Lively Lizards (day 12 of 21 Days of DIY Summer Camp at Home)

Welcome to day 12 of DIY Summer Camp at home. Our theme this second week of DIY Summer Camp is all about reptiles, including slithering snakesterrific turtlesdangerous dinosaurs, amazing alligators and lively lizards. This makes for some fun activities that you can do right in your own backyard. Or, even better, you can send the kids out to do, while you relax.

Lively Lizards Lurking about

Whenever I think of lizards, I think of the cartoon intelligent lizard on The Magic School Bus. Liz could substitute teach! While real lizards may not be found teaching in your local school, they’re still interesting, intelligent animals. And there is a ton of things we can learn about and from lizards.

Let your inner lizard out and check out these lively events.

Activity: Pin the tongue on the lizard

For this activity, you’ll need:

What you do:

Print off a copy of the lizard picture provided. Color it if you wish, but that’s optional.

Cut 3-5 4-inch lengths of red ribbon. Then cut a triangle out of one end, to create the “fork” for the forked tongue. On the other side and other end of the ribbon, attach a small square of double-sided tape, removing the 2nd paper, so that it’s sticky.

Pin up your lizard picture, and blindfold the player. Give them a ribbon, showing them where the sticky part is. Then let them try to give the lizard his tongue! Closest player wins.

Activity: Sniffing out the world

What you need:

  • cotton balls
  • envelopes
  • essential oils, perfumes, extracts, vinegar

What you do:

  1. Dip cotton balls in a variety of scents (no more than 5). Seal each cotton ball in an envelope. Make a set of scents for each child. (2 children = 10 envelopes, 2 each for each scent)
  2. Give each child their set of envelopes. Tell them to go apart for a bit, and try to figure out what the scents are. Mark on the envelopes what their guess is. (You may need to help younger children write, or they can draw a picture to represent their guess.)
  3. Come back and compare. Did you get it right?

Snack: Lizard eggs & dried ants

What you need:

  • fun labels
  • pens
  • grapes
  • raisins

What you do:

  1. Put grapes and raisins into 2 bowls.
  2. Label the bowl of grapes as “Lizard Eggs”
  3. Label the bowl of raisins as “Dried Ants”
  4. Serve!

How many grossed out hungry kids did you get?

Activity: Cold blooded

What you need:

  • thermometer you can move around
  • graph paper
  • pen
  • clipboard
  • outside area with shady and sunny spots

What you do:

Before you head out, create a table similar to this

LizardTemp Range (F/C)Location
Gecko88-93 /31-34
96-104 /36-40
Iguana80-85 /26-29
Chameleon72-80 /22-26
Basilisk85-88 /29-31
  1. Take your table and thermometer and head out to your chosen location.
  2. Using the thermometer, try to find a location that matches the temperature range on the chart. To do this: place the thermometer on the surface of an object (eg, rock, patch of grass, etc. ). Count to 5. Then read the thermometer.
    **Make sure the thermometer is ON an object. Reptiles generally don’t hover!!**

Can you find suitable locations for all the lizards?

Activity: Climbing Lizards

What you need:

  • cardstock or posterboard
  • markers
  • scissors
  • tape
  • yarn
  • plastic straws
  • pennies
  • large beads

What you do:

  1. Draw, decorate and cut out large lizards from cardstock or posterboard. You can use the lizard picture from the game as a template.
  2. Cut about 3 feet of yarn for each lizard.
  3. Cut a plastic straw into 2 pieces, about 2″ long each. Tape them to the lizard’s body, parallel to each other, about 2-3″ apart.
  4. Thread the yarn through the straws, up one and down the other, so that there’s a U-shape of yarn by the lizard’s head, and two pieces of yarn dangling by its tail.
  5. Attach beads to each end of the yarn, so that the lizard won’t fall of the yarn with it’s not climbing. **NOTE: make sure the beads don’t fit through the straws!!**
  6. Tape a penny to the bottom of the lizard, where the tail meets the body.
  7. Hang the lizard on a doorknob, facing you. Then gently pull the yarn ends away from each other, and watch the lizard “climb”.

Lizard facts for you to share

Lizards are some of the most recognizable reptile pets. They come in all different shapes and colors. There are large lizards, like the Komodo Dragon, which is like a miniature dinosaur! There are tiny lizards like Jaragua lizard, from the Dominican Republic, no bigger than your fingernail.

Lizards can leap into your heart with a charm all their own.

Species & Location

There are over 4500 different species of lizards! There are legless lizards, crested lizards, bearded lizards, lizards that walk on their hind legs, lizards that are venomous, and lizards that can climb anything. You can have Gila monsters, iguanas, chameleons, and dragons. And lizards live in the desert, in the woods, near oceans and ponds, in trees and under rocks. They’re everywhere!


What a lizard eats depends on its size. Bigger lizards tend to be carnivorous, and the bigger the lizard, the bigger their prey.

Smaller carnivorous lizards eat bugs. Some smaller lizards are herbivorous, and eat fruit, seeds, flowers and other plant parts. And some lizards eat other lizards!


Reptiles lay eggs right? Well .. most lizards do. They will lay eggs, hide them in a safe spot to incubate, and then walk away. T

And some of those egg-laying lizards don’t actually lay the eggs. Rather, they hold the eggs inside their bodies until the babies are ready to hatch. They look like they give birth to live babies, but really, they are egg-laying lizards.

A few lizards, like skinks, give birth to live babies. But no mother lizard really needs to take care of the hatchling after birth. Baby lizards are fully capable of surviving independently.

COOL FACT: Scientists observed a lizard that laid eggs.. then gave birth to a live baby!


Lizards generally have scaly skin, a tail, 4 legs and a long, forked tongue, external ear openings, and eyelids. Most lizards have what’s called a “fragile” tail, meaning that their tail is detachable, and can grow back after a while. This helps protect against predators.

End of the day: read aloud time.

There’s nothing that settles kids down like storytime at the end of the day. So after all the lizards and leaping today, grab a classic read-aloud and read a chapter every night this week.

Try one of these:

Come back tomorrow for another day full of reptile-filled adventures. And don’t forget to subscribe so you get every day of the DIY Summer Camp at Home right in your inbox.

Lively lizards move fast so you'd better catch these activities quick! On day 12 of DIY Summer Camp, we're climbing, sniffing and learning!

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