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As Benita would say, “Playing hide-and-seek is the most fantastic, funnest festivity I can think of.” For other animals, it can be a very serious business. Why? Go outside and find out.

Camouflaging frog

What you need

  • large square paint chip samples, two of each color you pick, or sheets of different colored construction paper
  • scissors

What you do

  1. First, cut butterflies out of the paper or paint chips, two of each color. While your child is elsewhere, place the butterflies around your yard, or whatever outdoor area you’ll be in. Put one of each color on a contrasting background and the other in a place where it blends in to some extent. (On a rainy day, this could become an indoor activity.)

  2. Then, explain to your child that some animals are hunters. They hide to sneak up on their prey. Polar bears hunt in the Arctic. Ask your child what part of their bodies help polar bears hide in that white, snowy place? (Their fur helps them blend in.)

  3. Go on to explain that other animals hide to avoid being someone else’s dinner! Some grasshoppers are green. Ask your child where these ‘hoppers might hang out if they want to hide from the birds and frogs that would like to eat them (the grass)?

  4. Now, it’s time for your child to go on the hunt! How many butterflies can she or he find? Encourage your child to keep going, trying to find two of each color.

  5. Then ask: Which butterflies were the easiest to find? Hardest to find? Why? If you were a butterfly, how would you try to blend in and hide?

Some more fun camouflage facts to share:

  • The Arctic fox has dark fur to match the brown dirt of spring and summer. In fall and winter, it turns white to match the snow.

  • Some insects blend in by looking like something else. Some katydids look like leaves and walking sticks look like twigs.

  • A tiger's colorful stripes don’t seem like a good disguise, but they often end up looking like shades of light and grass. That lets the tiger blend very well.

 

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