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In fall, Sammy watches the squirrels running around and wonders why they are so busy. They’re “squirreling away” future meals in lots of different hiding places. Why so many? Go outdoors and find out!

Red squirrel

What you need

  • 25 unshelled peanuts
  • trowel (optional)

What you do

  1. First, explain to your child that squirrels must gather food in autumn and save it so they’ll have something to eat in winter. If you’re doing this activity in fall, you and your child can watch the squirrels around your neighborhood. Ask your child what squirrels eat. Acorns, of course, but what else? (Hint: nuts, maple, sunflower and other seeds, buds, berries, etc.) Which foods do they eat right away? What do they hide for later? Where? Watch them to find out.

  2. Now, have your child act like a squirrel in autumn. Have him or her hide the peanuts in 25 separate places. Bury some in dirt, others under leaves; stow them in trees or cracks and crevices near your house and throughout your yard. No eating them now! Squirrels need to save some food for winter!

  3. Take a walk around the block or go inside for a while. Read a few books about squirrels perhaps.

  4. Then go back outside so your child can act like a squirrel in winter. See how many of those 25 peanuts your child can find. What happened to the rest? How many are still in hiding places your child forgot? This problem happens to squirrels too.

  5. Explain to your child that over time other animals can find the squirrel’s hiding places and have a feast. That’s another season why squirrels have to spread their food around.

Some more fun squirrel facts to share:

  • At birth, a baby squirrel is just about one inch long!
  • Squirrels chew on tree branches to sharpen and clean their teeth.
  • A squirrel’s teeth keep growing. Some can grow six inches a year, but stay short because they wear down from being used so much.

 

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