Here are just a couple to get you started!
Over in Australia by Marianne Berkes (and illustrated by Jill Dubin) is ideal for young children between 4-7 (the same age range that will most enjoy the Australia Food Chain Coloring Book). This book is full of interesting information and beautiful pictures to teach your child about all kinds of cool creatures who reside in Australia.
Is your child curious about how children in other parts of the world live? If studying Australia’s food chain makes you decide to learn more about the country of Australia, then this “Ready to Read” book, Living in Australia is a great way to teach your young child about life in another country, while working on his or her reading skills at the same time! It is also perfect for children between 5-7 years of age.
Studying Food Chains as a Unit?
Are you wanting to study several different food chains as part of an early learning science unit? Well, we’re here to help with that! You’ll find even more ideas for using food chains to teach your children in the following articles: Learn about the Boreal Forest Food Chain, Learning About Life in the Pond and Learn about the Rainforest Food Chain (Hint: these articles all share coloring books and learning information, too, so that you can have a cohesive unit for your studies on food chains!)