Food Chain Activities and Games for Hands-On Learning

Published March 18, 2020
teaching children basic food chain

Fun food chain games and food chain activities help kids understand this biology concept through hands-on learning. Teaching food chains, food webs, and food pyramids can be fun when you use a combination of food chain worksheets, DIY games, and a variety of activities.

Food Chain Activities for Young Children

Food chain lesson plans for kids in grades K-2 should include several short activities to hold their attention. If they get really involved in one activity, let them run with it and look for simple ways to extend it.

Yarn Food Web

A food web activity with yarn is fun because it gets kids moving. You'll need some yarn, scissors, images of each part of the food web, and a few different people or some chairs to help complete the activity.

  1. Assign each of the images to a separate person or place by sticking each to a child's shirt or setting each on a chair.
  2. Arrange all the people and/or chairs in a circle, but try not to put them in the correct order around the circle.
  3. Have your child take the ball or long piece of yarn and tie or tape it to one image.
  4. Your child should then take the string to something that consumes that item or something that item consumes and tape the yarn there.
  5. He can use the scissors to cut the yarn when needed.
  6. In the end, he should have a big web of yarn connecting all the parts of the food web.

Toy Line Food Chain

A fun food chain STEM activity involves creating an actual line or pyramid food chain. Kids can use toy plants, animals, insects, or even blocks to show a food chain.

  • You can choose a few toys that make a basic food chain like fake corn, a chicken stuffed animal, and a superhero. Ask your child to line them up in consumption order.
  • For a food pyramid, kids can line up all the plants on the bottom, then stack herbivores on top of those and carnivores on top of those.
  • If you don't have toy plants and animals, use blocks. You can assign one color for each part of the food chain, then have your child line them up or build a pyramid.
girl lining up animal toys

Food Chain Scavenger Hunt

As you start to explore basic food chain vocabulary, a scavenger hunt can be a fun way to practice comprehension. After you introduce a word like "producers" or "consumers," ask your child to find a toy or image of a producer or consumers.

Food Chain Activities for Older Children

Older kids in grades 3-5 or even middle school can also have fun with food chains. Since they are learning more of the complexities of food chains, these activities can be more difficult.

You Are What You Eat Collage

Give kids magazines, scissors, and glue, or let them use clipart and a program like Google Slides where they can add the clipart in any pattern. Ask your child to think about the food chain they belong to and create a piece of art illustrating it. Kids should use images of the things they consume, the things those items consume, and so on to make a collage in the shape of their face or body.

Write a Food Diary

Get inspired by books like Doreen Cronin's Diary of a Worm and ask kids to keep a food diary. Kids can start a food diary that works backwords from themselves and shows the food chain under them, or follow a family pet, garden insect, or backyard bird's food chain. Give kids the freedom to write this as journal entries, a cartoon, or even a picture book.

Girl writing food diary in kitchen

Food Web Tower

Kids will need to use their engineering and creativity skills to create a food web tower. You'll need images of different plants and animals, tape, building blocks, and long, thin pieces like craft sticks.

  1. This works best for a food chain from an ecosystem or environment where there are multiple layers of the food chain like elements in the sky, on the water, and in the water for example.
  2. Your child can tape one image to each building block.
  3. Your child should use those blocks build towers that show the different layers of the ecosystem. However, the blocks with images can't be touching each other unless they are directly related in the food chain.
  4. Your child should use the craft sticks to show which elements of the food chain connect to each other directly.

Fun Food Chain Games for Kids

Fun food chain games for the classroom or at home provide the opportunity for kids to see how a food chain works.

Food Chain Red Rover

Play the classic game of Red Rover, only make it relate to food chains.

  1. Give each child a food chain element they will be.
  2. One team should include mostly plants and carnivores, while the other team should include mostly herbivores and decomposers or environmental elements.
  3. The objective is for each team to call over other kids who will help their line make a complete food chain.
  4. Teams take turns calling over one member of the opposite team until one team has a line that makes a complete food chain.

Food Chain Go Fish

Turn an ordinary card game of Go Fish into a fun food chain learning game with a few simple steps.

  1. Create a deck of cards that features at least 10 different elements of one food chain.
  2. There should be two cards made for each element. You can use images or words.
  3. Deal out all the cards to the players.
  4. The object of the game is to get as many direct food chain matches as you can. On a turn, ask for a card that either consumes or is consumed by one of the cards in your hand.
  5. When there are no direct food chain matches left, count your pairs. The person with the most matches is the winner.

Online Food Chain Games

Kids can explore different types of food chains with interactive food chain games online.

Play With Your Food

Food chain lessons are more fun and impactful for kids when they include cool games and activities. You can use activities to teach food chain concepts or for review.

Food Chain Activities and Games for Hands-On Learning