We have been discussing ways to make going to the zoo with the kids this summer a learning experience.
First, we recommended reading books about the zoo and a corresponding art project. Next, we suggest visiting the zoo web site and print out maps of the zoo to encourage map learning skills. Don't forget to play plenty of zoo related games before your trip, play with zoobies, and make a Zoo Book that includes coloring pages and zoo checklists to take along to the zoo.
While at the zoo use the Zoo Book you made to have a zoo scavenger hunt. Have the kids find each of the following and write it down: a warm-blooded animal, a cold-blooded animal, a bird, a reptile, a mammal, an insect, and animal that walk on two legs, an animal that walk on four legs, an animal with no legs, an herbivore, and so on. Add your own categories depending on the age of the child. For little children that cannot read click here for a zoo scavenger hunt of drawings of animals.
Another tip is to see if you can find feeding times for the animals, then make a list in order of earliest to latest (this also helps reinforce the concept of telling time). Some zoos even allow you to make advance reservations for a personal tour with a knowledgeable staff member.
Tomorrow: continue to use your Zoo Book and other activities after you get home from the zoo.