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Learn All About Amazon Animals with a Hands-on Rain Forest Lesson!

Ready to learn all about Amazon animals? Find activities, books, and resources for your South America unit study here!Rain forest activities for kids

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

For this unit you will have an ongoing project – building your very own Kapok tree with all your favorite rainforest animals.

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.

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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.

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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.

Stezzi the Parrot
Stella the Stick Insect

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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.

51kpckegqrl-_ac_us160_I’d highly recommend learning about the life cycle of a frog this way this way! I wish I’d gotten a picture of this, but it only happened once he refuses to perform for the camera. What a rascal.

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.

We created this lapbook using a mixture of Rainforest Book (above) and the Frog Lapbook free printable from Homeschool Share. Take a look inside at what my son created. Then make your own!

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!

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