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Animal Habitat Cards

I made these simple animal cards for Trishy. I printed two copies of each one, glued them on card stock, and laminated them. The backs are color coded. For example, all the “pond critters” have red backs.

Sometimes we play Concentration with these. Choose a set of cards (for example, the pond animals set); there should be two copies of each image. Shuffle them and lay them, face down, in rows. Each player, in turn, turns two cards face up without moving them from where they are. If they match, she keeps the cards and takes another turn. If they don’t match, she turns them back over and her turn ends.

The object is to score the most matches. This reinforces visual memory and visual-spatial reasoning, because a successful player remembers where she’s seen certain cards from previous turns. Since my daughter is a pre-reader, she also learns the names of animals as we read them aloud when turning them over. So it also reinforces auditory memory and throws in a bit of science.

We also play a game we invented called “Which Animal.” It is similar to the popular board game “Guess Who?” There could be many variations — this is how we play. Each of us takes a complete set of animal cards (remember, there are two copies of each one). Each player lays her set out, face-up, in front of her. Then when the other player isn’t looking, each of us hides a penny under one of our own cards.

Then we take turns asking “yes/no” questions — the object is to guess which animal the other player’s penny is hidden under before she guesses yours. Coins are used to eliminate possibilities as we go.

For example, suppose my penny is hidden under an Arctic Wolf.

Trishy asks, “Is your animal a mammal?”

I say, “yes,” so she looks at HER set and places a coin on each of her non-mammal cards.

Then she asks, “Does your animal usually live in the pond?”

I say, “no,” so she covers each pond critter with a coin.

Then she says, “Is it an Arctic animal?”

“Yes.” She places a coin on each of her non-Arctic animals. (Meanwhile, on my turn, I’m doing the same thing.) Now all her animal cards are covered with a coin except for the Arctic mammals. She might ask, “Does this animal walk on 4 legs?” “Is it related to dogs?” and so forth. Eventually, everything is eliminated (covered with coins) except the Arctic Wolf.

This game is pure deductive logic, with a little classification and taxonomy thrown in. We’ve had fun with it.

Pond Critters

Forest Animals

Arctic Animals

Antarctic Animals

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