10 Ways to help your child learn about animals

Kids are curious little sponges. What better way to get them to learn about animals and have fun along the way than by engaging in interactive activities with them? From cuddly stuffed animals to going to see real live animals in person, read on to learn about 10 ways to help your child learn about animals.

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1. Bring Them to See Live Animals

Find a local farm or zoo near you to bring your child to see live animals. At the farm, they can get up close and personal to pet farm animals like cows, sheep and horses. They’ll see all sorts of animals they don’t normally see during their day-to-day at the zoo. Zoos have plenty of learning opportunities about animals for children and adults alike.

2. Cuddle with Stuffed Animals

Maybe your child is a bit shy about petting a real live animal. In that case, start out small with some cute stuffed animals. They might be reluctant to pet a real cow, but they’re perfectly safe when they cuddle with a cow stuffed animal. Giving them a stuffed animal gives them a friend for life. In fact, stuffed animals aren’t just for children. A study conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with LifeStorage shows that 53 percent of adult Americans still have a stuffed animal from childhood. Turns out that their cow stuffed animal can be their go-to cuddle buddy well into adulthood.

3. Get a Family Pet

Perhaps your child has been begging for a cat or a dog for a while now. If they’re at an age where they can start learning some basic responsibilities and can help take care of a pet, it’s time to get a family pet. It doesn’t have to be a four-legged friend. You can start out with a pet goldfish. Sit down with your child and have a conversation about what kind of pet they want and the expectations that come along with having a new member of the family.

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4. Walk in the Park

If it’s a nice day outside, go for a walk in the park with your kids. In the park, they’ll see all sorts of animals like deer, birds and squirrels. If there’s a pond or lake at the park, they’ll see ducks and different kinds of fish. As you’re walking around the park, ask them about the different animals they’re seeing. See if they can name all the different animals. Ask them questions like, “What colour is that squirrel? Where do you think the squirrel lives?” to spark their interest and get them thinking about and talking about animals.

5. Read Books About Animals

You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to learn about animals. Find some age-appropriate books for your child about animals. You can read books about animals after work or when they get home from school. You can read them a bedtime story about animals. If you see your child particularly interested in one kind of animal, encourage that interest and get them more books or resources about that animal.

6. Watch Shows About Animals

There are plenty of child-friendly shows about animals. Watch them together as a family. You might end up learning fun facts about animals that you didn’t know either.

7. Go to Kid-Friendly Websites About Animals

Browse the web together by going to kid-friendly websites about animals. You can play games together. Watch educational videos on animals like the history of dinosaurs and different kinds of tigers.

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8. Volunteer with Animals

Volunteering with animals is a great way for your older child or preteen to get in touch with their wild side. Look for volunteer opportunities near you. There may be an animal shelter that needs volunteers. Parks, zoos and farms could also use seasonal youth volunteers.

9. Play Pretend

You may feel a little silly, but playing pretend with your young children is a great way to bond with them and spark their imagination. Pretend you’re an animal and act like that animal by making noises. You two can play a game of charades while each of you takes turns and guesses what kind of animal the other one is. If your child is quite young, you might want to start with basic animals they see most often like dogs, cats and birds.

10. Sing Animal Songs

You’ll make your child so happy when you sing songs together. You’ll be clapping your hands and bobbing your head to the beat when you sing different songs together about animals. You can sing classics like “Old MacDonald” and “Five Little Ducks” or modern ones like “Baby Shark.”

Children are naturally curious and love learning new things, especially about something as fun as the topic of animals. Whether you have a growing toddler or an active preteen, you and your child will love all the different ways they’re learning about animals.

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