While the sun is vital to life, it's important to experience it in moderation! This activity will help children recognize that animals, as well as people, need protection from the sun when it is shining directly on us.

set up ideas:
Choose a sunny day for this activity and begin with a discussion about the importance of being protected from the sun, both with shelter and with sunscreen.

let's get started

You'll need to gather dough (a golf-ball sized amount for each child), craft materials to create shelters, clear cups, gravel and materials for decorating animals, such as wiggly eyes and pipe cleaners.
Discuss how animals also need protection from the sun and they often search out some type of shelter.

step 1
Begin by having each child create a small animal out of dough. The animals must be able to fit inside the cups.
step 2
When the animals are complete, give each child a cup with gravel in the bottom and have them place their animals in their cups.
step 3
Using craft materials, have each child construct a shelter over their cup to protect the animal inside. Some materials may include construction paper and craft sticks.
step 4
When complete, place the cups in a sunny spot indoors for approximately one hour. Then, have the children compare their animals. The animals with the least protection will be squishy and soft. The ones with the most protection with be firmer.

Even though children are building a physical barrier in this activity, it will be helpful to draw a connection with children wearing sunscreen for protection from the sun. Discuss how while sun exposure is so good for our minds and bodies, too much can harm our skin and make us overheat.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks
The gravel is useful because this activity works better when there is some type of ventilation underneath the animal. You may also poke holes in the bottom of the cup and place them on a raised, breathable surface.
Follow Up ActivityFollow up Activity
Discuss which materials and designs seemed to work best to shelter the animals and create a large-scale version that can house all of the children's animals.