Learn about the different biomes where big cats live in this big cats habitat lesson for children, and make your own jungle or savanna small world for imaginative play.
Big cats habitat lesson plan
Let’s find out about the different biomes where big cats live, and how each big cat is suited to its habitat. Then we’ll build our own savanna or jungle small world for imaginative play, storytelling and to consolidate our learning.
In this article, you can:
:: learn about habitats and biomes
:: learn where big cats live
:: learn about jungle and savanna habitats
:: learn how big cat are suited to the biome they live in
:: build your own savanna or jungle small world for imaginative play
:: download a complete ready-made thematic Cats Unit Study, with big cat map printable and printable big cat models
:: find links to lessons on the forest, tundra/arctic and Antarctica biomes
Take photos of the habitats you see
Take ‘photos’ of the big cats habitats you’re learning about with our printable paper camera toy.
Habitats and biomes
A habitat is the place where an animal or plant lives. A habitat usually is the home to a community of animals and plants, with soil or sand, rocks, water and oxygen.
Biomes are habitats around the world which all have similar weather and temperatures and similar plants and animals.
Biomes can be on land or in the water.
There are at least ten main types of biomes around the world including tundra, grassland, desert, savanna, and aquatic (water).
Which biomes do bigs cats live in?
Big cats live in several different biomes around the world. The different big cats’ shape, size, colour, markings, hunting style, diet and lifestyle is suited to the biomes where they live.
You can download a map and find out where big cats live in our ready-made Cat Unit Study.
Which big cats live in the jungle?
Tigers, leopards, cougars, jaguars, and ocelots all live in jungles.
Jungles are areas of dense vegetation, thick with lots of trees and plants. A jungle has different plants and animals living in its different layers: on the jungle floor, in the lower shrubs and plants, and in the canopy of tall tress.
The big cats who live here are well suited to living in a jungle. The colour of their fur and their markings are good camouflage, helping them to hide in the plants and trees for safety and so they can creep up on their prey.
Tigers have soft pads on their toes, to help them move silently across the fallen branches and leaves on the forest floor.
Jaguars are very good at climbing the trees in the jungle, to hunt or to sleep in the branches.
Which big cats live in the savanna?
Lions, cheetahs, and leopards all live in the savanna. This is a very different habitat to the jungles. Savannas have few trees, and they are spaced far apart from each other. Rather than the thick, green jungle, the savanna is more open, with large areas of grassland. There are watering holes made of a pond or lake, where many different animals come to drink.
The lions’, cheetahs’, and leopards’ sandy colours and markings help them camouflage on the open plains.
To be able to hunt animals that live in herds in the savanna, lions work together as a group or pride.
Cheetahs body shape and size allows them to run extremely fast, accelerate rapidly and quickly change direction to hunt on open plains, something that would not be possible in a dense jungle with lots of trees to bump in to.
Small world play
After learning about big cat habitats, invite your children to build savanna or jungle small world. Small world play lands are a great way for children to consolidate their learning and use new vocabulary. They promote role play, storytelling and imaginative play.
Big cats models printables
You can print a tiger, lion, and lioness model/ puppet from our Play Academy’s ready-made Cats Unit to add to your small world. Cut them out, colour them in, and fold back the tab on each animal the stand them up.
How to make a jungle small world
Use real plants, play dough, left-over vegetables such as broccoli and celery, or cardboard to add the thick jungle vegetation and tree canopy.
You can print a tiger puppet from the Play Academy Cats Unit to add to your jungle.
How to make a savanna small world
Use a large cardboard box, sheet of sandpaper or your sand table to build a savanna small world.
One or two trees can provide some shade.
Use a piece of blue card or fabric, or a shallow dish of water to add a watering hole
You can print a set of lion puppets from the Play Academy Cats Unit to add to your savanna.
Ready-made Cat Unit lesson plans
Save time and teach better by using our ready-made Cat Unit Study. You’ll get a complete week of lesson plans to learn about cats and a collection of activities, arts, and crafts all planned for you: instant download, printables included, no prep needed, and all ad free.