Zoology for Kids: Understanding and Working with Animals, with 21 Activities (For Kids series)

One of my favorite sources of books for our homeschool is Chicago Review Press, and so when I got the idea to write a Zoo guide, I checked their catalog first. An unsolicited commercial- all their For Kids books and the Hands-On History series are excellent sources for creating grade school homeschool courses. Check out their website if you are in the midst of your Summer planning. They have something for nearly every period of history.

 I recommend this book in the first unit as an excellent introduction to not only Zoology, but also to zoo careers, in the second part of the book, readers examine the various careers associated with animals including zookeepers and aquarists, veterinarians, researchers, and conservationists. You can use the activities within to supplement all the units in my guide. They have some fun and easy to implement activities including baking an animal cell out of cake mix, making a bird feeder out of a cardboard tube, interviewing a zoologist, and monitoring animal behavior in your own backyard.


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Summer At The Zoo- a Rabbit Trail Guide

You may have noticed I have a new page up this week for my rabbit trail guides. Right now there is only one and it is called Summer At The Zoo. 

 Have you heard about rabbit trails? Not quite a unit study, not quite for unschooling, not even close to classical education- Rabbit trails in discussions can be fun and exciting, but they usually interfere with resolving the topic at hand. Rabbit Trails in informal learning can lead anywhere.

My guides give you and your kids trails to head down, where you end up and how long you stay up to you. In other words, it is a family based unit study of animals and Zoology comprised of three parts: Zoo visits, library books, and internet research. This “guide” is intended to be mostly fun with a splash of learning. I do plan on publishing several “meatier” unit studies in the future so if you enjoy this share it and spread the word. This one is perfect for a family to use together during the Summer (or anytime) that you visit the zoo.

I write and recommend books for children who live on Earth. If that doesn’t apply to your family, please drop me a line cause I’d like to talk with you! That’s my roundabout way of saying it’s secular. There are nine units included in the guide. None are required, and all are full of fun zoo time alongside engaging books at home. 

 I've listed the chapters below and a brief excerpt because If we learned one thing from the 1980s cartoon G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, it’s that knowing is half the battle. The other half is the battle, and that’s less fun. Knowing is good, though. 

Introduction- page 2

Etymology/Classification/Zoo Life- page 4

The Mountain Stronghold- page 7

Mysterious Africa- page 9

Rainforest/Jungle- page 11

Drylands (desert/prairie)- page 12

Australia- page 14

Above and Below the Sea- page 15

Pets and Farm Animals- page 17

CryptoZoology- page 18

Additional Links/Resources-including printables- page 21




What’s the difference between Jungle and Rainforest?


A Jungle is a term people just use when sometimes they mean rainforest. A rainforest is an area that meets specific criteria. There are two types of rainforest biomes: temperate and tropical rainforests. Temperate rainforests are found along coasts in temperate regions. The largest temperate rainforests are on the Pacific coast of North America, stretching from Alaska to Oregon. Other temperate rainforests are found along the coast of Chile, the United Kingdom, Norway, Japan, New Zealand, and S. Australia. Tropical rainforests are found between 30°N and 30°S latitudes, covering 6 - 7% of the Earth’s land surface. Tropical rainforests can be found around the world: In Central and South America; in Western Africa, eastern Madagascar, and the Zaire basin; and in Indo-Malaysia along the west coast of India, Assam, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and Queensland, Australia. In this case, we are looking at Tropical rainforests and the unusual animals that live there.

These are some animals that would be fun to study:

Jaguar  Emerald Tree Boa  Clouded Leopard  Orangutan Fishing Cat  Prevost's Squirrel  Monarch Butterfly

Ideas to ponder:

What are some adaptations that these animals have needed to survive?

What can we do in our everyday lives to keep the rainforest intact?

After that, you'll get book suggestions divided by age from Pre-K to around 6th grade.