When a child is interested in an animal, it’s an invitation for great learning. In our case, Miss Possum was really interested in wombats so I decided it was a perfect opportunity to learn about them at home and follow it up later with a trip to the zoo. Here’s how you can extend on your child’s interest.
1. Read books
Miss Possum’s first interest in wombats came from books so it was only natural to discover other wombat books. Off to the library we went and borrowed some to read each night. We also displayed the books around the playroom, encouraging Miss Possum, Panda and Platypus (formally Squeak and Purr) to read them on their own as well. Don’t forget to borrow some non-fiction books too!
It was hard to find videos online of wombats in the wild but I did find this one which was quite good to watch together.
3. Understanding Marsupials
Wombats are marsupials and have a unique way of having babies. I must admit that I was a little concerned about showing Miss Possum a video on a marsupial birth, but she was quite interested and mesmerised whilst watching it. I couldn’t find a video of a wombat giving birth to show her (and you) so we watched a kangaroo birth instead. You only really need to watch the first minute and a half.
She was amazed to see the under-developed baby, that she said ‘looked like a worm’, climb to the pouch and then turn into a little kangaroo whilst drinking its mother’s milk. I explained that the kangaroo birth was similar to a wombat but the wombat had a backward facing pouch so the baby climbed downwards instead of upwards.
4. Wombat Mask
I think Miss Possum is getting used to me creating things for her on the computer because she practically demanded a wombat mask. I made her the mask, not just because she demanded it but because I thought you guys might like one too. We used our mask to form part of our play time. Click here to download the wombat mask.
5. Wombat Play
Building wombat burrows in our playroom was so much fun. Pretending to be wombats, we used chairs, blankets and sheets to build (dig) our wombat burrows. We even added roots coming down from the walls, so that we knew the burrows were sturdy and safe.
We also played a predator and prey activity too. Miss Possum, I mean Miss Wombat, pretended to graze on grass, because that’s what wombats do. I would make a howling sound (I was a dingo) and she would look around to see me running after her. She would run into the burrow and with her back legs dig in the burrow and protect herself with her bottom. It was so funny and so cute at the same time. I think pretending to a wombat was the best fun of all.
Next time your child shows interest in a particular animal, why don’t you jump on it and build learning it all these ways. You won’t regret it!