Enter the Rainforest
Roaming the Rainforest
Before we venture too far into the rainforest, we'll spend the day skirting around the edges, learning about its different layers, and studying amazing adaptations animals have developed to survive. Grab your binoculars because you'll be exploring the nature right around you to see the different rainforest layers up close.
what you’ll need
- A computer, tablet, or mobile phone and access to the internet
- Pens, crayons, markers, or colored pencils
- Paper (large if possible)
- Shoebox and other small boxes
- Thick, cardstock-type paper
- Brown construction paper
- Green tissue paper
- Green paint
- White glue
- Paint brush
- Glue gun (if you have one)
- Small rocks and twigs (optional)
Ask About Today
What are the four different layers of the rainforest? What is one animal that lives in each layer?
If you had to live in the rainforest and could borrow just one adaptation from another species, which one would you want most?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
Our Planet: Jungles
Giant gorillas, ambitious ants, organized orangutans, bashful bats—they all play an essential and interconnected role in the rainforest. This Netflix documentary follows each of these animals, from the dark jungle floor to the sun-filled canopy layer, revealing why the survival of one depends on the survival of the other, and what happens when deforestation hits their home.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
Rainforest in a Shoebox
Using the documentary to inspire you, construct your own 3D rainforest in a shoebox! Follow these instructions and get creative using whatever art supplies you have at home: Paint, colored paper, pieces of fabric, cardboard, rocks, twigs, etc. Magazines with photos of nature scenes can be especially handy. If you're short on craft supplies, you can also consider creating your rainforest scene out of toys like Legos or going big and using natural-colored sheets or towels, houseplants, and stuffed animals.
Think about the different parts of the rainforest and remember how distinct and important each layer is. Be sure to add plants, animals, insects, and maybe even human beings that love and protect their rainforest home.
For younger explorers
Draw Your Rainforest
Check out this video on how to draw a rainforest. Watch the video once, then go back and draw along with the artist to create a rainforest of your very own. Once you've done the outlines, grab your crayons or colored pencils and start coloring it in!
The rainforest can be a difficult place to live. For that reason, animals have developed amazing adaptations and skills to help them survive, making it easier for them them to catch their prey and hide from predators. Read about some of them now, and keep track of the adaptations you think are the coolest.
Night Vision, Naturally
Ever wonder how certain animals can see in the dark? Find out here!
Plant Survival Strategies
Animals and insects aren't the only things that adapt to survive in the rainforest—rainforest plants have evolved in fascinating and unique ways, too. Learn more and see photos in this article from World Atlas.
Astounding Amazon Facts
Did you know that in many parts of the Amazon rainforest, the tree cover and plant life is so thick and tall that it takes 10 minutes for water to hit the ground when it starts raining?
For younger explorers
What If YOU Ran the Rainforest?
Read along with the Dr. Seuss classic If I Ran The Rainforest.
For younger explorers
Join Max and Rosie as they fly off on a rainforest expedition!
Ready, Jungle Ranger?
Are you ready to be a ranger and take some photos in the rainforest? Go on several different missions and learn about plants, animals, and insects with PBS Kids.
Rainforest animals glide, slide, jump, crawl, run and fly to move their body from place to place. (And to think, all we do is walk from place to place.)
Join Andy in his Wild Workout as he shows you different animal moves. You may want to do it twice, if all this talk of rainforests has you feeling jumpy. Then, come up with a few of your own moves!
more to explore
When it comes to rainforests, there's always more to explore.
Visit the Amazon (Kinda)
Explore the Amazon rainforest with this terrific interactive feature from the Rainforest Alliance and PBS Nature.
Under the Canopy
This video gives you an up-close, 360-degree look at Ecuador's Yasuní National Park with Kamanja Panashekung, an indigenous guide. Use the your mouse or fingers to change your view and check out animals hiding in the trees and water.
Pick a Rainforest Slideshow
Explore more about rainforest animals, plants, and birds in these learning slideshows from Mongabay.