Migration Activities for Kids
In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about migration. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Migration topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching Migration
Party! As a cross-curricular and cross-cultural activity, have students research and prepare traditional celebrations that highlight a particular animal migration. Are there any local animals that might be migrating to or from your area? Create a seasonal celebration around the arrival or departure of the migrating animal. The arrival of the monarch butterflies is an important part of Mexico’s annual “Day of the Dead” celebrations. Some Native Americans followed migrating American buffalo and held ceremonies to honor the creature’s sacrifice. Have students research celebrations that honor migration and present their findings with the class. Then discuss the relationship between humans and migrating animals. How was the relationship in the past vs. in the present?
Chances are that every student in the classroom knows someone, family or friends, who have moved. Have students brainstorm all of the people they have known who have moved, and discover their reasons for moving. As a group, chart as many different reasons people move as the class can come up with. Then have them brainstorm as many different types of migrating animals as they can. This can lead to a discussion with the whole class about what motivates the animals for migrating. Do people migrate for the same reasons as animals? Are there any other connections? Can the class come up with some big ideas about the similarities and differences between human and animal needs?
Paths of Migration
Research to see if your school is in the migration path of any animals. What animals migrate through your area? Do any of these animals stop to feed or rest in your area? Make a migration calendar to show when animals will be migrating through your state or country. Then discuss some of the issues that migrating animals face in the modern world and have students propose solutions to these problems.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching Migration
Over the course of one weekend, jot down all of the animals you and your child see together (on TV, in magazines, outside, etc.) Record each animal’s name on its own page in a notebook. Later, you and your children can investigate these animals’ migratory behavior at the library or on the internet. Your children can draw or write about how, why, and where these animals migrate in the natural world, and when they live in your area. When you have researched all of the animals, have your children decorate the cover of the notebook and come up with a title.
Armed with a pair of binoculars, take a trip to a local park or forest during peak migration times. You can use the Internet to research which animals are migrating through your area. Whale-watching tours, sea turtle hatcheries, and nature hikes all offer chances to see animals migrating. If this isn’t an option for your family, pick an animal to monitor online. There are many great websites that allow viewers to track an animal’s migration day by day, and to see maps, graphs, and pictures of the migration in progress.
Make a family tree of relatives who have migrated to different places. Discuss how they traveled to the new place. What did they do to prepare? What did they do once when they got there? How long did their migration take? Did they go alone or as part of a group. Why did they migrate, and how was their new climate similar or different to the old one? Have your children compare what they learned about human migration with animal migration.