Kids Nature Shows Teachers Guide to the Animal Kindness Show
Animal Kindness Show Description:
The Animal Kindness Show is an educational animal puppet show exploring various ways we can be kind to, and safe around, pets and wildlife. Audiences will be encouraged to think about how they can include more kindness towards others (both humans and animals) in their lives.
Animal Puppets You Might Meet in the Animal Kindness Show:
Mac the Puppy
Cheese the Kitty Cat
Flitter the Butterfly and Buzzy the Bumblebee
Bob the Snake
Honu the Sea Turtle
Potomac the Bald Eagle
Animal Kindness Show Overview
Kindness for Pets
Do you have a pet or pets? Pets offer a great way for children to learn empathy and kindness towards other creatures and people too. You need to feed your pet and give it clean water every day. Dogs and cats also need affection and attention everyday. Snuggle with your kitty, take your dog for a walk, groom them, and give them tons of love.
It is also important to be safe around pets. Here are 4 ways to stay safe around dogs and cats:
- Ask permission from an adult owner before petting or interacting with another person’s dog (or cat.) Although many dogs love interacting with new people, some dogs can be skittish and snappy around strangers. Never pet a strange dog (or cat) without an adult owner saying it is OK.
- When meeting a dog, don’t corner it, stare into its eyes, put your face near its face, or try to pet them if they are eating, sleeping. or with their puppies. Also, dogs on leashes, chains, or inside fences or cars may be feeling more protective or vulnerable and thus more likely to feel the need to defend themselves by biting.
- “Listen” to a dog’s behavior. Dogs will let you know when they don’t want to be petted or played with by avoiding you, growling, or snapping.
- Don’t chase, tease, or harass any animal. Just like you would get upset if this happened to you, animals get upset too! And since animals can’t use words to speak, they may tell you they are upset by biting. Treat all animals with kindness when you interact with them.
Kindness for Pollinators
A pollinator is an animal that helps bring about fertilization for plants by moving pollen from male flower parts (anthers) to female flower parts (stigmas.) Animal pollinators include many insects, bats, birds, and some reptiles. Much of the food we eat requires pollination: apples, oranges, and other tree fruits; berries; most tropical fruits including bananas and mangos; CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE!!; all kinds of vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and so many other products we rely on.
How can you help pollinators?
- Fill your yard with native plants and trees. Native plants are species that are originally from the area you live in and are not imported from other places. Pollinators need native plant species in order to survive because these are the species they are made for. Most caterpillars are adapted to eat just a few (or sometimes only 1) type of plant or tree leaf. By planting native plants, you will provide food for baby butterflies and moths. Native bees also require the nutrients in certain species of native flowers in order to survive. By planting native plants and trees, you are directly helping the pollinators in your neighborhood.
- Avoid using pesticides. Pesticides used to kill insects in your garden will also kill bees, butterflies, and other important insects. Herbicides (used to kill “weeds”) can also kill native plants that pollinators need as a food source.
- Spread the word to your friends and neighbors about how important it is for us to help pollinators.
Kindness for Snakes and Other Wildlife
Snakes are a normal, natural, and healthy part of our environment. Although some snakes are venomous (have fangs and poison,) all snakes are fearful of people. If you encounter a snake, it is easy to stay safe by just leaving all snakes alone. Snakes will not chase people and only bite humans in self-defense. By simply leaving any snake you see alone, you will stay safe from that snake. And the mantra “just leave it alone” applies to all wild creatures. The kindest and safest policy when encountering any wildlife is JUST LEAVE IT ALONE.
5 Ways a Snake is Just Like You
- Snakes can feel hunger, pain, and even fear just like you.
- Snakes are vertebrate animals – just like you they have a backbone, skull, and ribs made of bone.
- Snakes have internal organs (heart, lung(s), liver, kidneys, etc…) just like you.
- Snakes have dry scales made of a protein called keratin covering their body. Your hair and fingernails are made of the same protein – keratin. So just like you are not slimy, snakes are not slimy either!
- Snakes just want to live their own lives comfortably and not be hurt or harassed – just like you.
Kindness for Sea Turtles and Other Wildlife
Did you know you can help sea turtles, even if you do not live near an ocean? You can save the life of sea turtles and other animals every single day by doing a simple and easy act: put all trash in a secure trash can. Litter is very dangerous to wild animals. Six pack rings, cans, and bottles can get trapped around the neck of an animal and cause serious injuries or even death. Plastic bags can get washed from our neighborhood all the way to the ocean and smother or suffocate sea creatures. Another danger with plastic bags floating in the water is that they can resemble a jellyfish – and sea turtles love to eat jellyfish! Sea turtles that mistakenly eat plastic bags cannot survive.
How to help save wild animals from being hurt by litter:
- Place all litter in the proper place: a secure trash can.
- Snip open any plastic six pack rings before you throw them away.
- With the help of a grown up, pick up litter from the neighborhood, park, or anywhere you see litter where it does not belong.
A Kindness Success Story – The Bald Eagle
The success story of how bald eagles went from being nearly extinct – gone forever – to having thriving wild populations throughout North America is an example of how humans being kind to wildlife makes a huge difference.
In the early 1900s, many eagles were killed by people to make hats with eagle feathers and by people who fished for a living and were shooting eagles for eating fish. In the 1940’s, a new pesticide called DDT used to kill insects on crops started to be used by farmers. Even though DDT helped farmers grow crops, the DDT got into eagle bodies and caused the eggs they laid to have shells that were so thin that they broke. So the combination of people hunting eagles and DDT damaging eagle eggs caused bald eagle numbers to down to less than 450 pairs in the 1960s.
After people realized the eagles were in danger of disappearing, they decided to act in kindness. In 1972, people got together and passed an important law called the Endangered Species Act. This Act protected bald eagles and all kinds of other endangered wild animals. People were not allowed to hunt eagles anymore. And at the same time, DDT was banned! People worked together to protect bald eagles and by 2017 it was estimated that over 6,300 pairs of bald eagles were living in North America! Wow – what a happy story of kindness towards wildlife!
Kids Activity Ideas to Inspire Kindness
Animal Kindness Posters
Create posters promoting kindness for animals. Posters might feature messages such as:
- Be an Animal Hero – Don’t Litter!
- Bee Kind – Plant Native
- Leave Wildlife Alone
Host an art show featuring all the posters and invite other classes in your school, or family, friends and neighbors to your home art gallery.
Caring for a pet helps children learn about empathy and kindness. Young children can assist grown ups with daily pet care, and as they get older, can take on more responsibility.
Whether you have pets or not, stuffed animals can be used as pretend pets. Children can care for their “pets” by brushing them, pretending to feed them, taking them for “walks,” and of course snuggling and loving them. Children can also pretend to be a veterinarian and care for their stuffed animal if it gets “sick.”
Plant a native plant garden or pot
Spring is a great time to plant a native pot or garden. You can find out what plants are native to your area at https://www.nwf.org/nativePlantFinder/plants
Pick up litter
A great class or family activity is doing litter pick up. An adult should supervise children to be sure they stay safe and don’t touch anything that could be dangerous. A trash picker tool should be used along with gloves when removing garbage. You can also partner with community organizations. Groups experienced in conducting cleanups may be helpful organizing partners. Try to engage local environmental and conservation groups in your community cleanup.
Can you think more ways to promote kindness towards animals and people? If so, let me know by leaving a comment below or by emailing me at [email protected]