Rainforests are full of hidden creatures that survive by pretending to be something else. They wear a disguise in order to fool predators, the other animals that hunt and kill them. The clever disguises that they use are known as camouflage.

Look carefully at this picture. Can you see a butterfly hiding in the leaves? The butterfly’s wings look just like the leaves around it so that it can rest without being spotted by other creatures. Can you think of any other creatures that hide in this way?

This is a creature called a Praying Mantis. It is exactly the same colour as the leaves it rests on. Can you see it? Can you think of any other creatures that hide in this way?

Make a Rainforest Camouflage Mask
You will need a simple strip of card with eye holes cut in it. Decorate with dried leaves or cut out leaves from various colours of green paper. You could add tissue paper and crepe paper leaves for different textures. As an alternative, you could decorate the mask with feathers and a cardboard beak in the middle to make a tropical rainforest bird mask.

Camouflage Animal
Design and decorate your own camouflaged animal whose habitat is your classroom and hide it in the class. Will anyone spot it?

  • Name your animal
  • What would it eat?
  • Where would it live?


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Hourani’s Story

In Rainforest Symphony, Hourani tells this story about the rainforest animals. We have reproduced it here in case you would like to retell it to your class or perhaps use it in an assembly. However, it would be great if you could wait until after the programme has visited your school before using the story so that we can maintain the surprise!

Everything and everyone has its place. There is an old, old story that has been passed on by my people. You see, as long as we can remember it has always been the animals’ job to wake up the sun in the morning so all could see to find food. So the moon would go to sleep and the day would always begin with the gentle flutter of the Butterfly’s wings.

Then the snake, which had twisted itself around a tree, would uncurl itself and…hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss, hiss…

And the Toucan, with its huge colourful beak and graceful feathers, would swoop down and join in with the bees…squawk, squawk

Not wanting to be left out the slow, steady Sloth wanted to be a part of the morning song too…yaaaaaaaaaaaawn, Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn

The cheeky little monkeys came swinging and twisting and leaping through the trees. They were so excited about waking up the sun that they just…chatter, chatter, chatter, chattered.

Last of all was the sleek smooth jaguar, who let out a mighty Grooooooooowl.  The rainforest was alive with the sound of every animal you could think of, all working together to wake up the sun. And you know what?  They did. The sun would wake up, kiss the tree tops with its warmth, and send a glow of light to the forest floor. And all was as it should be.

But then one day the Jaguar decided that he and he alone should wake up the sun. Well, he was the loudest, strongest, and bravest animal in the forest, so he should have this very important job.  So, as the moon was going to sleep, and all the animals gathered to wake up the sun, the Jaguar shouted. “I and I alone will wake up the sun today. After all, I am the loudest, I am the strongest and I am the bravest animal in the forest. Do you all agree?”

Well, the animals were all too frightened of the Jaguar to say anything so they all stayed silent.  The Jaguar took a deep breath and let out a huge growl…but the sun did not wake. He growled again, but nothing. The forest remained in darkness.  Jaguar quickly realised he needed help. So first he went to the Snake. “Snake, help me! For us to live the sun must rise. Hissing Snake, help me please?”  So the Jaguar growled and the Snake hissed (sounds come from the children). But nothing. Jaguar needed more help.
“For us to live, the sun must rise. Toucan, help us please?”
So, the Jaguar growled, the Snaked hissed, and the Toucan squawked. But nothing!
They needed even more help
“For us to live, the sun must rise. Sloth, help us please?”
So the Jaguar growled, the Snake hissed, the Toucan squawked and the Sloth yawned. But still nothing!
“For us to live, the sun must rise. Monkeys, help us please?”
So the Jaguar growled, the Snake hissed, the Toucan squawked, the Sloth yawned and the Monkeys chattered. The forest was alive with nearly every animal you could think of, but still the sun did not rise.

