Invent an Animal

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In this outdoor activity and game, learners explore how animals adapt for survival through coloration, markings and camouflage. By inventing, designing and hiding their own animal models, and hunting for other learners' hidden animals, learners investigate how predators and prey also use shape and behavior to blend into their habitats, so they can succeessfully hunt for food or escape from being eaten.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • vegetables (potatoes, string beans, or carrots) for "animal" bodies
  • small paintbrushes
  • sets of tempera paints (yellow, blue, red, brown, and white) in small jars or containers
  • paper cups
  • junk boxes with toothpicks, popsickle sticks, masking tape, rubber bands, cotton etc.
  • small containers of water
  • paper towels
  • scissors
  • colored gel (optional)
  • white, nontoxic latex paint
  • large paintbrush
  • 8 strips of flagging
  • twigs, leaves and other natural materials found on site


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
    • Evolution
      • Evidence for Evolution
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Games
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Regents of the University of California, 1979