Summer Fun: Zoo!

This weekend our little family took a trip to the zoo in Grand Rapids, John Ball Zoo
An awesome zoo for all ages! If you live close you should defiantly check it out! I loved how there were lots of shaded areas and amazing animals! 

My daughter adores her daddy! So fun to see!

The zoo is such a fun place to visit and lends itself to great learning opportunity at every turn! We went with a group of kids (two around 13-15 months, 23 month old and an 8 year old) and there were learning opportunities for all ages!  I love being able to embed learning into everything we do (and when the kids don't know they are learning, it's even better!) 

Sweet Michael, the 8 year old, was in charge or reading the map to get us to where we needed to go. He really wanted to ride the camels (which he did) and he needed to figure out how to get us there!  One of his goals was to see every animal in the zoo and he was in charge of making sure that happened!

Animals lend learning opportunities at every step, or cage for that matter! We are focusing on language with our little one and we talked about the sound that the animals made, practiced repeating the name of the animal, talked about the size (big/little), pointed to where the animals were, and so much more. With your older kids you can talk about where they live, what they might eat, what they do with the animals in the winter, etc.

Having a petting zoo also lends itself nicely to language skills such as learning about how an animal feels (soft, hard, smooth, rough). My daughter didn't want to touch them (I don't blame her, they are dirty!) and so while we were touching them we would tell her the name of the animal, the sound they make and how they felt. 

Most importantly don't forget to have fun and enjoy your family! They grow up so fast! 

What are some fun things your family has done this summer?!!

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