Last week, my child wanted to see a turtle. Our city, like many, does not have a zoo of its own. We did see some turtles though! Traveling to the zoo is definitely worth the effort, but not an every day excursion. Here are three ways we can all make opportunities for our children to develop their love of nature by watching animals.
Hang out out of doors
If you have a yard of your own, pay attention to who shares it with you. Consider adding habitat and food sources that will attract and support insects, birds, and other creatures of interest. The National Wildlife Federation has some good information on making your yard into a habitat. The turtle above actually showed up in our yard one Sunday.
Even if you do not have your own yard, you can sight animals in the wild. Find a quiet corner of the park and sit still and quiet for ten to twenty minutes. Keep your eyes open as you ride down the trail. You might be surprised at what creatures you can sight even in major cities.
Visit a Pet Shop
This is how we found turtles to watch last week. The great home town business we visited actually keeps a few animals just for display.
We have visited several shops over the years, and staff have always seemed pleased to let children wander and gawk.
Watch videos on-line
When we lived in the Middle East we did not go anywhere much. I would ask what my children wanted to learn and find videos about it. If you are stuck in doors or want to see something particularly exotic, videos a great free way to watch animals from home. National Geographic and Animal Planet have good You-tube channels, but be sure to do your own search too. There are some fantastic amateur videos out there that give your child the opportunity to simply observe animals in their natural habitats.
If we want children to take good care of nature, we must give them the opportunity to fall in love with it. Simply making time to observe creates that opportunity. How are you going to see some animals today?
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