Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Animal lovers

My boys, like most children I suppose, are fascinated by animals. My youngest loves them in a cuddly/excited to see them sort of way, and my eldest is more interested in them in a David Attenborough sort of way (what does it eat? Is it poisonous?). Whenever we go to a zoo/rescue centre/nature reserve/farm I am always amazed at how much they know, so I was asking myself: if I have never sat down with them and done an "animal lesson" where did they get all this information from?
You will be surprised to know that a lot comes from a cartoon called Diego!

Not the most accurate of programmes (Diego works in animal rescue despite being about 9 years old, and has rescued creatures like mermaids and dinosaurs...) but when dealing with real animals, my boys soak up all the information like sponges. They know about Lamas, Anacondas and Macaws, they can recognise them when they see them for real and know what they eat and where they originally come from, so thank you Diego!

Next, we must include another cartoon, Octonauts! When we visit aquariums or play in rock pools, the boys are a fountain of knowledge: sharks (especially whale sharks which Isaac is very fond of), seals, crabs, you name it. I think that the Octonauts are involved in more animal rescue, or they are a sort of underwater vets, but the boys are fascinated.

We have a lot of animal based books, but the boys tend to like factual ones more than stories, a favourite is Eye See You, a poster book they can look at while guessing the name of the animal and trying to remember as much as they can about them (a favourite is the red eyed tree frog!)

But of course nothing beats the real life experience: we have tropical fish and chickens at home, we live in the country so farm animals are a common sight, and we very much like to visit animal related places. We have been to zoos here in Leicestershire, London and Rome, endless farms, various Sea Life Centres and Aquariums (the latest being the one in Newquay), the Seal rescue centre in Cornwall (Reuben was very impressed by the hospital) and as many nature reserves and woodland areas as we can fit in. I do feel a little uneasy about the boys seeing so many animals in captivity though and I hope that in the future we can all travel to see them in their natural habitat.

Related websites we like are National Geographic for kids
and the Panda challenge from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park
but I'm sure there must be 100s!

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