Monday, February 6, 2012

Resources about Animals

Comic Life
Kids love animals. They love to watch them, play with them, and read about them. Capitalising on this interest is a no-brainer for parents and teachers. Is there an animal sanctuary nearby? How long since you've taken a walk outside to look for critters? Is there a farm you could take your city kids to, somewhere they can get close to animals and their babies?

A quick trip to the library, or an online search can provide fuel for lots of learning fun about animals. Help your kids discover more by wondering aloud about what you see and read.
I wonder why they have stripes in their fur?
What do you think the baby eats?
How would they hide from predators?
What sort of animal makes tracks like that?
What animal might have left that scat?
Which animals might live up high/down low/underground/in the water? What things about them might help them live that way?
Here are some great online places to explore animals with your kids:

*Would you like to learn more about Australian animals? WildlifeFun4Kids is a fascinating blog by Penny, zookeeper and wildlife education officer. Penny generously offers lots of great downloadable educational resources, so visit often!

San Diego Zoo Kids
*Checking out zoo websites across the world can introduce your kids to a range of animals and activities. I learnt about the San Diego Zoo from @LarryFerlazzo. As well as information about animals, you'll find craft activities, games to play, and can create Zoodles, too.

*Baby animals seem to produce the "awwww!" factor in most of us. Zoo Borns has: "the newest, cutest baby animals from the world's accredited zoos and aquariums". Browse the Sort by Animal list on the left side of the home page to discover more. Has your child heard of an Aye-aye? (Only a mother could love it!) Or a gerenuk? There are also books available.

*Check out these educational Resources from Northumberland Grid for Learning. There are records for 65 animals, grouped according to habitat and listed in alphabetical order in the index.

*Baby Animals can also be seen at if you don't mind lots of ads.

*The Discovery Channel's Animal Planet has stacks of videos, pictures and games about animals.

*I told you about ARKive in ARKive - Images of Life on Earth and about Switcheroo Zoo back in 2009.

*The BBC have lots of Animal Games, and their Nature Video Collection is an excellent resource for baby animal videos.

Go for gross and visit Denver Zoo's Whose Poo?


Build Your Wildself
Why not go to Build Your Wildself, where your kids can imagine themselves as an animal. It might be just the start they need to create their own stories!

Take photos of animals and pets in your neighbourhood and use software like Comic Life (not free, but reasonable) to create a story about them. I used Comic Life to make the four frame comic at top.

Make sculptures of animals from toothpicks and blu tack, or toothpicks, jubes and marshmallows.

Check out Animal Mix-Ups where kids can move animal words and animal parts to form their own pictures.

At Create-A-Fish, kids can combine different fish species into one of their own.

Here's a simple animal mix up activity with LEGO.

Use some of the wonderful illustrations at Storybird to create a book with your children. Read more in Create Story with Storybird.

Mix up animal parts from magazine pictures to create a weird new animal.

Play a mime game where one person mimes being an animal and the others must guess what animal it is.

Make an animal talk at Talking Pet or Blabberize.

Can you think of one animal for each letter of the alphabet? Draw a grid with 26 squares and see if you can illustrate each animal too. Or check out this great animal alphabet at Daily Coloring Pages for inspiration.

Make animal cookies or crackers.

Investigate your favourite animals and design a menu you think they might like.

Make a comic at A Dog's Life or Charlotte's Web. Read more in my posts Children's Literacy - A Dog's Life and Children's Writing - Charlotte's Web Comic Maker.

Make an animal sock puppet.

Have your child write his own name at Alpabetimals.

Create your own strange animal-like creature at GrabbaBeast.

If you're interested in animal resources, you might also like to read my animal-themed posts, Let's Celebrate World Animal Day, The Zoo That Is You, Fake Science, Cow Appreciation Day, or this one about World Penguin Day.


  1. Thanks Susan, these are great. My younger cherub especially seems to have an affinity with animals so I'll be checking out these resources.


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