Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Critter Camp- Land Edition

The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum sent out a call to all kindergartners and first graders to come to the Bean Museum to participate in the first ever Critter Camp! Critter Camp is designed to teach kindergartners and first graders about the many different kinds of animals that live on our beautiful planet Earth. The camp is designed to focus on critters of the land, the water, and the air. On the first week of Critter Camp, we focused on animals of the land. Twenty children answered the museum's call and came to Critter Camp last week to learn about the variety we have in animals that live on the land regions of Earth through crafts, games, and activities.

The first activity the children were able to participate in involved understanding the different ways land animals eat. Land animals can eat their food in many different ways including pecking or scooping up food with a beak, sucking up food, scavenging and digging for food, and catching food with sticky, long tongues. The kids got to try out all of these different eating techniques with some fun games. Some activities included sucking up M&M"s with straws into a cup just like an elephant grabs food by sucking it up using its trunk, digging through paper bedding to find plastic insects like bears dig and scavenge for food, using sticky hands to catch paper insects like lizards snatch insects from the ground, and finally, the kids snatched chickpeas up with chopsticks like ostriches use their beaks to peck up food.

The second activity involved learning how land animals have special senses that help them navigate their environment, including sight, touch, smell, and sound. This activity included placing their hands inside of mystery boxes to feel different animal pelts, listening to different animal sounds, touching a live snake and seeing a live tarantula and learning how they smell, and looking at animal tracks to guess what land animals made them.

Lastly, the children learned how different land animals move. Some of the animals included hopping kangaroos, crawling lizards, stomping elephants, slithering snakes, waddling penguins, and running cheetahs. The kids were able to draw a fun land animal and practice the different ways that they moved. In the end, not only did the children go home with new and interesting information about land animals, they were also able to go home with prizes and their beautiful drawings and coloring pages.

On Thursday, the educators and children had the opportunity to put their learning to the test by heading up to Big Springs Trail in Provo Canyon, to scout out land animals. While there were no giraffes or lions stalking the forests of Utah, the children were able to see many insects and various invertebrates, as well as a few small land animals. They even got to see the rare yellow Labrador Retriever dog roaming around! Whenever a new animal was discovered, the kids were able to draw and label their findings. The campers explored the Big Springs trail, played some fun animal games, and even used their artistic skills to make some leaf rubbing art. What a day! After a short drive filled with fun songs, they finished off the day at BYU"s Museum of Paleontology to discover land animals that used to roam the Earth.

Success! The children and educators had such a fun time, and were able to learn from each other in the process. Everyone was able to go home with a new sense of wonder about all of the wonderful land animals we have. Thank you to everyone for such a wonderful week of camp! We are excited to see what is in store this week, as we prepare for round two of Critter Camp, which involves learning about water animals!

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