Family Fun Connections: Move like an animal

I don’t know if it’s the changing weather, a bit of cabin fever, or both, but lately my household has been feeling a serious need to move! If that’s true for your family, try taking a few minutes to slither, hop, and run along to this “Move Like an Animal” song in the video below:

Then, to keep moving like an animal

  • Make and fly bird kites. Unlike kites that catch the wind, these fly best if you run while holding the string. It may take some trial and error – encourage your child to experiment with how they hold the kite, string length, and speed to see what works best. 
bird kite collage
bird kite collage
  • Measure and mark the distances listed below. How many steps, hops, or body lengths does it take to get from start to finish?
    • An American Bullfrog can jump 6 feet in one jump. A Snowshoe Hare can jump 12 feet!
    • A Bald Eagle’s wingspan can be 80 inches long.
    • A Humpback Whale can be 55 feet long. 
    • An Eastern White Pine tree can grow to be 150 feet tall. 
  • If you’re ready for a break after all that running and hopping, try being still and watching for movement. Practice softening your focus by holding your arms out to the side, wiggling your fingers, and trying to see both hands moving at the same time. Keep this soft focus as you scan the landscape and the movement of a bird in treetops, a squirrel on the ground, and yes, a rustling leaf, should quickly stand out. 

When you are INSIDE:

  • While you probably want to save exuberant movements like frog hopping for outside, trying to crabwalk across a room is a great indoor challenge. Or, try creating a trail of animal tracks for your child to follow. Felt tracks work well on carpet, and can be rearranged over and over to make new trails and track patterns. Masking or painter’s tape can be used on linoleum. 
felt animal tracks
felt animal tracks
  • A round of animal charades is always good for some laughs! Take turns acting out an animal of your choice and see if anyone can guess what you are. Choose a theme, like animals you saw on a recent walk, or animals that live in or near a pond, if it helps to limit the options. 
  • If you’re familiar with the Wildlife on the Move books, you already know that animals move in different ways and for different reasons. This time of year, female turtles may walk up to a mile, depending on the species, to find a suitable place to lay eggs. Watch this A Blanding’s Turtle Story storywalk video with author Melissa Kim, then imagine a turtle going on a journey to lay eggs in your neighborhood. Where would she go? Where could she easily dig a nest? What would she see or encounter along the way? Draw a “turtle map” that illustrates this journey. Read more about this activity, and download printable images to add to your map, in the free teaching guide (pdf) for A Blanding’s Turtle Story.