Take your little ones to a park and look and listen to see animals communicating with each other, talk about how we talk to each other to communicate, and describe what other animals are doing. Look out for dog walkers who might be talking to their dogs, shouting commands to them. Look at how the dog responds, how do they show that they are happy? How do they play with their owners?
Listen out for birds calling to one another. When birds sing they are often exchanging song with a partner or potential mate. See if you can stand near to where a bird is singing and listen to its bursts of song. Then listen in the gaps between and see if you can hear thesame notes repeated back by another bird at a distance. Birds often exchange song in this way for minutes, you must just be patient to listen out for this and recognise that the communication is not simply one bird singing, but two birds exchanging notes.
Ponds should provide more evidence of animals communicating, especially when young ducklings have hatched. Look at how parent ducks protect their young from intruders - they will squawk at other birds and even people that step too close to their brood. Look at how ducks might peck each other to 'fight' over a partner. At the right time of year you might also hear the sounds made by frogs who make a terrific mating call, using sound to attract a partner.
Listen to what other noises you can hear from the park thamight interrupt birds communicating over distance. Can you hear the sounds of traffic? ...trains? ...aeroplanes? All this noise pollution has a detrimental effect on animals being able to communicate. Talk with your little ones about how this will impact their ability to communicate and demonstrate how you have to talk louder yourself as you approach the noise of traffic.
Lots of families visit local parks frequently during the summer months. Keep things fresh and exciting by playing some new games. Take along a kite to fly or maybe a boat to float on a pond. Throw pebbles into the water or try to hit leaves of plants on the opposite side of the river bank. Make a 'secret camp' in the bushes. Don't forget the ducks - take along any stale bread and give the ducks a feast. Or, take along a picnic and enjoy your own feast. Perhaps try something new: pitta breads, or wraps for a change from sliced bread. Hunt for different leaves or special pebbles or pine cones, collect them up, take them home and make a collage from all the different things you find!
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