During lockdown Kids Restore Kepler asked if I would read one of my books aloud. Here it is – Whose Feet are These? illustrated by Fraser Williamson. This little book is now sadly out of print. If you missed out on buying it and are keen for a copy contact me, as I have a few spares on my bookshelf.
For all of my children’s books I write notes for teachers and parents. You can find these notes which include ideas for activities related to the books, on my publisher’s website www.pottonandburton.co.nz. As Whose Feet are These? is no longer listed on the site, I’ve included an updated version of the notes below. I hope you enjoy following along with the book reading as well as doing some of activities.
Notes for parents and teachers
guide to pronunciation
All the animals in Whose Feet are These? have both Māori and English names, although in some cases, such as tuatara, the Māori name is the only common name. Often, of course, there is more than one Māori name as well as more than one English name, so I had to choose what appeared to be the most common. Some of the names might be less familiar to some readers. A guide to pronunciation of Māori can be found on the Māori Language Commission website: tetaurawhiri.govt.nz/learning-maori/whakahuatanga-pronunciation
more about animals and their feet
Most online education resources feature the feet and footprints of animals not found in New Zealand. Here are several New Zealand websites that provide information in a clear and informative format:
- One resource that is widely referred to is What Made these Tracks by Warren Agnew. This is particularly useful if you plan to have a go at creating tracking tunnels (see activities below). Otago University has adapted this to a poster which you can find here: https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/go/files/2020/02/Poster-Guide-to-Animal-Tracks.pdf and it has also been adapted as a game at http://www.incrediblescience.co.nz/eco-memory/animal-footprints/
- Tracks and other images can also be found at http://www.pestdetective.org.nz/clues/footprints-and-tracks/
All the animals in Whose Feet are These? are native to New Zealand.
You can find out more about them on the following websites:
- the Department of Conservation website http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/
- a child-friendly site – Kiwi Conservation Club http://www.kcc.org.nz
- specific information about New Zealand birds – NZ Birds Online http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz
Parents and educators may find Science Learn a useful resource as it provides both information and educational activities http://sciencelearn.org.nz, look for topics and concepts such as ‘animal behaviour’ and ’adaptation’.
Many New Zealand animals are also included in my the explore & discover series of books for children.
suggestions for activities
Using the book(s)
- After reading the book with children, encourage them to explore the pictures in the book to count how many feet each animal has.
- Only one animal in the book is a mammal – compare mammal feet, your own, a pet or farm animal to the other feet in the book.
- Use Whose Beak is This? alongside Whose Feet are These? to look closer at other animal functions e.g. which animals in Whose Feet are These? have beaks, how would you describe them? What do you think they eat? Or look at the feet of the animals in Whose Beak is This? – what kind of feet have they got? How do they use them?
- Collect more pictures of animal feet and use them for a Whose Feet? guessing game or to categorise e.g. number of feet, number of toes or claws, type of feet.
- Make tracking tunnels to find out what lives in your garden. http://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/conservation-activities/exploring-nature-with-children-booklet/in-your-own-backyard/make-your-own-tracking-tunnel/
- Use overseas resources that describe different types of birds’ feet to categorise New Zealand native birds e.g. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Zoo_p050.shtml?from=Blog#background
- Use NZ Tracker to help you identify footprints of animals at the beach or submit your photos of footprints to iNaturalist iNaturalist.nz
- Find out about using footprints to do a penguin count on my blog https://explorediscovernature.blogspot.com/2019/12/penguin-walks-korora-count.html
- Images and links to examples of these and other activities can be found on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/gilliancandler/wildlife-feet-and-claws/
- Make feet as a craft activity e.g. making cardboard ‘feet’ that look like different animals to slip over their own feet and make footprints.
- Make plaster casts of footprints children find in nature, or their own and those of pets.
- Use a 3D printer to make an animal foot or leg (see examples on Pinterest links where an animal has had a leg made this way to replace a lost one!)
- Download Fraser Williamson’s gecko drawing to make a gecko with sticky feet.