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August 27, 2014, 8:59 am

Introducing kids to the animal kingdom

A new world, not far away, awaits


Introducing children to wildlife can be a great way to get them interested in science, discovery and nature. While many kids may be intimidated by the periodic table and microscopes, most are inherently fond of all animals, from baby penguins to exotic cheetahs. Fortunately, there are fun and affordable ways to get kids engaged with nature and wildlife, learning valuable lessons along the way.


How to Make Wildlife Interesting

Do Some Research: Take children on a virtual safari using reliable sources found on the Internet. A wide range of information and pictures on just about every known reptile, amphibian, mammal and more can be found with the click of a mouse. Once children have narrowed down the basic facts about their favorite animals, take a trip to the library and give them a challenge — find one fact about an unknown animal. This not only exposes children to exciting new information, it also gives them a chance to learn about valuable research tools.


Have a “Wild” Experience: Once children have learned more about the animal kingdom, it’s time to reward them with real one-on-one animal time. Zoos and wildlife preserves offer the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with creatures — large or small — that kids have seen through pictures. While there, kids can meet animal specialists who are usually on hand to provide children with the information and fun stories that come from working with animals on a day-to-day basis.


Bring the Lessons to the Living Room: A family movie can be a great way to wrap up an exploration of the animal kingdom. The toe-tapping family blockbuster “Happy Feet Two,” available now from Warner Bros. on Blu-ray disc and DVD, is an excellent resource that animal lovers of all ages can enjoy. In the sequel to the Academy Award-winning “Happy Feet,” Mumble’s son Erik lacks the dancing talent of all the other penguins. Erik runs away to avoid dancing, only to have his world shaken by powerful forces. Erik and his father must bring together the penguin nations and all manners of fabulous creatures — from tiny krill to giant elephant seals — to make things right.


“Happy Feet Two” showcases the beauty of the natural world and the fragility of the environment that sustains it. With an all-star cast, including Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, it’s an exciting family film kids will learn from and love. — (NAPSI)