Today, so many kids living in cities don’t have many opportunities to see real animals. But that’s okay because there are zoos or animal parks that allow children to see, and sometimes even touch, wild yet gentle creatures. It’s actually quite important to teach youngsters to respect and appreciate nature and wildlife because humans co-exist with these living beings. Without animals, the food chain will be greatly affected, and this might even endanger human existence.
So, how can you impart animal or wildlife appreciation to your child? Here are some tips that you can try out.
– Start by cultivating an appreciation for plants and small creatures.
Most kids are exposed to pet dogs or cats. You can encourage your child’s love for other living things by introducing him to gardening, which can develop a healthy interest in plant life, as well as common garden creatures, such as butterflies and earthworms. Then, present other smaller creatures that will pique his interest, such as birds and mammals, like squirrels or guinea pigs.
– When taking care of pets, ask for your child’s cooperation.
Having pets is one of the best ways to introduce animals to your kid’s life. In caring for a pet, make sure to assign certain age-appropriate tasks to your child so that he’ll feel more involved. If you don’t have a pet or if you’re not planning on getting one, maybe you can volunteer to pet-sit for a neighbor’s dog or cat.
– Take your son or daughter to the zoo.
A trip to the zoo will introduce youngsters to the many kinds of animal species from around the globe. Upon seeing unique creatures up close, your child will hopefully develop a more passionate interest for animals. Zoos and other animal parks also have many activities that will make your visit more enjoyable.
– Know more about wild animals.
After your first visit to the zoo, your child will surely become more interested in the not-so-common wild animals that he has seen. This is the most fitting time for you to teach him about wildlife. Involve your child in other wildlife-related activities, such as bird-watching, visiting creeks, ponds or other natural habitats, or nature hiking. Once your child becomes older, you can also begin to educate him about more serious topics, like why some creatures are hunted or poached, or why there are endangered species.
– Go on a wildlife adventure.
Wherever you are, you can arouse your child’s interest in animals by being creative. For instance, you saw tracks in the snow or maybe some feet marks on the ground. Ask your kid if he can guess what sort of animals left those tracks. Also, look for bird’s nests taking care not to disturb them, or tell your son about the creature that left seeds or other marks on the ground.
– Talk about common fears about animals.
Some kids, and even many grown-ups, can have fears about other living things. Tell your child about this and try to explain why some people are afraid of animals. Explain to him that all creatures play a role in the food chain, and let him know that the lives of both humans and animals are closely linked.
Author Bio: Claire Bronson is a full-time freelancer who also happens to be an environmental advocate. She blogs about issues concerning the environment and wildlife. Many of her articles are also about animals in captivity or in zoos, such as the Yellowstone Bears.