Animal Architects for Kids

Did you know that spider webs are stronger than steel? Did you know a beaver dam found in Canada was so large it could be seen from space? Librarians Jessie and Ellie from Rogers Park Branch love sharing what they know about these animal architects. Learn more about the amazing structures that creatures big and small build in the wild and try building some for yourself!

Vivid photos and fun facts introduce kids to Animal Architects, all types of animals that build, and the amazing feats of engineering that they produce.

A Place to Start a Family is a collection of 12 poems featuring animals of air, land and water that build structures for survival. Don't miss the bonus creature information in its back pages.

Science picture book standout Steve Jenkins offers an informative and lighthearted look at where animals live in A House in the Sky.

Author and artist Susan L. Roth compares her own use of collage with the elaborately decorated structures made by bowerbirds in visually dazzling Birds of a Feather.

In My Very First Book of Animal Homes, a colorful and engaging split-page board book, Eric Carle lets kids match animals with the home just right for them.

Most spiders spin webs to trap insects. They then quickly devour them with lightning speed. See how fast your spider can climb into its web with this creative spider craft activity. You’ll need a straw and some string to really get your spider moving!

Birds are clever builders, often creating their own nest homes from twigs, leaves, bits of string, grasses and anything else they can find in nature. A nest must be strong enough to stay firmly in a tree but soft enough to shelter fragile eggs. Birds don’t have glue, staples or other tools to help them keep their nests together, so try this challenge: create a strong, cozy nest using natural materials and no glue, just like a bird.

Beavers are also amazing natural builders. Explore with the National Park Service to learn more about why beaver dams are so important to wetland habitats and other creatures that live there. Then, try building a dam of your own in a waterproof container with dirt, mud, sticks, rocks and whatever else you can find outside! Can your dam stop the water from flowing through?

Reflect on Your Learning

  • If you could choose any animal to be your next door neighbor, what animal would it be? Why? Would it make a good neighbor?
  • What makes your own home a great home for you and your family? Would a wild animal like living with you? Why or why not?