Resources needed:

  • Large selection of animal pictures, including birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish
  • Cardboard strips long enough to go around children’s heads
  • Cotton buds
  • Black paper
  • Pictures of skeletons for the five groups of animal.



  1. Show the children the headbands and explain that they will shortly be asked to group themselves. Don’t give too much direction at this point.
  2. In a large, clear area, ask the children to group themselves in a way they think is appropriate. You may need to intervene in this activity, particularly if some children are far more dominant than others. If you feel it may be an issue, try asking for the activity to be carried out in complete silence so that the children have to look at their peers and think for themselves, rather than being told where to go by others.
  3. When the children have grouped themselves, ask them about how and why they chose the groups they did. What sort of things do the creatures in their group have in common? Can they think of any other examples of creatures which could have also joined this group?

Teaching point: Where necessary, reallocate children into groups so that there are five distinct groups: fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals and then go from group to group asking the children what features the animals in their group have.

  1. Once the sorting activity is complete, ask the children to take off their headband and look carefully at the creature on it. What sort of structures make this creature the way it is (for example, skin, muscles, bones)
  2. Give each child a handful of cotton buds and some black paper and ask them to imagine the skeleton of the creature they have been given. They should then attempt to recreate the skeleton as they see fit (be prepared for some unusual ideas!)
  3. Once the skeletons have been completed, look on Google images, or similar to find the actual skeletons of the creatures. How close were the children in their attempts? Can they name any of the bones they have used (e.g. ribs) and can they locate those bones in their own bodies?


Further Activities:

Make shadow puppets of the creatures used in the sorting activity and use them to tell stories.

Create a fact page for the each creature and illustrate it. Think about factors such as diet, habitat, hibernation, food chains and closely related animals.

Curriculum Areas covered:

(Y1)Pupils should be taught to:

  • Identify and name a variety of common animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals
  • Identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores
  • Describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, including pets)