Guest post by Lauren Palmer
As we reach the end of our third week of YouTube workouts and COVID-19 memes, some of us are in need of a few uplifting distractions. We have looked far and wide for the best animal themed, isolation safe activities you can do with your kids, partners or selves. Let us know if you have any to add to the list!
1) Visit virtual animal interactions
Pay a trip to the zoo without the queues and ticket fees. Thanks to Zoos Victoria you can enjoy livestreams of their animals on their website or social media channels. You can also tune in to Taronga TV for daily keeper talks, shows and animal feeding.
Looking for something a little more soothing? Immerse yourself in underwater worlds across the globe with Explore.org’s curation of the most beautiful live cams and videos. Visit their website to get up close with sharks, dolphins, seals, jellyfish and more.
And if adorable, rescued farm animals are more your thing, you can gain insight into life as a resident at Edgar’s Mission from the comfort of your sofa.
2) Go on a nature hunt
A nature themed treasure hunt has the potential to provide hours of entertainment. With just a little effort you can occupy the family in your garden or on your daily walk, and the good news is there are numerous resources readily available online. For example this cute, printable sheet created by The Festive Co is an easy to follow nature hunt. Childhood 101 also has a great list for scavenger hunts which encourages using the five senses. And if you want more ideas, Twin Dragonfly has enough to keep you busy for many weeks.
3) Check out the animal influencers
If you need some new Instagram inspiration, here are our top picks to follow for some light hearted fun.
@natgeo for breathtaking animal and nature photography
@dive_down_under to escape to the Great Barrier Reef
@aww.dorable for a cuteness overload
@squidthegriff check out what one of the the most influential dogs of Instagram has been up to
@nswnationalparks to remember the beauty of our wildlife and nature in Australia
4) Get crafty
Rock painting – find different sized rocks and stones in your garden or out on your walk, get your paints out and get creative turning them into insects and other creatures. Decorate your garden with your new rock ornaments or even create a rock treasure hunt game.
Mobile making – on your nature hunt collect twigs, leaves, flowers and feathers. Using cotton and twine you can thread your pieces together, creating beautiful and unique mobiles to hang from trees or on a wall in the garden.
Decorate biscuits – bake your own biscuits or buy some from the supermarket along with writing icing. Turn the biscuits into bears, bugs and anything else you like and then enjoy eating them.
Modelling clay imaginative play – using Play Doh or an alternative, create your own barn yard or zoo scenes and make up stories to go along with them.
Animal cards – take some paper, draw and colour matching pictures of a selection of animals, about ten is ideal. Cut the pictures up, shuffle and play snap or a memory matching game.
5) Create a nature reserve in your garden or balcony
Cultivate native plants – suggestions include mini eucalyptus trees, lemon scented myrtle and lilly pillies as well as nectar rich plants such as lavender, bottle brush and native rosemary. These will attract bees, butterflies, birds, lizards and possums as well as providing them with shelter from predators.
Provide fresh water – bird baths, fountains and ponds will give local wildlife access to water when they need it. Make sure to keep water sources cleaned and topped up regularly.
Build a nest box – this will provide shelter for birds when they can’t find suitable tree hollows. Backyard Buddies has some great tips on how to build and maintain nest boxes.
Create a rock garden – lizards love rocks and stones to keep shaded and protect themselves from predators. Find a protected corner of your garden and get creative turning it into a reptile haven.
There are thousands of ideas, activities and resources online to inspire you. Make the most of our beautiful autumn weather and the opportunity to connect with nature during this time of social distancing.
How can you help Animal Patrons Australia?
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you are looking for ways to help our native wildlife you can:
Donate – We can’t do it without you and we won’t succeed without support from our Patrons. If you can spare a once-off donation or a recurring contribution we can immediately widen our reach and impact.
Deliver – check out the list of supplies we need and details of how to deliver them.
Volunteer – we are always looking for people who have time to support us in a variety of ways. Please contact us to find out more. Share – like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram and share our stories with your friends and family.