Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Animal Camp

In June I got to do something really fun and cool. I held an "Animal Camp" at our house. I think the easiest way to explain it will be to show you the poster I made to share in local facebook groups (with some sensitive info edited out, haha):
I was originally planning to hold it for just two sessions the one week, but because of how much interest there was I opened up a third session for the next week, too.

It was so fun.

For weeks beforehand, I was getting ready. I kept thinking of different ways to teach each of the classes, and what live animals we could have, and what pictures to show and information to teach and crafts to do. Just planning the whole thing was fun.

Ellie planned right alongside with me. She seemed to be under the impression (both before and during animal camp) that she was my co-teacher. She'd sit there with her notebook and copy information out of all the different animal books we checked out from the library.


And one day I found her in the backyard with one of the bird guides and the binoculars:


The girls and I also practiced catching lizards, as we'd need some for our reptile day. The best place I knew of to catch lizards was at a church building close to us, because the lizards liked to sun on the brick walls and hide under the rain gutters. So we went there a couple times lizard-hunting.


The two weeks that Animal Camp was going were both exhausting and super fun. The first week I had a morning session and an afternoon session, which meant that I would wake up, get everything ready for the first session, have the first class, have lunch and get everything ready for the second session, have the second class, then clean the house and get ready for the next day and have a tiny break. The second week was much easier, since I just had the one morning class.

But even though it was exhausting, I loved it! It was so fun to have all the kids over and be able to teach them about animals. They were so enthusiastic and cute and fun and smart and it was just a blast. I plan to do every summer. Teaching kids about nature and science is my dream job, and this is a way that I can already do it at this stage of my life when my kids are little.

One of the days (after we learned about animal coloration) we all used chalk to draw animals outside. This is Ellie's monarch butterfly:


The week after Animal Camp, Home Depot's free workshop for kids (they have it the first Saturday of every month) was making "bug houses." Jason took Ellie and Zelda and they made some (which have had a lot of use since then).


Another cool event that happened at the same time as animal camp was at our local library. As part of the summer reading program, the Houston group of the Texas Master Naturalists (which I'd like to be part of one day) brought some snakes, turtles, and alligators for the kids to touch and learn about.

Ellie brought her stuffed animal snake (Dotty Hiss) to the library to check out the real snakes with her:


They had a couple alligators, a couple babies and a juvenile. This was the biggest one (which was six years old, I think they said):


And the turtles. The girls played with the turtles the longest:


Being able to focus on animals so much in June was awesome!

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