1. Read about Animals - we have discovered some really great books that teach Wild Thing a lot about animals. These are our current favorites.
2. Play with Stuffed Animals - Wild Thing loves to snuggle with his stuffed dog, feed his stuffed rabbit, make his stuffed kangaroo bounce up and down and act out 5 monkeys jumping on the bed with his stuffed monkey.
3. Visit a Petting Zoo - My favorite one in Southern California is the OC Zoo at the Irvine Railroad Park, which made my list of Top Ten Family (and Budget) Friendly SoCal Getaways, because the small zoo features animals found natively in Southern California that have been rescued and are being cared for at the zoo.
4. Visit a Pet Fair - Even though we do not have plans of adopting any pets right now, we have gone to pet fairs for animals needing homes so that Wild Thing can see and learn about lots of different animals and learn about different jobs people have helping animals.
5. Feed Animals - We live in a rather rural area, so we have neighbors with chickens. We also have rabbits that come in our yard. The rabbits have a particular tree that they like, so we leave food for them under the tree, and we take food to the chickens up the street and feed them as well.
|Wild Thing looking for the rabbits.|
|Our lovely rabbit food.|
6. Go Bird Watching - The rural area we live in attracts many beautiful birds, and we enjoy seeing all the different types, including hawks. When we go for walks, we always see how many birds we can spot.
7. Animal Art - We enjoy doing art activities in which we make animals, usually in connection with one of the animal books we are reading, such as Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes.
8. Watch Documentaries/Films/TV Shows about Animals - There are lots of quality documentaries and shows for kids of all ages that allow kids to learn about animals and to see animals in their natural habitats. Right now, Wild Thing likes to watch Diego as he rescues animals. He also really liked watching Free Willy.
9. Explore Animal Habitats - Getting to see animals in their natural habitats is really great for kids and can be as simple as visiting a duck pond or discovering the lizards in your own backyard.
Two of our favorite animal books right now (I See a Kookaburra and Do Ducks Live in the Desert?) are great books for learning about habitats. Wild Thing, who is almost 3, has started telling me which types of lizard live where (i.e. desert vs. pond). It has led to a series of habitat activities, including making our own habitat book. I will be sharing our habitat activities all week next week on the blog.
10. Pretend to be Animals - Wild Thing loves learning what different animals sound like and imitating their sounds. He especially enjoys making animals sounds in the car on road trips. We also incorporate animal actions into Yoga - of course downward dog, snake (cobra), as well as a standing butterfly pose we do with our arms spread wide and butterfly legs.
For more great ideas on learning about animals, teaching kids to love animals, and other animal-related activities for kids, follow the Children & Animals at Play Pinboard.