Learning to Look: Making Tracks!
What is a footprint?
A footprint is a track or a mark left by a foot. Animals make footprints when they step into something soft or moist. Every animal has different footprints.
Where can we find footprints?
Everywhere! Look for footprints in dirt, sand, mud, snow, or even on pavement when someone runs across with wet feet.
What can we learn from footprints?
Footprints give us clues about animals, even if all they’ve left behind is their footprints.
Size: Were the animal’s feet big or small?
Type: Did the animal have claws, pads, or hooves? is this a front foot or back foot?
Movement: How did the animal move? Did they walk, run, or stand still? How much space was there between the feet?
Test Your Skill
Download a free, printable animal track book and game to practice your tracking skills!
Make some footprints: Try making your own footprints by
- Going outside. Step into a shallow container of water with your bare feet (or wear socks or shoes to protect your feet). Run across a smooth, safe, paved surface (like a sidewalk) and check out all those footprints! How far apart are your prints? How do walking and running look different? Compare footprints with another person.
- Staying inside
- Use play dough or clay to make a footprint. Step onto the dough (with clean socks on). Measure your footprint with ruler. How long is your print? How wide? How deep? How long and wide are your toes? Make a footprint for another person and compare it to yours.
- Get a sheet of construction paper or a brown paper grocery bag. Step into a shallow container of water with your bare foot. Make a footprint on the paper. How long is your print? How wide? Make a footprint for another person and compare it to yours.