We finished up our second theme with Cloverbuds today.
We began our Pet unit two weeks ago with a field trip to a local Petco. None of the pet stores in our area do guided tours anymore but Petco provides materials on their website for self-guided and virtual field trips.
As we looked at the various animals I emphasized what would make an animal a good pet versus a bad pet and why some may be good pets but not right for a given family. Some examples would be the space needed for large dogs or large reptiles (iguanas can be 6 feet nose to tip of the tail when full grown), the longevity of an animal (some parrots and reptiles can live 50 years or longer) and being able to provide the proper food (live crickets or mice for some reptiles) and atmosphere (heat lamps needed for many fish, reptiles and amphibians). It was a good tour. The hamsters were running on their wheels, the ferrets were awake and curious, the birds were chirping. This particular store had mostly canaries and parakeets but did have some cockatiels as well.
One of the employees took out a ball python for the kids to get a closer look.
The kids all loved the tropical fish and were surprised that you could have a shark in a fish tank.
Today we held the business portion of our meeting. As always we started with the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-H Pledge (which I still don’t know and really need to memorize). At our last meeting I felt like some of the kids were disappointed that they weren’t picked for their turn quickly enough so I decided to stop the raising hands for turns. I put each kids name on a popsicle stick and put them in an opaque cup. I picked the first kid, then each kid picked the next one as they finished up their turn.
The kids were all asked to bring in a stuffed animal that would represent a good pet and be prepared to tell the group about it and why it made a good pet. Alternatively, they could bring in an animal that would make a bad pet and tell why. We had a mix of good and bad pets but the kids were very good about telling the group the proper information. We definitely have some kids who LOVE speaking in front of a group and some that are more hesitant but everyone did a great job.
After the kids did their presentations we talked a little bit more about whether certain animals would make good pets or not. We discussed a few unusual situations – like that pet turtles in NJ need a permit and cannot be wild caught.
The first of our active games was Rover Says. We played it just like Simon Says but all the activities were things animals would do like roll over, beg like a dog, purr like a cat, hop like a bunny, slither like a snake, jump like a frog, climb like a lizard, etc. The kids were really good at this and it took me a few tries to catch them.
We then played freeze dance but using animal movements. Some chose to dance with their stuffed animals, or make them dance. I used my I-Touch with animal themed songs on it like Walk the Dinosaur, Diggity Dog, Itsy Bitsy Spider (a very peppy upbeat version), Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, Ladybug Picnic, Scooby Doo (a hip-hop version of the theme song), and Purple People Eater (I know, not exactly a pet).
After the kids had the chance to work out the wiggles, we set up for our crafts. They had the choice to make a paper bag puppet or a paper plate mask of a pet. Or both. We had some wonderful pets made.
A few of the boys weren’t interested in anything termed a “craft” so I may need to think of some alternative activities for future meetings. Many of the girls, on the other hand, made multiple and varied projects.
We meet in the library so there is some limitation to what we can do for crafts. No paint, no loose glitter, nothing that will cause a major mess. Fifteen kids can make a pretty good mess anyway but the materials we use have to be easy to just pick up, nothing that needs to be scrubbed out of the floor. The worst I had to deal with this time was loose feathers and a couple of blobs of glue on the tables.
In two weeks we will be taking a field trip to the Bug Museum of New Jersey for our Creepy Crawly unit.