The Habitat Box
Use a small flat box, about the size of a shirt box is ideal. Visit on your own the habitat that you will be studying and pick of samples of things the children might expect to see. Example: Beach habitat - sand, small shells, smooth stones, kelp, barnacles, periwinkles, feathers, etc. Put them in the box together and let the children handle, sniff and explore them. Talk about the different animals that would have lived in the shells, how the stones got smooth, what kind of birds hang around the beach, what they eat for food...the possibilities are endless! This can be done for forest, lakes, rivers, cities, anyplace.
BUGS…go on a hunt and collect bugs. Use nets and containers with magnifying glasses on them and study them. Try to get a collection going. Dragonflies, large mosquitoes, bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, large crickets, etc.. You can use magnifying glasses, plastic bugs, bug houses with live critters, etc...