Ways To Incorporate Animals Into Learning
contributed by Kate McDonnell
It’s unfortunate, but many children have a hard time focusing on educational activities that are in their best interest.
Often, these children are simply bored and unengaged, but incorporating some animals into their education could be exactly what’s needed to inject a boost of fun and interest into their learning.
Have you ever noticed how a child instantly perks up when an animal is around? Why not use that to your advantage with the following ways of using animals as part of the learning process. From arts and crafts to science experiments, these methods will help make learning fun again by putting your child’s love of animals at the forefront of the activity.
When you first start trying to find ways to include animals in educational activities, it can be difficult. You need to think outside the box and get creative. The following ideas are a great place to start and will provide you with several ways to incorporate animals into your child’s learning right away.
Arts and Crafts
Few learning activities keep a child as engaged as a good art project. The best art projects are about more than just making something that looks cool; they’re about building something with function. Throughout your child’s life, they’ll need to build things with purpose, and building something for your pet to use is a great place to start.
If you have a cat, you could get experimental with different materials that are probably already all over your house and use them to make a DIY cat house. Not only will your child be endlessly entertained during its construction, but your cat will also get a kick out of it once it’s complete!
Fun Fact Trivia
Learning is all about acquiring new knowledge, so why not use trivia and fun facts to help educate children about animals? All you need are some interesting facts to share, and you can find plenty of interesting facts in articles like Can Cats See in the Dark? 8 Cat Night Vision Facts. Try writing up flashcards with one interesting fact each, then using them as a trivia game!
Pet Show and Tell
If you’ve got a classroom of students, it might be a fun idea to have them bring in their pets (with parental supervision, of course) and share them with the class! Some of the unique pets that children bring in might come as a surprise, and the children will be thrilled at seeing all the cool new animals, as well as getting the chance to show off their own pets.
The scientific method is all about coming up with a hypothesis, testing it, and then determining the results. Well, you can easily help a child learn about the scientific method through controlled experiments where you come up with a hypothesis before testing different outcomes to find the results.
For example, you might try an experiment where you test out cat litter alternatives. Decide which alternatives you think will work and which won’t. Then, test them out, taking detailed notes of your observations. At the end, compare your observations with your hypothesis and see how right or wrong you were! (To get some ideas for litter alternatives to try, check out this article on the 10 Best Cat Litter Substitutes.)
Visit the Zoo
Did you ever get to visit the zoo on a field trip as a kid? For many, this is one of the most memorable field trips of their entire school career, and it’s easy to see why. The zoo is an exciting place for any child, and it’s full of almost endless learning opportunities. So many exotic animals are at the zoo that you’ll rarely see in daily life, if ever.
Not only will you get to see all these awesome animals up close and in person, but you’ll also get the chance to witness shows where zookeepers show off some of the animals and talk about them, sharing information that you’ve probably never heard before.
There are many ways for you to incorporate animals into educational activities. You might feel like you’re drawing a blank when you first start giving it thought, but after the creativity starts to flow, you’ll probably come up with many different ideas. Take these as a starting point. You’re free to use them as you’d like or use any of them to jump off into another great educational opportunity. Just make sure that your audience is engaged and excited and the learning will never feel like a chore.