Perhaps the most radical thing we can do is to stay home, so we can learn the names of the plants and animals around us; so that we can begin to know what tradition we’re part of. – Terry Tempest Williams
IN TODAY’S SESSION…
We spent a wonderful time getting inside animal homes of all kinds. We explored farm animals and our relationship with animals that we have taken out of the wild to provide food. Humans provide farm animal homes for rest, shelter and a place for growth. We also talked about how wild animals make their own homes that provide the same functions. We talked about how we can observe wild animal homes from a distance, but we must not disturb them.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
Many families have animals as pets, and many provide shelter for wild animals by having a bird house, a tree where squirrels nest or a place where spiders build their webs undisturbed. Discuss the animals that live in or around your home. How do you provide shelter for animals?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER: Try…
A Family Game
A fun way to help children learn and remember the various kinds of homes that animals have is to play a game in which one person says “I’m a … and I live in….” The other person (or people) shout out as quick as they can where they think the given animal lives. You can make the game as simple as “I’m a squirrel and I live in a tree” or as complicated as “I’m a manatee and I live in the Florida Everglades.” The person who gets the animal home right gets to propose the next animal. If the child posing the question doesn’t know what sort of a home their animal lives in, an adult may need to referee the answers.
A Family Adventure
Take a walk and help your young child identify animal homes in your area. From an ant hill to a dog house, it is good for children to experience how animal homes differ as well as the features they have in common. If you have time, visit a zoo and discuss with children what happens when wild animals are removed from their wild homes. When humans choose to move wild animals for educational purposes, we must then take responsibility for the animal’s shelter and care.
The internet has resources for both children and adults to learn about animal homes. You can find kid-friendly info on animal homes, a game in which kids help animals to find their home, and detailed descriptions of a few different kinds of animal homes.
Likewise, there are a variety of books for children on the subject, including Animal Homes (Kingfisher Young Knowledge Series) edited by Angela Wilkes and Belinda Weber (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)
See “cage free’ housing of chickens that are used for meat and for egg production on the National Humane Society website.