The number of children who experience nature each day has decreased dramatically over the past few decades. That’s why we encourage you step away from TVs, computers, and video games and step outside to make time for nature! Each month we’ll be publishing a Nature Play Calendar to give you ideas of how to explore the great outdoors as a family.
Playing in nature is scientifically proven to:
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All animals have different kinds of body covering. Some have fur while others have feathers. Here's a simple activity sheet for our younger learners. They'll need to think about each animal, observe its coverings, and determine which category the animal belongs in; slimy, furry, feathery, or scaly!
Print a coloring sheet and gather your favorite colored pencils, crayons, or markers. It's time to bring your favorite pre-historic creatures to life!
Counting and matching exercises shouldn't be a dino-bore!
Especially if you can do them all with dinosaurs 🦖🦕
Let's get sprainting!
"Sprainting" is the Giant otters' version of finger painting.
Giant otter families all use the bathroom in the same location on land. This location is called a latrine, and otter droppings are called spraint. Otters will finger paint with their spraint, mixing it in with the rest of their family group! They do this to spread their scent and mark their territory.
These Early Childhood Activity Pages are full of fun, in the sun! Trace the sun's ray, choose which animals are diurnal (active during the day) vs. nocturnal (active during the night), and help a reptile through a maze to find heat provided by the sun.
Check out this Ice and Sun Painting activity. All you need is ice, paint, paint brushes, and a sunny day! Your kids will love to make art masterpieces with ice-cube paints.
Paint your favorite animal on a rock and share it us!
Publicly post a photo of your rock on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using the hashtags #JaxZooRocks and #BringingTheZooToYou by April 14 to be entered to win 4 General Admission tickets or 4 Guest Passes for when we reopen.
Get moving! Get wild!
Mix things up and imitate your favorite animals, with this Wild Wiggle Jar activity.
It's turtle craft time! 🐢
Using a wine cork, create turtle-y awesome art fit for your fridge, greeting card, or wrapping paper.
Cutting practice just got a little more interesting!
Go back in time and practice your scissor skills with dinosaurs 🦖🦕
Fun for the whole family!
Using ingredients found in your kitchen cabinet, create dissolving dinosaur eggs with hidden surprises inside. It's a fun variation on a baking soda and vinegar reaction, that will truly engage any preschooler!
A fun, easy, budget-friendly, outdoor activity!
All you'll need to make a shadow drawing is a toy, drawing utensil, paper, and the sun. Try this activity at different times of day to see how stretched out some of the toy shadows will be on your paper.
Download the Bingo Card and let your young explorers use their observation skills to check off all the items they can find outside! Enjoy a walk outside... and don't forget to yell "NATURE" when you find all the objects in one row.
In need of a laugh AND something sweet? Check out a member favorite from our Spring 2019 Wild Magazine, Poopy Cookies!
What's Wild Magazine? It's one of the many perks our Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Members receive with their annual membership.
How hard will a plant work to find light? Find out in this investigation!
Plants need food to live and grow. But instead of finding food to eat, plants use water, sunlight, and air to make their own.
Some of our local bee species make their homes in small wooden holes instead of hives. Help our local pollinators and create a bee hotel for your backyard!
And don't forget to check out the Bee House in Range of the Jaguar, designed by Lad and Mindy Hawkins, to allure native solitary bees to our Gardens by providing natural nesting cavities.
These seed cakes bring all the birds to the yard. 🐦
With this activity, we invite you to make your own Bird Seed Cakes.
Hang them up outside, enjoy bird watching, and take note of which birds come to visit!
Scientists use fossils to piece together stories of how ancient plants and animals lived. With these activities, you will find instructions for your own fossil investigations!
The Name Game activity might be a little challenging... See if you can name an animal for each category, beginning with a different letter. Good luck and have fun!
This one may get a little messy, but your pets will love it!
Learn how to make your furry friend their own piñata, full of their favorite treats.
Can you plant a bean upside down? Find out with our Rooting Roots investigation!
All you need is a glass jar, dried beans (Lima beans work well), paper towels, and water. After a few days, you'll observe geotropism. That's the growth of plants based off the pull of gravity.
There are over 10,000 different species of ants in the world! While many people think ants are a nuisance, they actually have an important niche in many ecosystems.
🐜 🐜 🐜 🐜 🐜🐜🐜
In our Ant Lab experiment, you'll investigate the ants in your own backyard to determine what they prefer to eat.
Try this activity at different times of day and days of the week to see if there are any differences in local birds' behavior!
BONUS: Use an app like Merlin Bird ID to assist with recording data and bird identification.
Before any seed can sprout, it must go through a process called germination! Since seeds come in all different shapes and sizes, they germinate differently. The amount of water and sunlight received can also effect the germination process. In this lab activity you'll investigate three different germination techniques and see which one works best!
Which pollinators are visiting the flowering plants in your yard? It's time to find out, with our Pollinator Monitoring Project!
Florida is home to roughly 325 species of native wild bees 🐝 and over 160 species of butterflies 🦋!
We need your help to classify an unusual animal that's been spotted in the Pleistocene epoch in Dinosauria. We think it keeps slipping through the time machine!
Wildlife and nature aren't only found outside. They can be found in the pages of your favorite books! Fill in this book log and share what animals and plants you're reading about.
Scientists need your help documenting the incredible recovery of Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa.
Join them in identifying Gorongosa’s animals in trail camera photos and become part of their conservation team!