Get to Know the Animals that Share Our Globe With Other Homeschool Families

By Barbara Christensen - 10:42 AM

Get to Know the Animals that Share Our Globe With Other Homeschool Families

Kids of all ages – and quite a few grownups – enjoy meeting the local wildlife, and summer is a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with some furry four-legged friends. An afternoon at the zoo or a walk through a nearby preserve with our homeschool friends not only gives everyone a chance to see the animals, but is a good time to teach your children about nature as well. It also gives mom some time with grown-ups, which is rare and enjoyable during the summer. It's a big reason why I love park day.

Local petting zoos are a fun place to take kids of all ages. Being able to pet and feel the animals is one of the draws. Little ones especially love it because many of the animals are so small they’re kid sized.

Some of the animals you’ll find are:

Pygmy Goats
Miniature Horses
Potbellied Pigs or Micro Pigs

We even have a kangaroo farm here in the Pacific Northwest. But my favorite animal related field trip was to the Safe Haven horse rescue. Such an amazing facility in Woodinville.

But getting more into the earth, why not take your family on a tour of a farm in your area. Many local farms welcome a chance to show off what they do to bring food to your table. Kids that learn and take part in gardening are proven to make better food choices. When we went to Left Foot Farm in WA my daughter was able to milk a goat, feed the babies, and they even had a farm patch where the kids were able to pick their own produce to eat. It's great to show your children where fruits and veggies come from. It's a big part of the reason why we brought a Tower Garden into our house, and why I helped our local homeschool partnership get four towers. All ages can benefit from caring and nurturing plants.

We're also lucky enough to have an amazing fish hatchery near us in Issaquah. A fish hatchery is an interesting place to see how fish, crustaceans and shellfish are bred, hatched and reared through the early life cycles. We get to see the salmon returning home and spawning, and see how they are repopulating the streams they've reestablished in the area.

Many times hatcheries offer catch-and-release programs for children to see what it’s like to go fishing for the first time. Many fish hatcheries also offer tours and sometimes have large events, such as a salmon festival to celebrate the salmon spawning season.

We also have several nature preserves here, and locally a great one in Jaunita where we go to see the turtles. It used to be a farm for frog legs in the early 1900's. Creepy, right? Which is why kids love it.

Going to any nature preserve can be a whole lot of fun and educational at the same time. Many preserves cater to different things – some are for wildlife, plant life, geology or any combination of those.

You can stroll through to see nature relatively undisturbed and the wildlife roaming freely within the preserves borders. Nature in all its wonder! There are many wildlife specific preserves you can drive through as well, such as a bison range, a wild horse range or a bear preserve.

This is an activity probably best suited for older kids, as the wildlife you encounter will likely shy away from a noisy crowd. Not only that, but a bit of patience is often needed to spot elusive animals in the wild.

When we vacation we also love going to the local aquarium. This is one activity the entire family is sure to remember since we don’t see marine creatures every day. There are so many types of colorful fish, eels, lobsters, crabs, otters, turtles, sea lions and that’s just for starters. The aquarium is chock full of interesting creatures to let your little ones inspect.

Many aquariums offer touch tanks filled with marine life your children can touch, feel and sometimes pick up. Things like sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, and even octopus. We love touching the rays most of all.

Getting out and exploring new places with different types of animals is something your children will enjoy and help will foster a love for nature and wildlife.

No matter where you live, chances are you’ll find several places nearby where you can see both domestic and wild animals. Not only will the kids have the opportunity to see local – or even exotic – wildlife up close, but the time spent outdoors is a healthy alternative to indoor games and television.

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