Water is life.
As a city dweller I am sure you take water for granted. We barely need to think when we turn the taps on as water always flows out, fresh and clean.
The people who have the best access are the people who need to take better care of it. We need to educate our children so they are aware of where water comes from, where it goes after we have used it and who needs it apart from us!
Water wise activities:
- Look at some different ocean and river animals. How do they live in and around the water?
- Get outside and see where the pipes go after the water goes down the drain.
- Look at the different products that you use to wash your hands, wash the clothes, wash your hair. Read the ingredients and see how these might negatively effect the waterways.
- Find out where your water comes from – where is the local water tower, dam or river?
- It is a human right to have access to water. Where in the world do people not have access to water?
- Read some books that have water as a focal point such as:
The river and the book,
Down the Drain,
All I want for Christmas is rain
Spark your child’s natural wonder and help them to become globally conscious and people who want to look after the world they live in.
LOTS. The diversity of life on Earth by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton is a creative, eye catching non -fiction picture book that conveys the message of the amazing diversity of life we have on our planet Earth.
Nicola Davies invites us to look everywhere and when we do we will find so many different types of life. Through magical storytelling the reader finds out small facts about different creatures, how they live, how many species there are and where they hide. Emily Sutton illustrates with care, bringing the natural world into focus and helping us to se the intricate details of each animal, plant and insect.
LOTS is a great book to ignite your child’s interest in animals and perhaps a future in animal and habitat conservation.
LOTS is a gentle way to teach children about the importance of all life forms and how we all play a role in caring for them.
An informative and entertaining book, LOTS is one for the science lesson, literacy lesson and just the quiet book before bed.
So what can you do with this book?
Before you read – write down three things you know about life on earth.
After you read – write down two facts you learnt. Write down two things you would like to know more about. Write down two ways you are going to help make sure no more animals become extinct.
- read about an animal in this book who has become extinct. Work out why they became extinct and actions that may have saved them.
- List and group all of the different animals in this story. How many groups of animals are there?
- Look at the page on food/life cycles – can you investigate other animals and how they link in with each other for food and life?
- Donate money to an organisation or do some volunteer work that would help restore habitats for animals.
Use this book as a springboard to help your child to be aware that everything they do makes an impact. Every piece of rubbish, every flick of a light switch and every trip in the car impacts another.
How can you make a difference as a family?
One of the things I love about picture books is that they can bring real life stories to young readers all around the world through pictures and simple words.
Rhino in the House by Daniel Kirk is an empowering story about a women named Anna Merz and her lifelong dedication to saving endangered animals in Africa. Anna had always been involved in wildlife conservation and it was when she retired and moved to Kenya that her journey into saving Rhinoceroses began.
The relationship between a baby rhino named Samia and Anna is at the heart of this conservation story. We learn how their relationship develops over time and how her story has inspired many to pursue careers and action in the area of wildlife conservation.
Children will adore this book as the images are colourful and the story is sweet and entertaining. There is little mention of the dangers from poachers which is lovely and allows the children to enjoy this story without fear. We did discuss who poachers are at the start of the story but were then able to focus more on the wonderful work Anna did in her sanctuary.
Rhino in the House is one of those picture books which stays with you long after it has been read and with historical facts at the end of the story it allows the adult reader learn more about Anna and her rhinos.
So what can you do?
- Why do we need to take care of all animals in our world?
- Which animals are endangered in your country? Why are they endangered and can this be changed?
- Why are books like this important? How do picture books give all readers this important message? How do they make us read and learn when compared to wordy articles?
- How is nature fragile?
- How can animals be protected when humans don’t want to change? Investigate an endangered animal that is effected by human action – write a letter or create a campaign that will change minds and attitudes.
Compare and contrast other books that use a true story and place it in picture book form. With these books: Phasmid, One small Island, The Hairy Nosed Wombats
– Identify the true story in each book.
– Identify the human actions involved – positive and negative.
– Identify the impacts on the world if this animal/s was to become extinct.
– Compare and contrast the 4 picture books and decide which one makes more of an impact on you.
– What does sustainability mean in regards to these stories?
– Teach another group of students about your story or of another animal that is endangered. Think of an interesting way that grabs their attention so they listen and learn.
Links to Rhinos
OI.3 – Sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems.
OI.6 The sustainability of ecological, social and economic systems is achieved through informed individual and community action that values local and global equity and fairness across generations into the future.
Where is Bear? by Camilla dela Bedoyere and illustrated by Emma Levey takes the reader on a wonderful journey all over the world to meet different types of bears!
Who knew that there were this many types of bears and of course many more that aren’t mentioned in the book!
This book is full of fun dialogue between a rabbit and all of the different bears she encounters on her journey to deliver a birthday present to her friend Ping the Panda Bear! As we meet each type of bear we also meet the different animals who share the same habitat.
Children learn many different facts through the conversations the animals are having with eachother and will enjoy spotting what each animal is up to.
Emma Levey’s illustrations are colourful and eye catching so your child will not only be engaged with the fun dialogue but also with the creative drawings.
Where is Bear? is a wonderful book to engage your child into not only the world of bears but also an awareness of different habitats around the world.
So what can you do with this book?
- Which bears are threatened or endangered species? Investigate why this is happening.
- What sort of habitat do the different bears live in? Are any of these habitats changing due to human action?
- Could any of these bears ever encounter each other?
