Baby Animal Expedition
What to Pack:
- Camera (charged up and ready to shoot)
- Snack and juice boxes (if permitted)
- Sunblock and sunglasses (if it's sunny)
- Pen, crayons and a small notebook to record your findings
- Zoo map (print one from the zoo's Web site or pick one up when you get there)
- Backpack or handle bag
- Discover a zoo near you! To start your hunt, go to PC Local.
- Explore the zoo's Web site with your child. Before you go, look for zoo news or animal births and print out a map of the zoo, if you can.
- Map out your expedition together. Circle the animals you'd like to see on your map and plot your route. (Keep your child's attention span in mind.) Mark bathrooms and snack bars, too!
- Scout out the babies. When you arrive, ask zoo attendants to point out what sections offer the most baby animals to begin your baby animal expedition.
- Investigate. Ask your little explorer these questions: How does each baby animal look like its parent? How is it different? What are the babies eating? How do mothers carry their babies? Can you copy the sounds the animals are making? What babies have different names? Look for a cub, a joey, a calf and so on. Can you find a mother teaching her baby? Playing? Cuddling? Which babies can climb? Swim? Fly? How are baby animals like human babies?
- Record it all. As you go along from animal to animal, stop to take a picture of each one. And/or have your little explorer/Picasso draw pictures and write or dictate her observations in a notebook.
- Read all about it. Check out Life-Size Zoo by Teruyuki Komiya and Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
Bonus Explorer Activity Print your photos and add them to kids' drawings and recordings to create your own baby animal fact book. (Write a large letter of the alphabet at the top of each page and fill accordingly, supplementing with magazine pictures, if necessary.) Cutting and pasting provides tactile reinforcement for little explorers who prefer hands-on safaris.
Check out the Dawn Junior Wildlife Champions program for free lesson plans and tools to explore the issue of oil spills, and lots of ways for your kid to get involved in wildlife education!