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Squirrels are my second favorite animal.  (Hippos are my first.)  I love to watch how they interact with one another and bury their treasures with those tiny paws.  It is also fun to watch them run around with a mouth full of nuts or leaves as they prepare for the winter.

Tree squirrels are still around when winter comes, so they need to build special winter homes to protect them from the elements.  Many tree squirrels build new nests for the winter and you can find them tucked high up in the tree branches.  Their nests are much easier to see in the winter since the trees don't have leaves.  If you can, go on a squirrel nest hunt before you make your own "critter collage" described below.

You can take this activity further by hiding "acorns" (paper cut-outs or cards with acorn pictures on them or small balls depending on your child's age) for your little one to "hunt" for.  Who can find the most acorns?  Make it more challenging by setting a timer!  Then, let your child hide them for you to find.

This craft idea came from The Mailbox Magazine, Preschool Edition, Jan/Feb 2003 submitted by LeeAnn Collins.

Cozy Critter Collage

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Love Bug liked the dryer lint a lot. Sweet Girl wanted to make sure her squirrel was well protected. :)
This is an easy craft to pull together last minute as it uses things you probably already have around the house.  My girls had a lot of fun building the nests and can't wait to go outside looking for some real squirrel nests.  It was raining today, so we stayed inside. :)

Supplies Needed:  a squirrel pattern (try this simple one), crayons, scissors, a piece of brown construction paper, glue stick and glue and a variety of items to use to build the nest such as yarn, straw, sticks, leaves, stuffing, etc

*I was switching over the laundry right before we started this craft and thought it would be fun to use the dryer lint for fluff in the squirrel's nest--free art supply at my fingertips!  We also used some leftover tissue paper squares from another project.  I even had some nice leaves on hand that I dried flat from another project.  The leaves had retained their fall colors and weren't too crunchy to work with.

What to do:
  1. Let your child color in the squirrel.
  2. Depending on your child's age, you may have to cut out the squirrel pattern into an "oval" shape.
  3. Have your child glue the squirrel onto a piece of brown construction paper and trim it into an oval shape to look like the shape of a nest.
  4. Let your child have fun making the squirrel's nest.  Glue stick will work for most things, but you will need glue to make twigs and leaves stick.
  5. Lay flat to dry before hanging up.
This project is great for those fine motor skills.  Look at those sweet, little hands work!

This song does a good job of summing up the things we talked about and describes how squirrels act in the winter.  Watch out, it just might get stuck in your head!
A Squirrel Song 
Sung to:
"She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain"
www.preschooleducation.com
Original Author Unknow
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I'll be gathering all the acorns till they're gone.
I'll be gathering all the acorns till they're gone.
I'll be gathering all the acorns, gathering all the acorns,
Gathering all the acorns till they're gone.
(Children make collecting motion with their hands)

And I'll put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside, put them all inside,
Put them all inside my little home.
(children pretend to place nuts in tree house)

And I'll eat the nuts until the winter's gone.
I will eat the nuts until the winter's gone.
I will eat the nuts until, eat the nuts until,
Eat the nuts until the winter's gone.
(children pretend to eat acorns)

Then I'll do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again, do it all again,
Do it all again come next fall.
(children make gathering motion with hands and arms again)


**All photos and text are property of Angela Pounders and can not be distributed without permission.  
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