Most kids have never seen a wild elephant, giraffe, panda, or other endangered animal. This makes teaching them about endangered animals difficult. If you have ever tried to explain the horrors of poaching and habitat destruction to your children, you may have been met with blank stares. Most kids live in the moment. They need something more concrete to get their attention. Giving your children hands-on activities that they can do with you is the best way to nurture a passion for animals in need of protecting.
Children cherish Christmas memories for their entire lives. Why not take the opportunity to help them remember those that can’t speak for themselves. This year, purchase endangered animal-themed ornaments. You can also help your child find pictures of endangered animals in magazines and make their own ornaments. Use glitter and construction paper. You can even decoupage them onto a decorative piece of metal or wood. As you hang each one on the tree, tell your child the animal’s name, where it lives, and why it is endangered.
Many species are endangered because their homes are disappearing. Butterflies are losing their habitat to human development rapidly in the United States. One way to teach kids about the importance of preserving these habitats is to make a butterfly garden. These gardens consist of colorful flowers and plants that caterpillars and butterflies find irresistible. When the flowers bloom, butterflies will be seen all around your yard. Use this activity as a starting point to teach children about bigger animals whose homes are being destroyed. These could include the Bonobo of South America’s rainforest and giraffes of the African savanna.
The time to purchase a new calendar is quickly approaching. This year, consider a calendar that serves as a year-long reminder of endangered animals. Flipping through colorful pictures each month is the perfect way to start a conversation about animal conservation. Some wildlife conservation organizations offer a free calendar with a donation. Donate to a worthy cause under your child’s name. Watch how excited she gets waiting for her very own calendar in the mail.
All kids express themselves in different ways. Help them use their creative skills to make art about endangered animals. They can draw their favorite endangered animal, write a poem or story about animal conservation, or make a video to promote awareness of animals that need protecting. After they have a finished product, enter their masterpiece into an nature art contest. The annual Get To Know contest covers several forms of art mediums. It runs from April to November. That is plenty of time to get them thinking about endangered animals.
For some kids, the way to their heart is spending quality time with them. Kids love when adults take time to color and read with them. Purchase a good activity book like “Endangered Animals Color and Learn Book: The Coloring Book for Kids Who Love Endangered Animals” by Jonni Good. This activity book has a color page and write-up for each animal.
Contributed by Rudy Tran. Since Rudy went green, he continues to discover eco-friendly ways to improve every facet of life.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their children to help preserve the planet.