For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals
On Monday, I am meeting with my teacher to talk about a new unit we’re going to do on life cycles. He asked me to come up with some ideas about how kids can learn about animals. Here are four ideas:
1. Books. Books are one way to learn. For example, I have Animal Life Cycles that tells about how animals change and grow and what makes them special. Some other books I have that have information about life cycles are: Children’s Animal Encyclopedia, I Wonder Why Caterpillars Eat So Much, Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide, and Extreme Nature.
We need to make sure the books are child appropriate. (Life cycles can have to do with the specifics of mating, and that can be weird for kids to talk about!) Most of the books about life cycles will be nonfiction, but we could use fiction books, too, like Charlotte’s Web. We could also study pretend animals, like mythical creatures, and about their life cycles that tell how they were created, lived and died in the imaginary world. I like Mythical Monsters: Legendary Fearsome Creatures.
2. Observation. We can observe animals in their natural habitats. We could go to a national park like Yellowstone or even just to our playground and farm at school. We could go to the zoo and to the animal hospital there to see baby animals.
3. Videos. We can watch TV shows and documentary movies about animals and their life cycles. For example, here’s a cool video about a parasite that lives its life cycle inside of ants, rabbits and snails! (It’s YouTube, so I don’t think we can watch it at school though.)
4. Other ways. To make it really interesting, we could:
a. Vote for an animal to help.
b. Ask someone from the Dumb Friends League to come and talk to us about how we can help and also about how we need to care for pets differently during different stages of their life cycles.
c. Study animals with extreme life cycles. For example, the female preying mantis bites the head off the male and eats him when they are mating. Kids like extreme stuff. This website has some good leads, and so does my Extreme Nature book, but not all of the book is appropriate for class.
These are just some ideas and ways that we can learn about animals and their life cycles.