Exploring mixed-up chameleons with Eric Carle

Today is Eric Carle’s birthday and in honor of his birthday, a large group of bloggers have been putting together ideas that would go nicely with many of his books. I love so many of Eric Carle’s books that I had a hard time narrowing it down. But after much ado, I have narrowed down my choice to a sweet idea for “The Mixed-Up Chameleon”…

This book is about a chameleon who isn’t happy with himself and wants to be like everyone else. With each new animal he meets, he takes on features of that animal until in the end, he realizes he is much happier just being a chameleon…

What I like about this book is that it opens the door for talking with children about how we are different, how we are special, and how others are special too! I also like simply focusing on the changing chameleon. Chameleons are pretty fascinating creatures and the fact that they can change colors to adapt to their environment can lead to lots of fun color exploration….


This little activity calls for the use of some type of clear paper  or film. I traced several of the chameleons that are found in the book onto transparency film which is used for an overhead projector. I traced both large and small chameleons on full and half sheets of the transparency film…

After tracing chameleons, you are all set for this activity!

Read the book

After reading and discussing the book with the children, show the children several of the traced chameleons…

Find the Chameleons

To play this game, place the traced chameleons on different objects throughout the environment (works indoors and outdoors)…

Choose places to set the chameleons where the color and patterns will be different…

As the children find the chameleons, talk with the children about how the chameleons adapt to their environment by changing color.

It isn’t necessary to “hide” the chameleons rather you just want to find different colors to blend the chameleons with…

Once the children have found all of the chameleons, you can then let them hold their own chameleon and walk around the room to find other places that will make their chameleon change colors…

More Colorful Chameleon fun…

To prepare for this activity, I used the same traced chameleons from above and I also cut up some colorful see-through plastic dividers like you use in notebooks or binders…

I am showing you this activity on a white table but it was originally suggested to me by one of my readers that these dividers would make excellent light table activities…

Set out the traced chameleons and the strips of colorful, cut-up dividers. Invite the children to change the colors of their chameleons by placing the strips of colorful dividers on the chameleons any way they wish…

So there you have it! Two fun ideas to keep little one’s engaged as you explore the book – “The Mixed-Up Chameleon” by Eric Carle…

Thank You to An Amazing Child for hosting this Birthday Extravaganza. See all the other ideas from my fellow bloggers in the Linky below…

Available on Amazon


If you are viewing this post from a reader or email, you will need to come to the blog to view all the wonderful ideas shared in the linky.

By |2011-06-25T07:00:36+00:00June 25th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. angelique felix June 25, 2011 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Hi Deborah,
    I love this activity around this particular book. Thank you fro sharing your creativity with us here and make a diffenrence in teaching preschool or educating kids.
    Lovely greetings, Angelique

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:51 am - Reply

      Thank you so much for stopping by Angelique!

  2. Andrea keller June 25, 2011 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for all of th great ideas! Wouldn’t this be great on your new light board!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:51 am - Reply

      I think it would:)

  3. Laura (The SEEDS Network) June 25, 2011 at 8:59 am - Reply

    That is awesome, Deborah!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:51 am - Reply

      Thank you Laura!

  4. Eric - Happy Birthday Author June 25, 2011 at 11:03 am - Reply

    I love the idea for the Mixed Up Chameleon. My kids would love this!
    The last two years we have celebrated Eric Carle’s Birthday.
    This year we made a book we called Have You Seen My Hat?:
    Last year we made pancakes after reading Pancakes, Pancakes:

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:52 am - Reply

      I love the links – I will check them out now!

  5. Rachel Ann June 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    AWESOME ideas! I love Eric Carle! My preschools enjoy The Grouchy Ladybug!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:52 am - Reply

      Grouchy Ladybug is one of the best!

  6. jeanne June 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Wonderful idea with the transparency! So much fun – I will definitely use this idea for other things, too! Thanks! (from Jeanne / Zella Said Purple, idea #57 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:52 am - Reply

      There is lots of potential uses for this idea! Have fun exploring!

  7. KM June 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Lovley and fun idea!!!! And all those links… What a spectacular way to celebrate EC’s birthday. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:49 am - Reply

      I love having all the links right here at my fingertips!

  8. Char June 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Love your blog. I am stopping by from We Teach. This is such a cute ideas and I love the linky so others can share their ideas too. I use to teach kindergarten and first grade in the public schools, but now I am at home with my two girls. I am homeschooling my preschoolers and love to share ideas on my blog. Please stop by my blog https://www.funfrugalmommy.blogspot.com

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:48 am - Reply

      I will definitely stop over Char!

  9. Lynn June 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    This is an awesome idea. It’s one of those “now why didn’t I think of that” ideas. I will be using this with my preschoolers this fall. Thanks so much.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:47 am - Reply

      I love when I find “why didn’t I think of that” ideas! LOL!

  10. Kristina June 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    What a simple and fun idea Deborah! We haven’t read this book yet, so we might need to try out this activity. I love how open ended it is. Perfect for some many different ages of kids.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Definitely good for all ages! I think I would like to try it with kids just a bit older than Wy to see where the idea would lead.

  11. Carla June 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Deborah,

    Adorable! If you make little tracings of the chameleons and glue them to popsicle sticks, the children can bring home their very own chameleons and show their families how it “works!”

    Carla M.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Yes – that would be a great way to extend the learning at home! How exciting!!

  12. Isil June 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    What a brilliant post! We love Eric Carle,too. I would love it if you linked up to Book Sharing Monday (a weekly meme)on my blog.Thanks in advance.

  13. Jackie June 27, 2011 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    This is one of our favorite books!! I love the “hidden” chameleons. Wouldn’t it be fun to take a camera around and take pictures of those chameleons hiding in their environment and then make a book with a repetative text? Thanks for all the great ideas here!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm - Reply

      More great ideas! I love it!

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