This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for details.
Ready to learn all about Amazon animals? Find activities, books, and resources for your South America unit study here!
All about Amazon Animals
Rainforest Activities for Kids!
Our trip around the world led us to the South American rainforest. We extended our lesson plans quite a bit. Following the tiny poison arrow frog right down the rabbit… er frog trail! In this unit your child will learn about:
- Layers of the rainforest
- Animals native to the Amazon
- Frog life cycle
and work on:
- A kapok tree displaying their favorite Amazon animals
- A lapbook about the poison dart frog
- Games, activities, worksheets, and gross motor development
Let’s get started learning about the animals of the Amazon!
Learn about Amazon Animals as you Build a Kapok Tree
We had so much fun making this, and I could see my son processing all that we learned. It’s nice to have a big, visual project to work on over time.
We read The Great Kapok Tree, which introduces many animals that live in the Amazon rain forest. Read the book, then add to the tree as you learn about the rainforest throughout your unit.
More Books About the Animals of the Amazon
These are our favorite Amazon rainforest books that we found.
- A Walk in the Rainforest – A to Z book of rainforest plants and animals.
- Where the Forest Meets the Sea – A boy imagines he is in the ancient rainforest and hopes the forest he plays in is not destroyed.
- National Geographic Readers: Monkeys (Level 2) I love incorporating leveled readers into our units. It builds confidence as kids start to recognize that same vocabulary across texts.
Instructions for creating your own kapok tree:
- Use a roll of paper to make a tree trunk and brances on the wall as a base for your materials
- Rip and crumple brown paper bags (hello fine motor practice – ripping paper is good for little fingers)
- Glue the crinkled brown “bark” to the white paper underneath.
- Cut out the construction paper leaves in groups while you skip count 2,4, 6, 8
- Hot glue those on along with the spiky bromeliad plant – home to poison arrow frogs
- Printed out pictures of your favorite Amazon animals on white label paper
- Cut them out and apply them to the correct layer of the tree
Of course, no forest unit would be complete without experiencing what it would be like to climb to the emergent layer and cry out like a howler monkey. Just ask Dad. He’s the guy in the tree.
Amazon Animal Games and Activities
The Rain Forest book had a huge amount of fantastic activities. I’m sure we will be going back to this one time and time again.
The grade range is 2nd to 5th grade, but many of the activities were fine for sitting side-by-side with a five year old.
Some of our favorites were
- finding the poison arrow frogs in a seek-and-find
- making a rainforest food chain (a spider that eats birds?!?)
- creating the Layers of the Rain Forest foldable (we used this on the left side of our lapbook)
You’ll also find tons of rainforest facts, activities, crafts, and animal profiles.
Early Chapter Books about the Amazon
Magic Tree House #6 Afternoon on the Amazon and the corresponding research guide: Rain Forests. I also love that you can get these as an audiobook or on cd . We did a lot of reading for the rainforest! Audiobooks give my voice a nice rest!
Move like an Animal in the Amazon!
We love Cosmic Kids! Cute stories get the kids up and moving, laughing, and exercising. These episodes are set in the rain forest, naturally.
As we learned about all of the animals of the rainforest, my son zeroed in on the poison arrow frog (also know as the poison dart frog) as his favorite. These deadly creatures are only about the size of your thumbnail!
Learn about the Life Cycle of a Frog
We were reading about the life cycle of a frog, and my son was having an especially wiggly day – odd for a five year old boy, no? So instead of sitting next to me, he wiggled down to the floor and acted it all out.
The reader we used to learn about the frog life cycle was National Geographic Readers: Frogs. Some ideas for encouraging your own little frog:
- Curling up in a ball, turn into a tiny frog egg floating in the water
- Hatch from the egg as a tadpole with gills and fins flopping all over the floor in an imaginary underwater habitat
- Begin to grow your lungs and back legs at the same time
- Emerge from the water and climb ashore
- Hop, hop, hop around for the rest of the day
Frog Playlist with a Special Appearance from the Poison Arrow Frog!
Learn all about frogs with videos, songs, and read aloud stories. Stream it here or find it on YouTube. Roughly 35 minutes and one hopping good time.
Amazon Rainforest Animal Lapbook
After learning all about the rainforest and the poison arrow frog, we used a lapbook as our culminating project.
If your child is not as enthused about the poison arrow frog as mine, you can use these materials to create a lapbook for any Amazon animal!
Top elementary geography posts from the Resource Room:
Find more resources for your South America unit study:
Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.