Kids will love to play and learn from this printable educational matching game, which teaches how to match animals with their tracks and where to find them!
Most animals do not want to come in close contact with humans, but if you learn to notice and recognize their tracks, you will be able identify which animals visit your neighbourhood or like to walk along the same trails as you do. Animal tracks can become a window into an otherwise hidden world—the presence and habits of wild animals.
For many children, it will be a fascinating and gratifying experience of discovering animals in their immediate surroundings, using clues like a detective!
Why Try Animal Tracking with Kids?
Animal tracking is an important part of living in a hunter-gathering society, so it can always be explored as a part of culture or history lesson. But do modern kids have a use for knowing animal tracks? You bet!
- It connects children with the natural world around them.
- It develops scientific thinking as they look for clues and make hypotheses as to which animals were here and what they did.
- It develops spatial thinking as children learn that a footprint doesn’t look exactly like a foot. Only some parts of the foot make contact with the ground and leave prints. Observing this gives children an opportunity to think about complex three-dimensional forms.
- It also develops symbolic thinking as they learn that a sign (the footprint of an animal) stands for something else (an actual animal). In that way, learning animal tracks is often compared to learning how to read and can, in some ways, help beginning readers.
About the Animal Track Game
When learning a new language, we start with ABCs. In the world of animal tracking, that would be the most common types of footprints, and those are the ones we included in this printable game of animal tracks. The kids will have an opportunity to study them in a playful manner, while playing one of two suggested games.
The animals included in the animal track game are a squirrel, a rabbit, a bear, a raccoon, a deer, a beaver, a coyote, a skunk, an armadillo, a wild boar, a bobcat, a snake, a sea turtle, a duck, and a wild turkey. This selection of animals shows a wide variety of different kinds of footprints while showcasing species that can be found near human dwellings or parks.
The Game Includes:
- fifteen animal cards with watercolour-and-ink illustrations
- fifteen labelled animal track cards (the name of the animal is labelled as well as its fore feet and hind feet when applicable)
- fifteen unlabelled animal track cards
- fifteen information cards that offer an interesting fact about each animal along with some hints on where they usually live, so that you will know where to look for tracks
Animal Tracks: Sorting Game
Mix the cards thoroughly, face up, then look through them, finding the matching pairs. To make it easier to find the matching pairs, use labelled track cards. To make it more challenging, use the non-labelled track cards. To make the game competitive, you can set a timer for 30 or 60 seconds and see who can find the most pairs.
Can you figure out which of these four animal leaves which tracks?
Animal Tracks: Memory Game
Depending on the number of players and their ages, you can either use a few pairs at a time (4-5)…
…or create a big memory game with all of them.
Use labelled track cards while learning to identify the tracks. Use non-labelled track cards for added complexity. Place the cards in a grid. Take turns temporarily revealing two cards from the grid. If the cards revealed show the animal and its tracks, the player who revealed the cards gets to keep them. Whoever has the most cards at the end of the game wins.
More Nature Fun?
Play this printable memory game by matching male and female birds and making bird pairs!