- Plot on a map where the different bears are from – make it more detailed than the one in the story.
- Create your own non-fiction picture book that allows the reader to learn about something in a fun way. Aim to engage younger readers into more complex topics.
This book was the find of the year. My three year old son loves Whales and therefore had a great interest in Narwhals and then we saw the name of the narwhal: WENDELL!! Wendell rhymes with our surname – who would have thought?!?!
AND it is a fantastic book!
Wendall is a Narwhal who lives in the ocean with many other noisy sea creatures. As Wendell listens to the sounds the talented creatures make, the reader is able to experience the beauty of onomatopoeia.
Pop, Pop, Pop, Wubba, Wubba Wub, Tweeeeeedly Dee, Whoosh, Clap, clap Clap!
And then there is Narwhal who can’t make a sound….luckily he has friends who are kind and think of a way that he too can join in with the undersea orchestra!
Wendell the Narwhal is a great way to introduce musical sounds to your young reader and also bring awareness to the amazing creatures that live in our oceans.
The illustrations are cute and add depth to the onomatopoeia. Emily Dove’s illustrations really personify each sea creature as they play their sound and feel different emotions. .
We spent some time after reading the book looking at videos of Narwhals, clams and whales. Perhaps you can too!
So what can you do at home or in the classroom?
Conservation and sustainability.
- Research why Narwhal’s have tusks – you will be intrigued! Try to draw your own conclusions as it seems that scientists still haven’t worked it out.
- Where do all of these sea creatures live? Do they live side by side in reality?
- Are any of these creatures at risk due to human behaviour?
- Explore the onomatopoeia words and think of some more!
- Create your own piece of undersea music or even change the location to amongst the trees or sand dunes? Use words instead of instruments – just like the undersea orchestra in this story!
Soon by Timothy Knapman and Patrick Benson is a beautiful story that highlights the importance of parenting and how we can build our children’s trust and confidence if we lead by example, care for them and show them what confidence is. ⠀
Raju the elephant and his mummy go on an adventure through rivers, forests and mountains but Raju always wants to know when he is going home. ⠀
“When can we go home again?”
It is only when he returns home that he can reflect and see how important that journey was and how much fun he had. His mother not only looked after him when there were dangers but also showed him the world around him so that he may want to be a part of it himself. ⠀
Soon warms your heart with the mother’s love for her son and her want to show him the world. ⠀
The story is easy to read and easy to listen to. Your child can follow the repetitive nature of the questioning by Raju and the approach the mother takes with each difficulty they come across.
How does this link to parenting?
We can’t wrap our children in paper bags so
- allow them to see the world
- protect them from dangers but let them know what is out there so they become caring global citizens.
- read to your children so they become aware of global issues in a nicer way as opposed to finding out on the news.
- inspire them
- lead by example. Do what you want the world to be. Use less plastic, respect animals and love the outdoors. We need more people in this world who care about the future for everyone – not just the now.
Sustainability and conservation
- Elephants need our protecting due to deforestation and hunting. Check where your products come from to ensure they do not support this!
- Elephants have been used by humans for many different activities. Create a timeline to show the relationship -both negative and positive – between humans and elephants.
- Do conservation groups really help elephants? Investigate different conservation groups and how they use their money.
At the Zoo I See by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells and published by Magabala books is a vibrant board book for younger readers.
At the Zoo I See is a colourful parade of creatures found in zoos around the world including many wonderful Australian animals. As you turn each page your child will be delighted by the vibrant pictures of animals you can see at the zoo.
I loved the adjectives used in the short board book as it gave each animal more meaning to how they move about in their daily life. We loved discussing why the cassowary was queenly!
At the Zoo I see is another harmonious collaboration between Joshua Button, a descendent of the Walmajarri people and artist Robyn Wells who resides in the Kimberley area. Each animal is true to it’s colour in nature and is depicted as alive and alert. This board book is part of the Young Art Series which showcases the work of young indigenous artists.
Zoo’s are an important part of a natural world especially with the destruction of animal habitats every day all over the world. It is important that we make our children aware of the wonderful animals that their local zoo takes care of. Although zoos may seem cruel in that the animals are caged, without this many of the animals we see at the zoo would already be endangered or extinct.
Board Books are a wonderful way to start your child reading and At the Zoo I See connects creative sentences alongside colourful pictures to mesmerise young readers and allow them to learn more about animals and reading.
So how can you link this book to other activities?
- Talk about the animals in the book and perhaps explore theses animals further through research, other books and videos of the animals.
- Go to your local zoo and find out more about the work the people at the zoo do for the animals.
- Wombats, Quolls and Cassowaries are all Australian animals – find out where they live, how they live and how they are effected by feral animals and habitat destruction.
- Find other picture books that include animals
- After finding out more about each animal, try to think of other adjectives that could describe the animal.
- What other words start with the same sound as the animal? Have some fun with alliteration such as wobbly wombat, quokka on a quest and calm cassowary.
- For older readers work out which animal is first if put in alphabetical order.
- Ask your child – what do you think these animals are doing? Use the pictures on the pages to help answer these questions (look at the eyes, movement of animal and anything else in the drawing)
- Find out what the animal names are in your local indigenous dialect.
- What is the young art series and how is this helping young indigenous artists?
- How are different Australian animals important to different Indigenous groups of Australia? Which Australian animals live in your area?