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Looking for ideas...hands-on for children attending wildlife festival

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
A little background...
I’ve been asked to run a booth for a one day festival that celebrates wildlife in our area. It’s held at a wildlife sanctuary. This is the second time this event has been held. The organizer is a local veterinarian. This vet is very helpful to the pet rescue-spay/neuter group in which I volunteer. They’ve asked us to include activities for children.

This year I have more time to plan and would like the activity to be more hands-on. I was thinking of providing small canvas bags that the children can decorate to use as treat bags for their pets or bags for themselves when they hike (pick up leaves, store snacks, etc.) I thought of fabric markers or paint but decided stamps and ink or paint might be better. I even thought of making ink out of berries – more environmentally friendly – but thought parents might not be happy with their children coming home all stained. Space is very tight. They do not want us setting up on the fields, woods, etc so we all set up down the access road.

So any better ideas?
Cost is an issue since it is all out of my pocket. The whole purpose of the fest is a little clearer this year but still vague. I would like to make the activity relevant to the fest (wildlife sanctuary) but also to our group (stray & unwanted dogs/cats).

Last time I had a little game for the children instead of a craft.

It's in October.
post #2 of 8
I've done these with large groups (20+) though I'm not sure how directly they relate to wildlife.

Nature bracelets: loosely wrap a piece of sticky tape, sticky side out round the child's wrist. They can stick their finds on to it to decorate the bracelet.

Scavenger hunt: before hand print out lists of objects to find. Leave space for the children to write/draw their finds. In an area you know well you can be quite specific eg find certain types of trees, flowers etc. in an area you don't know you have to get a bit more creative. eg find a leaf bigger than your hand, find a sign that an animal has been here, find something smaller than your little finger.

Is it an area you could hang bird feeders? is there anything you could make for the cats and dogs home?
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the ideas. I like the bracelet and scavenger hunt ideas but the project is limited to our little space on the road. Unless...there are guided hikes elsewhere in the fest. I can give them the list of items or the bracelet and they can finish it on the hike (I'd need to get approval from the organizer as I wouldn't want to detract from the guide's lecture). The area is open to the public so I can go look for items prior to that day. Both of these ideas w/b cost effective. The turnout was small the last time I did this but he said to plan for 600 children this year (I doubt we'll have that many). Both of those projects also work well considering I have no help - yet. Last time another volunteer came to help me.

Regarding making something for the dogs and cats at home...that is why I though the treat bag/treasure bag would work. It can relate to pets at home or a hike through the woods. But it will be a little expensive.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
This is what I did last time:
Two years ago at the first fest I included info for our group (photos of our dogs and cats available for adoption, newsletters, and applications for spay/neuter assistance). Since the fest was in October I also had handouts for the children to take home (‘find the items that can make your dog sick/scared on Halloween’, ‘help your lost kitten find its way home through the maze on Halloween’, etc.) I also had a game where the children rolled a wooden dice and depending upon which color it landed on they were able to take a small item from bushel baskets – all items were dog/cat related (like book markers, rescue bracelets, etc.) I had almost no time to prepare and little knowledge of the concept of the fest.

Although it was easy to put together and run and the children seemed to like it, I didn't want to hand out a bunch of junk (I purchased many of the prizes from Oriental Trading) and papers. It seems a little contradictory to the whole idea.
post #5 of 8
A good resource is the Forest Services' "Where the Other You Lives" campaign website. The campaign is designed to help parents and kids get outdoors and enjoy wildlife, and thusly there are plenty of ideas/resources that would seem to fit perfectly with what you're trying to do.

Kudos for creating something like this, I heard recently that the Ad Council did a study citing that kids spend 50% less time outdoors today than they did 20 years ago. I have been personally trying to get my kids and their friends outdoors and that website helped me with some of the activities that we've been doing.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Greenchoice, thank you for the link.

I didn't create the event; I was asked to put together a booth. But I've also heard the statistics about children spending less time outside.
post #7 of 8
Still db it's a great idea, running a booth to get children outdoors is a very worthwhile endeavor, anything to get them to enjoy nature!
post #8 of 8
The Forest service has actually adjusted their campaign with the marketing company I work for, now there is a campaign running to motivate parents and children into experiencing the outdoors.

Here's the link
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