Fall is a popular time to study squirrels, however January is home of National Squirrel Appreciation Day and that peeks our interest for sure. So whether you have some awesome squirrel activities planned for science, nature studies or just to foster appreciation and understanding of these adorable rodents. We have some surefire ways to add to your fun.
Squirrel Appreciation Day was started to highlight the better qualities of these animals, and perhaps reclassify them in the minds of folks who think of them as pests. Often when we don’t understand something it’s easy to just think of it as, shall we say, a pest.
Spy on Squirrels
There are over 200 species of squirrel, so I would imagine there are some near you. Putting out food or water provide a great opportunity to observe their natural behaviors. You can do this in a local park or even in your own backyard.
What Squirrel behaviors do you see? Use this opportunity to complete a nature study. It can be a simple as a piece of paper or an elaborate as a squirrel notebook.
In our homeschool we like to take a week, put out walnuts (they are our squirrel’s favorite) ad sit quietly to watch. We draw the squirrels, taking time to note color and size, gender if we can. It’s fun to give them names like Chatterer and Nutsy, or just Sam, Sandy and Susan. In our notebook, we record the things we see each day, sitting in the same place at the same time. Here are some things you can look for:
Running and Chasing: It looks a lot like play, but what you see might actually be squirrel dating. In late winter squirrels chose mates. The males will chase females and males will chase away other males. If you watch you may get to see them run, leap and run some more quick as can be!
Talking: The noise squirrels make is really surprising. I love to hear them “scream” at the backyard cats! They are warning each other, and the cats to keep away from their food! Squirrels squeak, make clicking noises and “chatter” to talk to each other. They also flick their tails as a form of communication. Sit quiet and listen to what your furry friends have to say!
Climb, Jump, Flip and “Fly”: You don’t need to go to the circus to see top performing acrobats. Just watch the squirrels race through the treetops! Squirrels use their tails for balance and have feet that grip tightly to branches. They love to climb and jump from branch to branch, often making it look like they are flying!
Nesting: Look carefully and see if you can find a squirrels drey. That’s a nest they build in a tree hole or branch using leaves and twigs. It will likely be up high so other animals don’t disturb it.
We also have some engaging squirrel lessons you can use! There are plenty of activities to spread over a week, or you can use this in it’s entirety for Squirrel Appreciation day!
Activities include a coloring page, gratitude activity, squirrel reading room with links to 10 different squirrel books, internet search relating to squirrel facts and a comprehension worksheet for my all time favorite squirrel video – Why do Squirrels Dig? from Sci Show Kids.
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