Over the last month or two, I have seen other home educating families sharing some of the things that they have been doing to earn the WWF youth badges. It has been on my list of things to do with the children for a while now, but we had been busy with various other projects.
Happily, I spotted a gap in our projects and, today, we have some friends coming around to our house to share with us what they’ve been learning about endangered animals. I think this is a great way for children to learn more about conservation, as well as create a project. I have left this up to Daniel and Emma to lead, to let me know what they want to write about and it has been interesting to watch.
We have, of course, been using lots of books to learn more about their chosen animals – Orangutan for Daniel and Polar bear for Emma and they’ve been a great source of inspiration for them. The main ones that we have used have been:
- 100 Facts about Monkeys & Apes
- 10 reasons to Love a Bear
- How to help a hedgehog and protect a polar bear
We really love the 100 Facts series from Miles Kelly and the monkeys one is well used here. It’s all presented in a really easy way for the children, and the facts are enough for Daniel to read and process at the moment. The pictures are engaging and he is starting to be able to use the index to find out about the specific type of monkey he wants to learn about.
10 reasons to love a bear is part of the wonderful 10 Reasons series from Catherine Barr. There are (I think!) six in this series now and we have really enjoyed them all. The bear one has a section on polar bears and this was great for Em as she liked looking at the richly illustrated pictures as we read the pages together.
Another that we have used is a newish one from Nosy Crow – how to help a hedgehog and protect a polar bear is a fantastic book and has all sorts of useful ways that we can all make a small difference to the planet and its wildlife.
The children have produced some work which provides information about what the polar bear and orangutans are endangered, and what we can do to help save them. Today they’ll present this to their friends and then from that they gain their badge. I am hoping it will be a little foray into a form of public speaking for them and will help build their confidence in this area.
We are excited to see how everyone has approached their projects and from this Daniel will be moving into another project that I think will be the last one for the year. I have for a while now wanted to get them thinking about notable people. Emma wants to learn about Ada Lovelace (I’ve no idea why!) and Daniel asked me to choose someone for him. So, as I was browsing the Little People, Big Dreams books and spotted one about Jane Goodall. I hope to eventually link back to a comparison on chimpanzees and orangutans when Daniel has completed his study and bring it all together.
Learning about conservation is always an engaging topic for children – they’re endlessly fascinated with animals and it’s a good message to teach them to be kind to the earth and its inhabitants. There are plenty of fantastic books out there that act as real inspiration for learning more and below I have listed a few more that you might find useful
- A Prayer for the Animals – a really beautiful book which asks that all the animals be at peace. This is a great bedtime book
- The Mibo Board books – these are a great first introduction for younger children about different habitats and animals and I used these with Harry whilst the older two were doing some of their drawings
- The Mud Monster – this is a great picture book that very cleverly demonstrates the idea that all living things need their own places to live. I liked reading this a lot with the three of them as it also includes details about animals and conservation as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable book to read.
- Coral Kingdom – a fabulous book that focuses on the underwater world but has a very important message within. We haven’t used this a great deal yet as we haven’t focussed too heavily on the oceans but it’s great if you’re looking at ocean animals
- Where in the Wild – another great book for younger children which is boldly illustrated with an important message
- The Brilliant Deep is an absolutely fantastic book and one that had Daniel really intrigued. It tells the story of the need to look after the oceans, and how research how demonstrated the possibility of rebuilding the coral reefs. A fascinating book to read.