Spanish Version

What Are You Doing Here?

Science/Art Activity

Children will draw scenes of different environments and create some unexpected visitors in those environments. This activity reinforces children's understanding of the characteristics of different environments and the animals that do or do not live in these environments. It also gives children the opportunity to practice their creative writing skills.


  • Crayons, colored pencils, markers
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Craft sticks
  • Books or magazines with pictures that show the landscapes of different climates


  1. Discuss with children some different types of environments and climates on earth, such as desert, mountain, and rain forest. On the board or chart paper, create word webs with the name of each environment in the center, surrounded by words that describe it and animals that live there.

  2. Next, tell children that they are going to choose an environment and draw a picture of it. As children are drawing, explain that when they are done they are going to cut a slot in their picture for an unexpected visitor. Some children may want to use a ruler to draw a line marking where the slot is to be cut. The slot should be about four inches long. (You may need to help children choose a good spot for the slot and/or do the actual cutting.)

  3. When children are finished, have them exchange pictures with a partner. Encourage children to take some time and think about the environment they have received. Ask them to think of animals that do not belong in that environment. (They can to refer to the word webs created earlier.) Then have them make a stick puppet of an animal that will be an unexpected visitor to that environment. As they are making their stick puppets, have them think of a story about how the animal got to that environment. Help them develop their stories by telling them to think about how the animal would feel in that environment. Does the animal like the new environment? Why? Why not? Does it miss its usual surroundings? How are they different?

  4. When children are ready, have them slip their stick puppet into their partner's pictures. Children can use the stick puppets to role play what it is like in the environment in the picture, and share the stories they created. Partners can take turns getting things started by asking each other, "What are you doing here?"


  • Create mural backgrounds of different environments and have children work with a partner to act out a meeting between two animals, one that lives in the environment shown and one that is an unexpected visitor to it.

  • Divide the class into two or more teams, call out an environment, and give children one minute to list as many animals as they can that do not belong in that environment. Give a point to the team with the most animals. Repeat the process for several different environments.

  • You may want to have children write down their stories and display them with their pictures.

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