As I mentioned on Friday, I have started creating mini challenges for my kids. It’s a fun way to encourage creativity and critical thinking. The kids like the idea so much that they sometimes create their own challenges. Nine-year-old Emma came up with the creative challenge of this animal habitat activity. These little erasers are all the rage with my kids and their friends, so when Emma received this cute little panda eraser she decided that it needed home.
Animal Habitat Activity
Emma already knew quite a bit about pandas, and what she didn’t know she looked up on Wikipedia. Emma LOVES Wikipedia. She found this container in our recylables, and drew a bamboo forest. The second half of the container is the panda’s playground, complete with branches to climb on (really giant pipe cleaners) and water (symbolized by the blue puzzle piece and blue glass marbles. The entire activity was very much play-based, but there is a lot of learning to be had through play! In this particular case, a lot of the educational value was for Emma’s younger siblings who were helping and watching her create. They learned a few panda bear facts, and discussions about what should and should not end up in the panda’s house got them thinking about how panda’s lives compare to those of other animals. Here are a few fascinating panda facts that we found through this activity:
- Pandas spend most of their time eating bamboo, but they are still classified as carnivores because of their genetic make-up and the way their digestive system works.
- Newborn pandas are TINY! They are usually 6 or 7 inches long and weight between 3.5 and 7 ounces.
- Pandas have sharp claws that make them good climbers. Sometimes they even sleep in trees!
- Panda bears are introverts who spend most of their time alone.
Obviously, we still have a lot to learn. Here are four books that we picked up at the library:
National Geographic Readers: Pandas. This series can always be counted on for great photos and kid-friendly facts.
Amazing Animals: Pandas. This series is new to me, but this book and other titles by the same author get excellent reviews on Amazon and the photos are wonderful.
Giant Pandas. I also picked this book based on reviews. The author Mary Kolpin also has highly rated books out on polar bears, American black bears, and grizzly bears that would make a great comparative study.
If You Were a Panda Bear is a beautifully illustrated book of poems about panda bears and other kinds of bears.
Do you have a creative challenge that we should try next? How about books on pandas or other bears for us to read?