Thursday, April 28, 2011

learning about animals

We're planning a trip to Alaska this summer and as part of the preparation, I'm gathering reading materials for the kids to learn about some of the things we'll see there. Since Finn can handle only so much reading about Alaska, I thought of a different way to familiarize him with some of the things he'll see there. I spied this North American Animals Tube online and thought it might make the perfect work for Finn to learn the animals of North America, many of which we'll see in Alaska. I'm not one to typically buy plastic toys, but the educational merit of these animals seemed worth the free pass (and they are BPA- and phthalate-free). They certainly lack the beauty and grace of our treasured wooden animals though.

Finn was so excited to see the tiny little animals appear in the wool bowl on his shelf. He immediately rolled out his mat and asked to be presented to his animal work. I helped him line up the cards, which I made to match the animals from the tube, and he worked on matching each animal with it's card.

He initially thought the beaver was a hedgehog, which I thought was so cute. And kind of funny that an American kid would be more familiar with a hedgehog than a beaver.

He also thought the raccoon was a lemur, although he couldn't remember the name. A new exhibit at our local zoo opened last year with ring-tailed lemurs, and apparently they made more of an impression than any raccoons he's heard about.

When he finished matching each animal to the card, he asked if we could get more animals like this one day. I think we just might. Maybe an aquatic tube would be fitting before a trip to the beach...

He spent a long time playing with his new work, or the animals, at least.

Whoooo! says the owl.

**You can find a copy of the cards I made here and here if you'd like to print a set to match with your own animals. But please don't sell them, and please don't post them on your own site without crediting me. Thanks!


  1. I think it is wonderful how you are teaching Finn about these animals, how lovely to be going to Alaska, that is defintely a place that I would love to visit one day.

  2. I love it! I bought a Galapagos tube long ago that I have tucked away for when we are on our way there :)
    These make great bath toys too :)

  3. i love this idea!!! those tubes are fun. your trip sounds wonderful!!!

  4. I love this! We might be getting those soon, too! :)

  5. we've been doing a lot of animal learning around here as well. off to learn more about sheep today!

  6. This is fantastic and something I know would be a hit over here. I had no idea you were going to Alaska! How exciting!!

  7. Thank you so much for this! I've been looking all over the internet for little non cartoon animals with matching cards. Are you homeschooling Montessori?


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