Most people think bats are creepy, but I actually love them! No, I wouldn’t want one to get stuck in my hair (actually, that’s a myth that they often do that!), but I definitely think they’re cute- kind of like little flying dogs! Since they’re one of the iconic Halloween creatures, I thought we’d learn a little more about these fascinating mammals by making them our weekly theme! Plus, who doesn’t love Stellaluna? Don’t forget to flap on over to my toddler post Beautiful Bats for more fun ideas like a bat light table and a bat noodle sensory bin!
-“Stellaluna” compare and contrast: We read the classic kids’ book “Stellaluna” and then discussed how birds and bats are alike and different using the story as a guide. I wrote down my little’s thoughts on a Venn Diagram graphic organizer (ie. two overlapping circles- I just traced some kitchen bowls to make it, but you can print them free online too!)
-B- and -at families: I made a foldable graphic organizer by folding a sheet of paper in half width-wise, then folding the top down about an inch, opening it and tracing my fold lines. Then I broke the word “bat” into it’s beginning and ending sounds and had my little think of other words that began with b- or ended with -at.
-N is for Nocturnal: I made a letter tracing page by drawing Ns with dots, then had my little practice writing them in pencil. If you want to make it reusable and do it several times during the week, just tuck it in a page protector!
-“Bats Are Sleeping” poem: We added this cute poem/song to our daily calendar time this week to work on sight word recognition, tracking, and the “return swoop” to the next line of text as we read and pointed to each word. (For more calendar time ideas, check out my Preschool Calendar Time post!) I got the poem from Gradeonederful– it’s to the tune of “Are You Sleeping”. (If you don’t know the tune, you can just say it together).
-Flying bat toss and measure: My little loved this so much we did it over and over and over! LoL You have your little throw a toy bat, then use a tape measure to see how far they threw it! When going over the measurement, I would point to and say each digit and it’s place value, then read the number as a whole (for example: 2 hundreds, 3 tens and 5 ones- that’s 235!) to build number recognition and fluency in reading larger numbers.
-Bat numbers, before and after: I printed out a cartoon bat then cut it out and laminated it on a sheet of blue paper (you could also print one and tuck it in a page protector). I had my little roll a dice to get the starting number, which he wrote in the center of the bat. Then I had him figure out what numbers come before and after it, and write them down on the wings. We practiced until he started to get the hang of it. I got the inspiration from Frogs and Fairies and added the dice part rather than printing out and laminating their 10 bats (which you could totally do if you want to sign up for their emails).
-Bat hole punching: I cut out 12 bats (if you fold a sheet of construction paper into thirds and cut 3 at once, it’s quicker!) and wrote the numbers 1-12 on them. Then my little identified each number and hole punched while he counted that number on each bat. This was kind of prep-intensive, but he loves hole punching and had a blast with it, so it was worth it! Plus it builds hand strength, which is important for fine motor skills! I got the inspiration from A Dab of Glue Will Do and modified it for math (theirs was an ABC activity).
-Bat number matching game: I got this cute game for free on Teachers Pay Teachers! Just print and cut out the cards (or have your little cut them out- yay scissor skills!), shuffle them and lay them face down. Have your little draw a card at a time, then find and polka dot it (or color it) on the bat party page.
-“A Bat is Not a Bird” poem: We also added this poem/song to our daily calendar time- it’s to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”! If you don’t know the tune, you can just read it together as you point to each word. My little loved singing it throughout the day too! I got it from Fun in First!
-Nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular animal sort: We had so much fun with this one and both learned so much! I started by explaining the “big science” words nocturnal and diurnal (I didn’t intend to do crepuscular originally) and showing my little the sorting page I had made with a yellow side for diurnal and a dark blue side for nocturnal. We talked about how bats are nocturnal animals because they are awake at night, whereas other animals like birds are mostly awake during the day. Then I had him carefully cut out the animal page so the animals were separate. Then we looked at the animals one by one and he decided if they were nocturnal or diurnal…and that’s where we hit a snafu. Some animals, like deer, I knew I had seen during the day AND at night- so I had him take his best guess, then googled if they were nocturnal or diurnal. Well, it turns out they’re crepuscular (awake at dawn and dusk) along with other animals like moose and rabbits, so we added that to the center line of our graphic organizer. Once we were sure the animals were in the correct spot, he glued them down.
-STEM make a flying bat challenge: I gave my little a piece of string, a piece of a straw, a piece of tape and a craft foam bat I had cut out. I told him his challenge was to make the bat fly. Without my help, he basically made a bat kite that flew like a bat pretty accurately when he ran with it! The original project had you thread the string through the straw and move your hands up and down so the bat would “fly” across the string, but the thing with STEM is, there really is no right answer, right? I got the idea from The Educators’ Spin On It.
-Bat echolocation experiment: We discussed how some bats use echolocation to “see” in the dark by making clicks and listening as the sound waves bounce off objects. Bats can use these echoes to tell where things are, how far away they are and how big they are! Then we tried to make a visual representation of echolocation by dropping a rock into a large bowl of water. The bowl was too small, so it was hard to see the ripples- so we decided to try it in the pool instead. You could definitely see it there- especially as the ripples caused shadows on the bottom of the pool! If you don’t have a pool, you could try a sink full of water or the bathtub, or a nearby lake or pond or puddle! I got this idea from Teachers Pay Teachers.
-Clothespin bat: I used to do this in my classroom around Halloween and they always come out so cute! (imagine a row of 18 of them hanging upside down on a clothesline!) I drew an oval on a quarter piece of black construction paper, and some wings on another quarter piece. Then I had my little cut them out and add a mouth and googly eyes to the oval. Next I had him glue to oval to one side of the clothes pin so the eyes were opposite the “pinchy part” that clips on things. Finally I had him glue the wings to the back to complete his bat!
-Bat feather painting: I cut out a bat and used ticky tack to stick it to a sheet of black paper. Then I used a rubber band to tie 7 or so feathers together and let my little “pounce” the feathers using yellow paint all around the bat. Then I took the bat off and his silhouette was left behind! I got the idea from ABCs of Literacy but since I didn’t want to spend $10 on a feather duster for one project, I just made my own! LoL
- string or thin ribbon
- a drinking straw
- tape measure
- stuffed bat
- feather duster or a bundle of feathers