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Today is World Animal Day. To celebrate, why not encourage kids to think of the animals you care about, spend time with your pets, or maybe visit a zoo or a farm. You could take your art tools outside and capture a portrait of an animal, grab a photo, or write a description. As a follow-up, your kids might like to visitTalking Pet, where they can upload a photo of their pet, or select one from the site, and create a message for it to deliver.

Why not research and write about animal heroes - the cuddliest, fastest, cutest, smallest, or most amazing animal kids know. Have them explain their choice, or try and persuade somebody else their choice is correct.

Listen to Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals and decide on your favourite piece - mine is Le Cygne.

Share a Book! Ask your kids to look for a book about animals, at home or at the library. Don't forget the non-fiction section. Some of my favourite animal picture books include: Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson, Columbia Sneezes by Janeen Brian and Gabe Cunnett , Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek, Birdsong by Ellie Sandall, The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont and Raymond Briggs, Possum Magic by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas, any of the Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd, There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake by Hazel Edwards and Deborah Niland, By Jingo! an alphabet of animals by Janeen Brian and Dee Huxley, and Rhino Neil by Mini Goss.

Some outstanding picture books about Australian animals are Silly Galah by Janeen Brian and Cheryll Johns, Pobblebonks by Garry Fleming, By Jingo! an alphabet of animals, by Janeen Brian and Dee Huxley, Baby Bilby, where do you sleep by Narelle Oliver, Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, Wombat Divine by Mem Fox and Kerry Argent.

Here are some websites that would be perfect to visit on World Animal Day:

WhoPooped

Kids look at animal scat and try to work out who left it behind. It's great to get kids observing and thinking about what they see around them outside, and this site might nudge them in that direction. The title is also bound to nudge them into giggles.

Whose Poo

Denver Zoo's Whose Poo is another fascinating insight into insides and what comes out of them.

ARKive

What the Book Chook said: If your youngster loves animals, loves to learn about them and examine them closely, this website is the next best thing to real life. Information is clear and engaging, and is written by people who are qualified biologists. And the images are brilliant!

Creature Creator at Underland Chronicles

Create a creature online, or piggyback on the idea and invent your own mix and match animal by designing bodies, legs and heads on paper.

Here are some cute baby animals at WebEcoist. Great inspiration for a story or two.

Zooborns is such a gorgeous website. It has wonderful pictures of baby animals, and you can sort by animal name or zoo name. It also has a list of baby animal names, although I'm not sure how accurate they are - is a baby porcupine really a porcupette? This is a great place to browse and read with your kids, playing conversation games like "Find the cutest animal." or "For my next pet I want a..." The Book Chook is torn between a baby aardvark, a baby aye-aye called Smeagol, (take a look and you'll see why!) and a baby giraffe. But Mr Meanie Book Chook says "No." Hmph.

Canon Creative Park have some great paper crafts about animals.

If you're looking for an online game to play involving animals, I like the sound of this one, described on MakeUseOf.com recently. Web Earth Online is a multi player online game where you play as animals in an environmental web based world of nature. The basic game is free. I didn't have time to try it and there are no seven-year-olds in the house to explain it to me, but it certainly sounds like fun.

Here are some videos you might like to share with your kids to celebrate World Animal Day:
Viral Animal Videos from WebEcoist, Mashable's Funniest Dog Videos and Funniest Cat Videos.

If you live in the UK, check out BBC Animals.

I loved the sound of National Geographic's Wildlife Filmmaker which I read about at I Learn Technology, one of my favourite blogs. But I think it might only work for US people as the screen was blank for me. Kelly says, It "lets students make custom nature films complete with animal video clips, sounds, music, and text captions. The site is easy to use and films can be saved on the site or shared through email."

Finally, I hope you have time to watch
this clip about the intriguing relationship between an elephant and a dog.


What will YOU do to celebrate World Animal Day?

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Tags: animals, cbi, content_based_instruction, games, holidays, learning, literacy, reading, writing

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