Habitat Building – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Habitat Building

Build a habitat for an animal or imagined creature using recycled materials! This activity helps children build flexible thinking skills.

Materials Required

  • Recyclable items like newspaper, plastic bottles, and egg cartons
  • Wood scraps
  • Twigs
  • Leaves
  • Rocks
  • Dirt
  • Glue, tape, string, or nails (to stick materials together)
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil (something to write with)
  • A cleared off workspace (that can be used for a long period of time)


  1. Brainstorm ways to create a habitat for a specific animal or creature. Consider these questions: Who is this habitat for? What will it need? What is needed to make the features of the habitat?
  2. Now, think of different designs for the habitat. Sketch out a few different versions of the plan. Share the sketches with others to get feedback on the design.
  3. Build a prototype of the design. Use paper and tape to make a few different versions before deciding on a final design. Consider: What is the best fit for the intended animal?
  4. Once you decide on a design, find a workspace and gather the materials you need.
  5. Build the habitat! Use your design for reference and make changes as needed.
  6. Share the habitat with others. Explain the habitat design and tell a story about the animal that lives there.

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Imagine that a huge storm is about to hit. How do you protect the habitat?
  • Pretend that a new animal is moving into the habitat. What aspects of the habitat need to change?

Links to Creativity

The more open we are, the more likely we are to embrace the challenge of designing a habitat for a creature. In order to empathize with the creature and the needs for its habitat, it is important to be flexible in our thinking.

Supporting research includes:
Deák, G. O. (2003). The development of cognitive flexibility and language abilities. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 31, 273-328.

McCrae, R. R. (1987). Creativity, divergent thinking, and openness to experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(6), 1258-1265.


This activity was contributed by the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. For more information and resources see CenterforChildhoodCreativity.org.

©2014 Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Habitat Building

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