8 Nocturnal Animals Science Activities That Engage the Five Senses

Preschoolers are natural scientists. They are constantly asking questions and exploring the world around them. So why not help them explore the world of nocturnal animals? There are many fun and engaging science activities you can do with your class that will help them learn about these animals. These nocturnal animal science activities use the five senses to bring these creatures to life for your students.

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Nocturnal Animals Lesson Plans

Nocturnal animals lesson plans with literacy activities, math activities, nocturnal animals books, science, and fine motor centers.

Night & Day Animal Sort

With Photographs

Sorting – an underrated skill used all day long. 


We sort out school supplies, papers, materials, snacks, and our email inboxes at school. At home, it’s the groceries, mail, dishes, laundry, and toys. 


Your little learners can learn by using this skill, too! 


By sorting photographs of nocturnal and diurnal animals, your preschoolers will create a working knowledge of which animals are awake during the day and which animals are awake during those nighttime hours. 


Want a read-aloud book to go with this sorting activity? Check out our list of nocturnal animal books!


Mystery Sights

Spot the Nocturnal Animals

Field trips. Field trips with preschoolers. A field trip to the forest with preschoolers. A field trip to the forest AT NIGHT with preschoolers.


Did I scare you?! Did you have visions of chasing little ones everywhere and counting your kids for the 85th time in 5 minutes? Same. 


Take your little learners into the forest to learn about nocturnal animals without ever leaving your classroom! Can you breathe now?!


With the Mystery Nocturnal Animal Sights Science Activity, your preschoolers will watch a night vision video and use their sense of sight to spot nocturnal animals in the forest. No bus seating assignments necessary. 


Just scan the QR code and keep your eyes open for the next nocturnal animal that crosses your path!


Mystery sounds

Nocturnal Animals Science Activities

Once you finish spotting animals in the forest, have your preschool students use their sense of sound and listen for the unique sounds of nocturnal animals. 


Get your checklists ready, turn off the lights, and sit still prepare to listen… was that an owl I just heard?! Or a cricket!? Maybe just a bird?


The Mystery Nocturnal Animal Sounds Science Activity is a great way to encourage your learners to focus on their sense of hearing. 


Reinforce the activity of nocturnal animals with this simple, engaging activity that also teaches the sense of hearing. 

Now, hearing and listening to your directions the first time every time?! Let me know when you figure that one out 🙂


Mystery Smell

Engaging the Five Senses

I know, I know. No one wants to know what (or who) that mystery smell is, but for the sake of science, we had to include them in our nocturnal animal science activities.


But I promise you, they’re all good smells. No skunk spray here.


In fact, for most of these forest smells, I used essential oils on a cotton ball to make the scent strong enough to identify. 


Just place the item or cotton ball inside a non-transparent container with holes – like these spice containers or white salt shakers from Dollar Tree. Then, your students can sniff each container, trying to guess each mystery smell.


Mystery touch

Guess the Forest Objects

I have a fear of reaching down the garbage disposal. Does anyone else have those Final Destination 2 moments play over and over in their mind?!? 


But there is absolutely nothing to fear about this mystery touch activity. Fill a box (or separate tissue boxes) with objects found in the forest like a leaf, a rock, a stick, or bark.

Then, your students can reach inside without peeking (and without any fear of mutilated fingers) to guess the mystery object just by using their sense of touch.


Owl Land

Owl Life Cycle Game

Classic board games are just that – classic. The rules are simple, and everybody knows how to play. 


I love putting a twist on a good classic game for the sake of learning and fun in the classroom. 


With this Owl Life Cycle Game, your preschoolers will play by the rules of Candy Land. 


No cheating! This game includes each stage of the barn owl life cycle to make this game the perfect addition to your nocturnal animal science explorations.


Nocturnal Animals

Flashlight Cards

Are you like me? Every time you need a flashlight, you can’t seem to remember where you placed it?! Or little hands have claimed it, and it’s *somewhere* around the house?


Well, get ready to hunt for those lost flashlights and print off these Nocturnal Animal Flashlight Cards for another fun science activity!


Dim the lights to create the perfect nighttime forest ambiance, and then your preschoolers can shine their flashlights through the backs of the cards. 


Which nocturnal animals will they see?


These flashlight cards will seem as magical as you finding the flashlights in the first place. And as they shine their lights through, your little ones will also be magically building their vocabulary of nocturnal animal names along the way.


Echolocation Exploration

Bat Adaptations for Kids

I love that with science, sometimes concepts can be demonstrated in the simplest ways with just a few materials. 


This activity helps you demonstrate echolocation in the easiest way! 


Round up some pie tins and cardboard tubes (think toilet paper rolls or paper towels!), and you’re all set. 


Aim a cardboard tube at a pie tin, whisper into it, and communicate with the other person listening through their very own cardboard tube. 

Talk about simple and eye ear opening!


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8 Nocturnal Animals Science Activities That Engage the Five Senses
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Nocturnal Animal Books for Toddlers

If you’re looking for a fun way to engage your preschoolers in science, look no further than our nocturnal animal science activities. These activities will have your little ones exploring the world of animals that come out at night. They’ll get to use their five senses and learn all about these fascinating creatures. So what are you waiting for? Get started with these activities today!

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