Here at the museum, we like to draw from the native cultures of Canada and emphasize the importance of respecting our environment. Kids learn how our actions can disturb the delicate balancing act of the natural world and the importance of protecting it. In the past few decades, scientists have observed a rapid loss of biodiversity, with extinction rates estimated to more than 1000 times the natural extinction rate. Through the activities we do during Endangered Animals Week at camp, we hope to instill awareness and a sense of empathy for the plight of the animals around the world.
Our trip across the globe starts in North America, the theme for Monday. We learn a lot of cool facts about polar bears, like how they slide on their belly to avoid breaking through thin ice (something there is a lot of with rapidly melting ice caps). The kids then get to make polar bear masks with cotton balls which are very fluffy and soft to touch! We also learn about bald eagles and make our very own. We do a scavenger hunt around the museum gallery where the campers get to identify and learn about other endangered animals of Canada. We finish off the last hour of camp when parents arrive by watching Ice Age!
On Tuesday we learn about the Amazon rainforest in South America. The campers get to make colourful leaping frogs and learn about indicator species. We also make rainforest dioramas that represent the different levels of the forest. Animal charades is another themed activity perfect for the museum theater. The campers get to have a lot of fun splashing around in the sun because Tuesday is also water day. The counselors also love to play trivia with the campers and it’s a great way to review the day.
Wednesday’s theme is endangered animals of Asia. After we learn about the animals we make paper bag tiger puppets. We also get to learn a lot about the adorable giant pandas of China. The campers also get to dig in the village site for artifacts that have been placed there just for them. Everyone gets to find something special and we have one of our archaeology interpreters explain where there artifact came from or what it was used for. We also get to play lots of outdoor games like capture the flag and dodge ball.
Thursdaywe go all the way down to Australia! We learn about the whales and make whale origami. We watch videos about the Great Barrier Reef and make our very own woolly sea anemones. Komodo dragon and paper bowl turtles are some other craft options. Campers get to hike through the forest and sail Popsicle stick rafts on the stream. During the hike they also have a scavenger hunt to identify different plant and animals in the forest.
Friday is Safari Quest day which both counsellors and campers agree is the most fun day of the week. The counsellors all dress up as their favourite endangered animal and set up activities throughout the museum. Campers have to find the cheetah’s spots, the turtle’s eggs the bald eagle’s wigs. They have to traverse all the traps set up by the poachers (obstacle course) to get the rhino’s food and feed the panda. Friday’s main theme is Africa so we make gorilla masks and elephant ears. And that wraps up our wonderful, fun filled educational endangered animals week!