Going to the zoo is a fun thing that my boys loved when they were young, but with things, the way they are right not all of us are comfortable taking the kids out, plus I can remember the heat was a bit much sometimes, so I found a great alternative that takes you to the zoo and brings with it activities for the smaller ones to do.
The Racine Zoo has a great set up where they bring the zoo to you. You can click on these titles and find an abundance of zoo related items fun: Checking In with the Animals Features videos of our animals playing with enrichment, enjoying a snack, or just hanging out! Meet the Animals Our Education Department introduces animals and gives some fun facts! Online Preschool Class Sessions Miss Brittany from our Education Department goes over various topics perfect for ages 2 – 5! At-Home CraftsCrafts you can do right at home with basic materials found around the house! Animal coloring sheets available, too! Behind-the-Scenes TV Show Watch our “Racine Zoo to You!” TV show with 13 online episodes and get an in-depth experience with our animals and staff. Nature Scavenger Hunts and Challenges Step up to the challenge! Go out into nature—whether it be your backyard or a walk! The link is: https://www.racinezoo.org/content/bringing-zoo-you
I was turned onto a site that is geared for prekindergarten kids before they go to kindergarten. It is called 1,000 Books before Kindergarten and there is 1000 names & words and 1,000 numbers & shapes. It seems like a great summer set to do if you want your children to be ready to attend kindergarten in the fall.
Most of my column this week is for the younger ones, but I wanted to again make sure we are getting outside with our children, young or old. I discovered a bit about nature and things you can do while out in nature with your children and also a reminder on the benefits of being outside. I am sure many of you worry that your children do not get out enough. This could be a start of things for them to do while outside in nature that I found on healthychildren.org
Nature all around us. Exploring outside with proper social distancing can happen in your yard, a table-top garden, or even virtually, (though not with all of the benefits). Nature sculptures can be built with twigs, leaves, cones, rocks and more by sticking the collected items into a play dough base. Notice what kind of patterns are created by different items. Or, let your child play in the mud with old pots, pans, utensils, and household tools to develop senses and motor skills.
Hold a nature scavenger hunt or start a nature collection. Hunt for plants, trees, animals, and birds. Collect rocks, acorns, leaves, or pinecones. See how many items children can find on a list, or gather objects to add to a collection.
The benefits of being outside – Getting outside provides more than a fun break for children and teens. It is also good for their physical and mental health and development. Children and teens who spend time enjoying nature can be:
Physically healthier. Children play harder outdoors than indoors. Especially without the structure of preschool, school, or afterschool activities, children especially need opportunities to move. More outdoor time is linked with improved motor development and lower obesity rates.
More engaged in learning. Playing outside promotes more curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. Studies have found that children who spent more time in nature exploration had improved learning outcomes.
More positive in behavior. Research has found that when children spent time in natural settings, they had less anger and aggression. Impulse control also improves. This might be especially important when normal routines have changed for children.
Mentally healthier. Stress and depression are lower for all people who spend time in nature.
I look forward to searching for some different and more ideas, and if you have something, you have done or seen that kids might enjoy doing, send it to me. My column this summer will be full of funfilled activities to do both inside and out. You don’t want to miss out. Keep in mind. I try to do my best to find things that are not a ton of work for you.
Let me know any ideas you have or what you would like to see and I’ll get right on it for you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to be kind to each other and continue to set a good example for our children.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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