While learning is often associated with textbooks, tests, and teachers, there is an
another source from which children can learn some fantastic life lessons. One of
the best learning resources are the creatures that live among us. Animals! There
are so many great ways to learn with and from animals. Here are ten fun and
innovative ways that young people, and the adults in their lives, can get in
touch with their warm and wild side and learn a lot in the process.
Get a pet - Pet’s are a great way to help children develop responsible behavior, provide aconnection to nature and teach respect for other living things.
Watch a pet - There are a number of reasons that a family may not be able to get a pet. When this is the case, another option might be to offer to watch a pet for busy neighbors. This provides several of the benefits of getting a pet and can also
turn into a part time job for the pet-loving child.
Walk a pet - What better way to engage in physical fitness than with a pet. Go for a run in the park or around the block. This too can turn into a part-time job for the child who has a way with animals and wants to become the neighborhood dog
Learn about endangered species with UStream -
UStream is doing some amazing work with capturing endangered
species live on film. Children can watch animals catch prey, mate, reproduce,
and much more. Another great feature is viewers can chat with experts and others
who are interested while watching the animal in the wild. Additionally, there is
a lot of educational information on many of these pages. Start on the general
Pets / Animals page at http://www.ustream.tv/pets-animals. The following are some wonderful pages that are educationally sound and terrific starting places.
Visit or volunteer at a local zoo, farm, ranch or stable - Zoos
and farms are a great way to get to know animals. While a visit to a farm or zoo
can be a terrific learning experience, for young ones who are big animal lovers,
there may also be volunteer opportunities. What a wonderful way to learn about,
and with animals from the professionals who care for them.
Read or start a blog - For children who love or want to learn about a
particular animal, a blog is a great resource. Go to Technorati.com and type in
the animal you want to learn more about. There you’ll find blogs ranked by
authority. For example for those who love pugs you’ll find blogs like The Curious Pug and Pug Possessed. Reading and commenting on the blog helps develop literacy and communication skills. Children that enjoy writing, can start their own blog to document the adventures of their favorite creature.
View YouTube videos - There is so much to learn from watching animal videos. From tolerance and love to survival and protection of the young. I recommend starting with this one about tolerance and love and this one about survival and protection of young.
Search Twitter - Let children do a search on Twitter for the animal they love. There they’ll find Tweets from others interested in this animal. You can put those who share similar interests into a list and / or begin following their Tweets. If there's something you want to know or might be of interest to one of your Tweeps
(Twitter peeps)? Tag them and see what they have to say. This teaches young
people not only about what they are trying to learn, but they also develop the
ability to learn from Twitter as well as develop a personal learning network.
Bird Watch - Bird watching is fun and with the advent of cell phone
cameras/video, capturing these winged creatures is easier than ever. Have your
child set up a Flickr account to collect the photos and videos and email them to
your Flickr email for an automatic slideshow collection. The subject becomes the
caption and message the description. This can also be updated. Visit this linkfor directions. The slideshow might look something like the one below. - Lisa Nielson, Tech and Learning magazine.