Animals That Hatch

Children will learn about animals that hatch from eggs.

Lesson Objective

The children will investigate eggshells and learn about animals that hatch from eggs.


What You'll Need

  • Real eggs or eggshells (or pictures of them)
  • Pictures of baby animals that hatch from eggs (birds, turtles, fish, frogs, snakes)
  • Plastic eggs – 1 per child (see Lesson Tips)
  • Small plastic toy animals that will “hatch” from the eggs (turtles, birds, snakes, fish, frogs) – 1 per child (see Lesson Tips)

What To Do

Note: Prior to the lesson, place 1 toy animal inside each plastic egg.

  1. Display and discuss the real eggs, eggshells, or pictures (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  2. Tell the children that they will be investigating eggshells and talking about animals that hatch from eggs.
  3. Ask the children what they think the egg’s job is.
  4. Display the pictures of the animals that hatch from eggs, and discuss the fact that not all eggs have hard shells. For instance, fish eggs and frog eggs are soft.
  5. Have the children try to guess the size of the egg from which each animal might hatch.
  6. Distribute the plastic eggs.
  7. Working with one child at a time, have the children open the plastic eggs and discuss the animals inside.
  8. Discuss where that animal might lay its eggs (see Did You Know?).
  9. Discuss what is different about where different types of animals lay eggs; for example, where a fish would lay an egg and where a goose might lay an egg.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • What can you tell me about these eggs?
  • Explain what is different/the same about all of these eggshells.
  • Tell me what kinds of animals come from eggs.
  • Describe how a turtle is different from a bird. Explain how their eggs are different.
  • Tell me why you think that a fish egg is soft but a bird egg is hard.
  • Tell me what other type of egg that you think might be soft.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Place plastic animals and plastic eggs at the science center for further investigation.
  • Have pictures of a variety of eggs—such as ostrich eggs, hummingbird eggs, frog eggs, fish eggs, snake eggs, and so forth—available, with pictures of the animals that hatch from them. The children can sort the pictures by size, color, or number of eggs.
  • Have children sort the egg pictures by eggs found in nests and eggs not found in nests.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Were children able to explain the differences in the pictures of the eggs?
  • Were children able to name some animals that hatch from eggs?
  • Were children able to describe where animals might lay their eggs?


Did You Know?

Not all animals that lay eggs lay them in nests. Some animals lay their eggs in water and on leaves. Eggs have a special covering that protects the animal inside. Birds and fish are not the only animals that lay eggs. Insects, turtles, lizards, and reptiles lay eggs, too. Only two mammals lay eggs: the platypus and the echidna. All other mammals give birth to live babies.

Of all the birds that lay eggs, hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs, and ostriches lay the biggest eggs. Not all eggshells are solid colored. Some eggshells have patterns to camouflage them against predators. Most birds keep their eggs warm until they hatch by sitting on them. There are a few sneaky birds, like the cuckoo and the brown-headed cowbird, that lay their eggs in other birds’ nests so they do not have to tend to their own nest.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • egg – an object that contains a baby animal in a shell.
  • eggshell – the thin covering that encloses a bird's egg.
  • hatch – to help young animals develop inside their eggs and then break out or be born.
  • observe – to watch with care.
  • lay – to put something down so that it is flat against a surface.
  • nest – any place or structure that animals use to hold their eggs.

Lesson Tips

  • Some children may be unfamiliar with animals other than birds that hatch from eggs. It might be helpful to use a book such as Guess What Is Growing Inside This Egg by Mia Posada to introduce this idea.
  • Plastic eggs and small plastic animals can be purchased inexpensively from discount and dollar stores.
  • This is a great activity to do if you eventually plan to hatch actual eggs in your classroom. Search the Internet for information on renting an incubator and hatching eggs in the classroom.


  • Guess What Is Growing Inside This Egg by Mia Posada
  • An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni
  • Whose Egg? A Lift the Flap Book by Lynette Evans
  • Amazing Eggs by Fran Hodgkins
  • An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed.

Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS