Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about camouflage. It is designed to complement the Camouflage topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Camouflage is how animals blend in with their environment. Before watching the movie, invite children to brainstorm reasons why animals would want to blend in with their habitats? Discuss their ideas and brainstorm different animals that use camouflage. How are they alike? How are they different? This movie will explore how different animals use camouflage to stay safe in their habitats, to help them hunt, or to communicate with others.

Animals can use camouflage to help them remain hidden from predators, particularly those who primarily hunt using vision instead of smell. Some animals are born with similar markings to leaves or stones that are always present in their environment. Walking sticks, with their dark skinny bodies and swollen joints, escape predators due to their resemblance to twigs. Other animals change their appearance as their surroundings change: An octopus can change the color and texture of its skin extremely quickly in order to hide in the changing terrain of the ocean floor. An Arctic fox will change the color of its fur based on the seasons. In the warmer months, the Arctic fox will grow brown fur to hide in the trees, and in the winter, it will grow white fur to hide in the snow.

Some animals change colors not to camouflage themselves, but to express their mood. Chameleons can turn yellow, dark blue, or even black if they become angry. Some animals have special patterns, or markings that help them blend in with each other and confuse predators. For example, zebras use their stripes to confuse their main predator, lions. Zebras’ stripes prevent lions from focusing on one animal. Some animals use mimicry to confuse and avoid predators. Mimicry is a form of camouflage in which an animal resembles another animal. Some harmless snakes—and even some caterpillars—mimic rattlesnakes in appearance and behavior in order to be left alone. The robber fly’s resemblance to a bumblebee makes predators give it a wide berth.

It is important for your children to understand that animals use camouflage as a way to stay safe. Discuss different animals and have your child think about how camouflage helps the animals to survive. We recommend watching the Rainforest movie together as an extension of this subject. Understanding camouflage will deepen your child’s comprehension of the natural world.