Animal Sign Study for Homeschool Nature Study

Welcome to my 10 Days Series on the topic of nature study! Each of the ten days brings you a creative nature walk idea and a fun follow-up activity to spark your enthusiasm for nature study today!

Why study nature?

The answer is more serious than you might think.

Today’s nature study: Animal Signs

Nature Study: Animal Signs

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Creative Walk:

Animal tracks are easiest to find near a water source – like the edge of a creek or pond, or even on bare land after a rain.  Today, take a walk looking for animal tracks.  In a nature notebook, sketch the track(s), measure length and width, notice features such as toes and nails, and scan the area for further clues the animal might have left behind.  Use an animal track field guide to help you determine which animal made the track.

I suggest:

Follow-up Activity:

Work hard to identify at least one animal track you found, and then learn all you can about that animal. Create a diorama or other presentation to share about the animal’s life and habitat.

How to Make a Diorama

A traditional diorama can be made by decorating the inside of a shoe box to look like the topic you are studying. When making an animal’s habitat, for instance, you might decorate the box to look like a forest, being sure to include everything the animal would need for survival. Don’t forget to include the animal, too! Use whatever materials you have around the house like construction paper, paints, clay, or even little plastic models you might have in your toy box.

Alicia from LaFamille shared some great diorama samples with me not too long ago that are sure to inspire you!

Read a Book or Two If You Like:

 Today’s animal track activities are just a very small sampling of similar animal signs ideas you’ll find in the NaturExplorers Animal Signs study!


  1. We found some raccoon tracks down by our creek…along with deer and coyote…I had not considered creating a diorama – thanks!

  2. We have a lot of trails near us (we live in Columbus, OH) but not dirt ones where we can examine animal tracks, they are all paved for bikers. I need to do more research and see if I can find some more rustic trail. I’d love to do some animal track searching. I grew up in B.C., Canada and got to see lots of interesting tracks growing up and camping frequently. I wish I had a resource like your units when I was growing up.

  3. my boys love finding tracks

  4. May have to take the boys to a metropark to look for tracks…unless there’s snow. We get rabbit tracks in winter in the front yard!

  5. Great ideas! Hoping we’ll get more rain soon, so we can find some tracks…

  6. How neat. We just got a new book about tracks and I can’t wait to dig into that book. This unit may just go wonderfully along with it. Would sure be a nice bonus to win lol!!

  7. With our creek, we get a lot of tracks–but they are best when we actually have mud. Our creek is low right now. Hopefully it will get better once we get more rain…we mostly just get deer, birds, rabbits and frogs…and the cat of course!

  8. what fun! with all this rain, this post works perfectly! Hey, wait –you did this with rain, too. You got some connections with the Big Guy? 😉

  9. My kiddos would love this activity…searching for tracks is like a treaure hunt!

  10. Dawn Shaver says:

    Love this idea! Thank you for the step by step.

  11. We just bought this at Cincy and printed it off today. This will be our first unit study. Can’t wait!

  12. Oh, I do hope you enjoy yourselves and find lots of fun animal signs!

  13. HaHa! Nope, but maybe you do!

  14. Me, too! My husband had lots of practical nature experiences as a child and is SO knowledgeable because of it.

  15. I think even my 2.5 yr old could get into Animal tracks! I saw this study but didn’t get it b/c I thought we might not be able to find ANY but we do have a creak nearby, gonna have to check it out after the next rain!

  16. Sarah James says:

    I just bought an animal track field guide so we could do this! I’m excited to go searching for tracks!

  17. What a wonderful thing to study! My guys will look while in the woods but normally we don’t find nothing other than Deer prints… This would be a neat guide for us!

  18. We never thing to sketch the things that we see in nature…..I love that idea. Thanks for the great reminder, and for this awesome series!

  19. Thanks so much for these great nature studies. I bought the Frog and Toad one this past weekend. My 7 year old is going to love it!

  20. Animal tracks always seem to elude us. We must not be looking in the right places!

  21. Try muddy spots – especially in the wild. Maybe the edge of a creek near a wooded trail, or the muddy edges of a pond in a local park. The less traveled by people and cars, the better.

  22. Oh, I do hope you BOTH love it!

  23. We always see raccoon tracks near our creek. It is fun to figure out what he ate by the leftovers.

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