Planning the OutingRegardless of the age of your children, you should do a little research prior to going to the zoo. For your convenience, almost every zoo has a website. If you cannot find the website, you should take the time to call your local zoo to ask important questions. Planning your zoo outing will help make the day more fun. You should review the following:
- Hours of operation
- Price of admission
- Exhibits of interest
- Picnic area availability
- Rules regarding food and beverages
- Guidelines for strollers or wagons
Tips for a Fun Adventure to the ZooAs a parent, grandparent or caregiver, you know the necessary essentials to bring to the zoo. Packing snacks, water, sunscreen, and hats are only a small portion of the needed supplies for a comfortable zoo trip. Remember smaller children may need extra diapers, wipes, bottles and a change of clothing to get through the zoo.
As you begin your day out the zoo, keep in mind to be patient. Allow your children the extra time to explore all of the senses. Do not forget to bring a camera. You will want to remember the experience.
Under a YearAt this stage in development, the trip to the zoo is more about the parents, caregivers, or grandparents. Many adults just want a day trip. Spending time with other mothers and fathers is a great way to build a lasting network. Enjoy the different sites and sounds of the zoo outing.
Toddlers and PreschoolersChildren who are two to four years old are curious about the world around them. Going to the zoo at this stage in development is a great way to introduce the animal world to children.
- Point out the different animals
- Use proper names
- Ask open-ended questions
- Allow your child to touch and feel within the guidelines of the zoo
- Visit the children’s area or petting zoo
- Remember to simply play - almost every zoo has an animal inspired play area
School AgeAt this stage of development, children thrive for more knowledge based on personal interests. A trip to the zoo provides a way to expand existing knowledge. Many zoos offer specific programs for children over the age of five. Enrolling your child in an hourly or day program is a perfect way to continue hands-on learning.
- Watch presentations about the animals
- Use guided tour options to allow your school-aged child to ask specific questions from a professional
- Ask and discuss the animals, habitats, and programs
Continue to build upon your child’s personal interests with books and other educational materials relating to the zoo. Encourage older children to write about the experience in a journal. Create a scrapbook for a lasting memento of your trip to the zoo.
In Montessori education, nature-based learning is incorporated into the daily curriculum. This includes teaching about animals, their traits, and their unique habitats. Contact us today at Day Star Montessori and see how using nature-based learning is beneficial for your child.