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Summer Camp at Home week 5: Wildlife

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Summer Camp at Home week 5: Wildlife
Summer Camp at Home gets wild with a week focused on wildlife

Summer Camp at Home gets wild with a week focused on wildlife

It’s finally “Wildlife Week” for our Summer Camp at Home. Sometimes I feel it’s always Wildlife Week the way my family loves wild creatures. So for us, it’s kind of business as usual!

If your family isn’t as fired up about wild animals, that’s OK. You can still make this a fun, wild week with wildlife as a theme.

Field Trips

Kids love to visit the aquarium or zoo!

Kids love to visit the aquarium or zoo!

For example, most kids like to go to the zoo or aquarium. And this is the perfect time to go to the zoo, aquarium, nature center or wildlife hospital. Even an aquarium store or pet store can be fun for little ones. We visited an aquarium over the July Fourth holiday weekend, as well as a bird rehabilitation center. My 6-year-old said the bird rehab center was one of his favorite things about the weekend.

We also went camping last weekend and saw lots of wildlife! We spotted deer, wild pigs, marsh rabbits, a red-shouldered hawk, a barred owl, banded water snakes, herons, egrets, limpkins, crows and raccoons. If there is a park or forest near you, take a hike or a drive and look for wildlife. You might be surprised at what you can find! The best times to spot wildlife, in general, are early morning and twilight.

Language Skills

If your family is interested in wildlife, this might be a good time to check out or buy a wildlife field guide for your region. We have the Florida guide from Audubon Regional Field Guides. This book has helped us identify and learn about animals we see on trips. We use it for our yard, too, and keep it next to the big window that faces our backyard so we can look up any bird that shows up.

This is a good week to find some fun, cute books featuring animals at your library. Let your kids pick out which animals they are interested in. Older children might want to draw a picture of their favorite wild animal, label different parts of the body and list how the animal survives in the wild.

Play and Learn

I’ve mentioned it before, but my kids love the Wild Kratts PBS Kids show. They like to pretend they are Chris and Martin Kratt — two brothers who help wildlife by using Creature Power Suits. Any kind of wildlife helping scenario that your kids might want to pretend is fun! Pretend play and role play are great for learning and developing creative problem solving skills.

Science

Our backyard passion vine attracts zebra longwing butterflies, which lay their eggs here. The caterpillars then eat the leaves.

Our backyard passion vine attracts zebra longwing butterflies, which lay their eggs here. The caterpillars then eat the leaves.

There are some fascinating and fun wildlife science projects for kids — just do a search. One of our favorite activities has been to raise caterpillars until they turn into butterflies. There are kits for this, but we do it ourselves by finding caterpillars in our yard and putting them in a clear box with lots of air holes. Put down a paper towel in the bottom, and change the paper towel every day. Also provide the caterpillar with fresh leaves every day from the plant it likes to eat (the plant we got the caterpillar from). The caterpillar will eventually build a cocoon, and then you can take out the leaves. Wait for the butterfly to hatch. Kids love it! It can take an hour or so for a new butterfly’s wings to dry enough to fly. You can find butterfly nectar and host plants to put in your yard at the North American Butterfly Association site and start your own butterfly garden.

Crafting and Art

Honestly, I don’t think we will do much crafting this week. We have another trip planned (yay!), so we will be short on time spent at home again. There are tons of fun animal-related crafts for kids to do, though, if you look on Pinterest or One Pretty Thing. Make Play-Dough animals, paper plate wildlife masks or draw pictures of your favorite creatures. Make birdseed ornaments to hang on tree branches outside, or craft a hanging bird feeder out of recycled materials. Wildlife make great artistic inspiration.

Geography

Different animals are found in different habitats. You can show your kids on a map (of your state, your nation or the world) where different habitats are located, and ask them to put stickers of wildlife in the right habitat. You can make stickers yourself by finding pictures online, then printing them out in a small size onto sticker paper that goes in the printer.

Older children can do this research and these activities themselves.

Pinned It

If you are enjoying Summer Camp at Home, you will appreciate this homeschooling mom’s Summer Learning Links and Ideas from this Pin.

What other great summer Pins have you found? Feel free to share in the comments.

We’re about halfway through summer — hard to believe — and we have yet to become bored. How about you?

Make it a great week!

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