By Kelly Fenton
Going outside during the winter months often results in lots and lots of gear. Puffy coats, heavy boots, snow pants, mittens, woolen hats, scarves, the list goes on and on. It’s much easier to hunker down and cuddle in the warmth of the house instead of venturing outside (with all that gear on—I’m hot just thinking about it). Families might turn to activities such as reading books, puzzling through puzzles, crafting, cooking or watching a movie. All great activities but much less energetic than the fairer weather choices – running through the sprinkler, swimming, climbing trees, walking to the park. Kids need movement throughout the year as do many animals. This January at Roger Williams Park Zoo, we’ll be exploring movement and connecting kids to animal locomotion. We’ll learn about the different types of movement and what allows kids and animals to travel as they do.
Snakes slink and slither winding their way through underbrush and along tree branches. Kangaroos go hippity-hop, hippity-hop, hippity-hop and birds soar across the infinite sky. All animals get from one place to another in different ways depending on their assorted parts. Legs, wings, arms and even entire bodies help animals move around in different ways. Movement is a part of being alive.
We move to find food, to play, to keep ourselves safe and for the pure joy of being able to do so. Kids love to move and wiggle and naturally learn about their environment by physically moving within it. Connecting to the varied ways animals travel is exciting and amusing for developing bodies. When was the last time your child came to the dinner table bunny rabbit style? Or how about trying to gallop as fast as a Zebra?
It’s fun to notice the varied forms of locomotion and the body parts that enable that movement. How many ways of moving can you think of? And what do you need on your body to be able to move in that way? Flying requires wings, animals that hop often have large back feet and smaller front legs that serve to help with balance. Animals that slither have no arms or legs, rather a long cylindrical body. What about walking and swimming? So how about moving a bit more yourself this winter and join us at the Zoo to learn more about animal movement, even if it means venturing outside in all of your gear.
Preschool Adventures at Roger Williams Park Zoo
1000 Elmwood Ave. Providence RI 02907
Kelly Fenton is the Early Childhood Program Instructor at Roger Williams Park Zoo. She is also a Life Coach, movement instructor and play advocate. Kelly has been immersed in formal and informal education for years and believes that playing with kids are where it’s at! Kelly loves getting dirty in her garden, lounging in the sun, chatting with neighbors and strolling around Providence where she lives with her wife Nicole.