We have been learning about the desert, so I thought it would be appropriate for us to explore a cactus. Since we don’t live anywhere close to a desert, I went to Walmart to see if they would have a cactus for us to look at. We thoroughly looked, but all we found was this coral cactus. The name was deceiving though because even though it says it’s a cactus, it is really a succulent. Since I did not know that at the time, we bought the cactus and brought it home. We touched it (just a little) and looked at it. While we were exploring, I decided to google ‘coral cactus’ and I was surprised to read that coral cacti are succulents and actually poisonous (especially the white sap that can drip off)! And you aren’t supposed to touch it! So we quickly washed out hands with lots of soap and water to make sure we wouldn’t get any reaction. Yikes! So here’s a picture of the boys touching it, but we quickly washed our hands after I read that! (This just shows how far from perfect I am!)
We also made our own cactus. We just took part of a cucumber and placed it on a plate. Then my 3 year old stuck toothpicks all over it. He was quite excited for this activity!
I also created a printable to go along with learning about cacti. It’s simple and easy enough for my 3.5 year old to complete.
It’s very simple to assemble. Just print it, cut along the dotted lines, put the pages together and staple the pages on the edge of the stack. To see a more detailed explanation, see this post.
You can download your free copy here —> My Cactus Book Printable
My son had fun completing this short book. He used what he’s learned from our desert sensory bin and animal lessons to help him with this. On one page, it asks what a cactus feels like. Since most preschoolers can’t write, so you can have them tell you what they think and you can write it down. 🙂 We have learned so much about the desert through our activities! It is so much fun to hear my kids talk about the desert and animals that live there in daily conversation. Hope you’ll try some of these activities out with your little one!
I did this with my second graders. We pput some sand in the bottom of a clear plastic cup and then added the cuc and “spikes”. Very cute.
Lori H says
Thank you for this printable as well. I used it and linked to it from my vacation books post on At Home: Where Life Happens. Thanks for all you share!
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Love the cucumber cactus, what a fun idea! We live a desert life here in Arizona, and cactus sightings are a daily occurrence for us. We are even growing our own. We started with a cactus clipping and it’s coming along rather nicely. I really should write a post about that one 😀 We will be printing out the cactus book and heading out to have a little fun with it.. thanks for sharing!
Angela Thayer says
Thank you! Yes, I bet you see a lot of cacti! Yes, you should write a post about that. I would read it!
Hail from the land of the Saguaro! I adore your cucumber cactus. Next time I’m at the store, we’ll be picking these up and letting the kids poke away. It will be a fun activity since it is a bit to hot to really get out and spend too much time with our cacti! 🙂
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Kirstylee @ Moms Have Questions Too says
I love how you made your own cacti. What a great idea to use cucumber and toothpicks. I can’t wait to print out that cactus book and read it with my kids. They will love it!
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Haha, that is totally something I would do! Thanks for being real! And I love that cucumber cactus – looks fun 🙂
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I like the bit where you found out after, that is exactly my approach to these matters! It is how I volunteered to look after the worlds fussiest bonsai tree for my husband. I love it but it has been…..challenging.
Love the home made cactus, my kids will love sticking spikes in and then, probably, eat it!
Angela Thayer says
Thanks! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who is like that! I bet a bonsai tree is hard to take care of! You are a gem for taking care of it for your husband!
I love the homemade cactus idea! How creative!
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Angela Thayer says
Thanks, Anna! It was so simple, yet fun!