By Tracey Matthews, UMFA Teacher Resource Coordinator
When I was growing up, my family had fun themes every season like “Summer of Science Experiements,” “A Month of Music,” or “The Great Outdoors.” We would all get together and do fun activities based on the same theme. Not only did we create great memories, but we learned a lot along the way.
Now it’s that time of year when things get spooky, curious, and a little crazy. So why not GO BATTY this Halloween and let a fun theme inspire your family?
Taking your family on a Bat Hunt
1. To inspire your little ones, begin by checking out some books from the library and see if, as a family, you can answer the following questions:
a. What is a bat?
b. What do bats eat?
c. How do bats raise their babies?
d. Should we be scared of bats?
e. How do bats help the rainforest?
f. How do bats help people?
Once your kids are familiar with bats, you are ready to begin your “Bat Hunt”!
2. Take a trip to Utah’s Hogle Zoo and visit over 200 short-tailed bats in the Discoveryland: Woodland Edge area. If you’re lucky and you reserve a spot in advance, your family can go to an Up-close Animal Encounter and participate in a bat-feeding. Then you can visit free flying straw-colored fruit bats in the Zoo’s Tropical Garden. If you want to continue the learning at home, you could build a bat box for your backyard.
3. After seeing real-life bats, learn more about where bats live by taking a tour of a cave. Timpanogos Cave is a great place to visit in the fall and is a short drive from Salt Lake City.
4. Now that your kids are bat experts, your family can learn about the significance of bats in different cultures. Spend an afternoon at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts exploring art from around the world. Go to the front desk and checkout the Bats Self-Guide (free with paid admission) to learn more about the meaning of bats through games and activities. Search the Museum and discover bats on Chinese porcelain, Mayan ceramics, and wooden shields from New Guinea.
Now that you have bats in the belfry, let your kids get creative and come up with a fun activity of your own inspired by everything they have learned. Try writing a short play about bats, make a bat puppet, or prepare an after-school treat that fruit bats like to eat. Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to GO BATTY!
Tags: going batty