Leave It to Beavers: Nature’s Builders

Humans are not the only builders. Many animals build structures to live in or to protect where they live. Beavers make structures called dams to protect their lodges from predators. Plus, they use their own teeth as a saw when they build! How cool is that? Learn even more cool facts about beavers and their homes with these books and activities recommended by librarian Brigid from Chinatown Branch.  

For some STEAM activities to learn the science and engineering behind canals and dams, check out Canals and Dams!

Then, explore how many concepts in human-made structures have been influenced by nature in Wild Buildings and Bridges.

Dude! Dude! You have to read this book. It's totally about this platypus and this beaver who are friends. They want to go surfing, but Dude! There's this shark who's in the ocean, too. You'll never guess what happens!

In I'm Done!, Little Beaver would rather play with friends than build a proper dam, but finally he is ready to get it done.

Now that you know how beavers block streams or rivers and create a dam, try to build your own! Find a container, like a paint tray or casserole dish, and fill it half full with water. Or you can head outside to a sandbox instead. Collect materials like sticks, rocks and anything else you can find and discover what material works best to keep the water on one side of your dam. See how one group of kids built a dam in this video from PBS Kids.

Did you know beaver dams can help clean polluted waters? Create your own water filtration system just like a beaver's dam.

Reflect on Your Learning

Join the Summer Learning Challenge to earn prizes online or at your neighborhood branch. Read for 500 minutes and do at least one Discover and one Create activity to complete the challenge. Activities completed online will count as a Discover or a Create activity.

Kids, please ask your grown-up to fill out this form. Chicago Public Library cannot collect personal information online from kids 0 to 13.

* indicates a required field
  • About You

  • Child's Name * Required
  • Summer Learning Challenge is for kids 0 to 13.
  • Caregiver's Email
    By providing my email address, I agree to receive email from Chicago Public Library about my child's participation in the Summer Learning Challenge.
  • Sign Up for Email Updates
  • Your Reflection

    • Upload a photo of your creation or you at work. File should be a .jpg, .gif, .png or .pdf. Maximum file size is 5MB.
    • By submitting your photo, you authorize Chicago Public Library to post your work on our website, social media and print materials, along with your first name.
    Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf.
    Maximum file size - 5 mega bytes.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Chicago Public Library