The desert is home to a variety of insects, animals and reptiles. The animals have to adapt to an environment with little water and extreme temperatures, from the intense heat of the days to the cold of the nights. This unique environment supports life not found other places. There are several craft projects you can use when teaching children about the desert.
Children like scorpions because they are dangerous and they have sharp claws and poisonous tales. Make a scorpion that would blend in with the desert floor. Draw the outline of a scorpion on a sheet of paper. Make enough copies for each child. Have the children cut out the scorpion shape and use it as a template to cut a cardboard scorpion. The children then spread glue on the cardboard and sprinkle it with sand, or glue dried beans to the cardboard.
The desert has many rocks of varying sizes. Use rocks to create a desert toad. A large round rock forms the toads body and two small round rocks make the eyes. Glue the small rocks to the front of the large rock. Use paints to finish the toad; paint the toad brown and add darker brown dots for the toad bumps. Paint eyes and a mouth with black paint. Talk to the kids about how some toads spend most of the year underground.
The desert is home to many types of snakes. Make snakes out of paper rings. Use different colors for different types of snakes. Green, yellow, black and brown are all good snake colors. Cut out strips of construction paper 2 inches wide and 10 inches long. Alternate colored rings, folding one strip of paper into a ring and taping it closed. Thread the next strip of paper through the first ring and tape it closed. Continue until you have a snake. Draw on eyes and a small tongue with a red marked, or make them out of construction paper and tape them on the first ring.
Jackrabbits are found in American deserts. They are like rabbits, but taller and thinner with longer legs and ears. The children can make a jackrabbit puppet from a small brown paper bag, construction paper and markers. Cut two long ears from brown construction paper and glue them to the bottom back of the bag so the ears stick up over the bottom of the bag. Draw a triangle nose, a mouth and whiskers on the bottom of the bag. Draw eyes with markers, or glue wiggle eyes to the bag.