The Usborne Animal atlas is one of the most read and analysed books at home. Once we had finished Antarctica, V moved on the kangaroos in Australia. I think, because they were mostly unfamiliar, they attracted her even more. And the fact that the island of Australia, looks like a “whale” in her own words.
The more we read beautiful books on koalas and kangaroos, the more we took in about the wildlife of the country. The yellows and greens that were predominant in the illustrations spoke about the topography as well. While researching animals we found that Australia is home to both, marsupials ( pouched animals) as well as monotremes ( egg laying mammals).
V wanted to know why there are such a variety of animals here. And guess what! there is a reason for that too. It is an island, and isolated in a sense, from the rest of the world. This caused the fauna to evolve in very special ways. V was kicked to know that it was home to many types of spiders as well.
We did some study on kangaroos and how they continue to develop after birth. V remembered that it is almost like carrying her dolls in her doll carrier. The sheer amount of iguanas, frilled neck lizards and other creepies we saw, led us to reptile study, too.
Pinterest provides some out-of-the-world play ideas for topics like this. Our favourite has been tracing the map of Australia, shadow matches, memory games, matching flash cards, cut and paste animals and plenty of role play. Some of my favourite websites are preschoolmom , essentialkids and imagineourlife.
One of V’s diapers had some aboriginal prints. We noticed, that the animals on the print were all Australian. She made the connection that it is similar to the Warli art we have in India. We also learnt that rock painting and bark sculpting form an important part of aboriginal art. We have been collecting pebbles, ever since, to try our hands at painting them. The beautiful thing is, she learnt about tree-barks from this study and has been paying special attention to them on our morning walks.
We also tried our hand at making bookmarks and dot-painting.
She has been asking us take her for a vacation to Australia to hop with the kangaroos. I also see her gravitating towards the marine life surrounding the country and how different it is from around ours. I have no idea where her questions and interests are going to lead us to, but frankly we are having too much fun to think too ahead.