“Who is missing?”, the Jaguar thought. “I have spoken to every animal in the forest. If the sun never rises, we will all die.” Just then. the Jaguar saw a beautiful blue butterfly sitting so still on a flower. Jaguar slowly prowled over to it and gently whispered:
“Butterfly, dear sweet Butterfly, I have been so foolish. Please, for us all to live the sun must rise…”
But before the Jaguar could finish, the Butterfly fluttered its beautiful wings, the Jaguar growled, the Snake hissed, the Toucan squawked, the Sloth yawned, the Monkeys chattered. The sound of all the animals filled the forest, and the sleepy sun woke up and began a new day. It kissed the tops of the trees with its warmth, and sent light streaming to the forest floor.  And all was as it should be in the forest again.

What this story teaches us is that no matter how small we think we are we all have our place in the world.


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Animals in the rainforest

Did you know?

Over 600 new species of beetle have been discovered in a single species of tree.

  • A three-toed sloth only goes to the toilet every eight days…and …he moves so slowly that algae (a kind of moss) grows on his fur!
  • Anableps are fish which live in the Amazon river. Their eyes are divided into two parts so they can see above and below the water at the same time.
  • Macaws eat clay to stop themselves becoming poisoned by the seeds that they eat.
  • Over 300 species of frog live in the Amazon.

Make a Turtle/Tortoise
Turn a paper bowl upside down and cover the top with PVA glue and various shades of green tissue paper. When dry, draw round the bowl (which is now the shell) Add a head tail and feet to this circle then cut it out.Stick the shell to the body to complete the turtle.

Make a Crocodile/Alligator
To make an effective alligator skin, start with a green piece of paper. Paint dark green or green blue paint onto a piece of bubble wrap and print in onto the green paper. When dry, draw an alligator shape and cut it out. Add eyes and teeth to finish him off.

Animal footprints
Cut out one big circle and three small circles from a washing up sponge (the flat ones about 1cm thick) Stick these circles on a piece of thick card to form an animal footprint. When dry, dip in paint and make footprints all around the room!

Make a Frog puppet
The following web-sites have easy to follow instructions of how to make two different frogs using construction paper or paper plates.

Rainforest poetry
Share this poem with your class. Ask them to write a similar poem about other rainforest animals.

Three talking toucans sitting in a tree,
The first one turned and squawked at me!
Three little toucans sitting in a row,
The second one said “I flap my wings now watch me go”.
Three little toucans sitting side by side,
The third one said “My bright beak I open wide”.
Three red-eyed- frogs sitting in a tree
The first one turned and jumped towards me.
Three red-eyed frogs hopping all about,
The second one said “At night I come out”.
Three red-eyed-frogs, leaping tree to tree,
The third one said “Wait for me”
Three morpho butterflies gliding through the trees,
The first one swooped to take a look at me.
Three morpho butterflies sitting on a leaf,
The second one was eating something sweet.
Three morpho butterflies flitting all about
The third one landed on my snout!

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People of the rainforest

People have lived in the rainforest for thousands of years. They live in harmony with the forest around them, scattered in small villages which are built in cleared land. Some rainforest people live in tree houses. They climb up by using steps made from the branches of a tree. Rainforest people are experts at hunting and gathering. Some hunt with spears, or bow and arrows. Others blow poisoned darts through long, bamboo pipes. Many fish from dugout canoes on the rivers. They help each other with jobs like cooking and growing food.

Headdress of Hourani
In our story, Hourani wears a headdress like the one below. Click on the image to access a larger, downloadable version of the headdress. You can colour in and decorate your own headdress, cut it out, and add on extra paper or cardboard tabs to fit around your head.


Circle Time Story
Have everyone stand in a circle. Select a small object that can be tossed easily from one player to another. Toss the object to a player in the circle. The person catching the object must begin to tell a story, something made up on the spot. The player holding the object tosses it to another player who must catch it and continue the story. The story can take any form, as long as it is connected to the last player’s contribution. Players must continue the flow of the story no matter how fast the object is passed.

You could decide before starting that the story is going to be about one of these things:

  • Two people who are very different from each other
  • Somebody losing their home
  • Two friends going on a journey
  • Living in a house on stilts
  • You could decide as a group the last line of the story before you start, e.g. “And the two villages became friends from this day onwards.”


  • Discuss the types of home in the rainforest and your homes here. In what ways are they different?
  • How might they be the same?
  • Where else have you seen a house that is different from yours?
  • Why do you think some of the houses have to be built on stilts?


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