Media Monday: Fun Ways to Learn More About Animals

As National Geographic Kids‘ Funniest Pet Contest comes to a close (enter your pet by July 31!), my mind is on animals! It’s fun to have a pet, but what if you don’t have one? Or what about if you’re interested in learning about animals that you can’t keep as pets or animals that live far away from you?

Photograph courtesy NOAA

It’s really fun to learn about animals. They are so different from us, and so different from each other. I may have the *cutest* cat on the planet, but I actually really love to learn about turtles. The way that they can live on land and in the water – and live practically forever – is super interesting.  And when I visit the National Zoo, my favorite animal to check out is the prairie dog because they are so cute and pop their heads up out of the sand for just a second to say hello! Just because you love one furry animal (or one with a shell!) doesn’t mean that that’s all there is—there are plenty of animals to discover!

Kick off this week by selecting an animal to study with your child. First, have your child draw a picture of the animal.  Next, find a photo of the animal on the National Geographic Education website. (You can a view collections about various animals by doing a search and filtering by photos. For example, you can view these collections about turtles and cats.) What features did your child draw that match the photo? What features do you notice now that you didn’t notice before? If you’d like to keep coloring, check out our coloring pages to find an illustration of the animal.

You can continue the fun by thinking about what the animal might look like if it were to take a selfie! Check out some animal selfies here!

Now it’s time to do some recon! Where does your animal live? Map the animal’s habitat by using our MapMaker Interactive. What does the animal eat? Could you make a meal for humans out of the food? If you can, give it a try!

Finally, think about how your animal moves. Does it swim? Does it walk on all fours? Does it do both of those things? Sometimes it’s fun to think about why an animal moves the way that it does – and why it travels anywhere at all.  If your animal migrates, see if they are included in our Tracking Animal Migration GeoStory and learn about where they go.

I hope that you explore our website this week with your kids to find information about their favorite animals – whether it’s to learn more about their own pets or to learn more about animals in the wild. Leave a comment and let us know what you learn!

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