Family Resources

We're here for you

With physical distancing keeping families at home, family time is more important than ever!

The BC Wildlife Federation is here to help families of member and non-members alike to navigate these times. Here you will find  resources  and activities that you can give your kids to do on their own or do together as a family.

We update this web page WEEKLY. If you are looking of our previously featured content, they can be found at bottom of the page.

Quick Jump to:

WEEKLY JOURNAL PROMPT

Ask your family to write or draw what you think

Be sure to SHARE what you come up with by sharing it on social media and hashtagging #BCWF and tagging us @bcwildlifefederation

FEATURE ANIMAL

American Pika

The American Pika is an animal in the Lagomorpha family and is related to rabbits. These creatures live in rocky, isolated, mountainous areas up to 3000 metres in elevation! They eat any vegetation they can find. American Pikas live in colonies and communicate with cute squeaks and scent markings.

 

 

AT HOME ACTIVITY

DIY Sunprints

Make a DIY print using the power of sunlight!

What you need:

  • Dark coloured construction paper
  • Small toys, sticks, leaves, or flowers
  • Rocks or paperweights

How To:

  1. Take a piece of dark coloured construction paper and place it outside.
  2. If it is a windy day, weigh it down with paperweights.
  3. Make a design on the paper with your objects by placing them on the paper.
  4. Leave the paper and objects in the sun for six hours.
  5. Remove the objects to see the pattern preserved on the paper!

 

FEATURE RESOURCES

Sea Otters Return to BC Ecosystems

CBC News

Learn about how sea otters are radically changing BC ecosystems after being absent for 50 years.

10 Backyard Camping Ideas

Outdoor Afro

Enjoy the fun and adventure of camping at home!

August 13, 2020

Journal Prompt: What is a natural place you wish you could visit? Why do you want to go there? What would you do?

Animal of the Week: American Pika

The American Pika is an animal in the Lagomorpha family, and is related to rabbits. These creatures lives in rocky, isolated, mountainous areas up to 3000 metres in elevation! They eat any vegetation they can find. American Pikas live in colonies and communicate with cute squeaks and scent markings.

At-Home Activity

Make a DIY print using the power of sunlight!

What you need:

  • Dark coloured construction paper
  • Small toys, sticks, leaves, or flowers
  • Rocks or paperweights

How To:

  1. Take a piece of dark coloured construction paper and place it outside.
  2. If it is a windy day, weigh it down with paperweights.
  3. Make a design on the paper with your objects by placing them on the paper.
  4. Leave the paper and objects in the sun for six hours.
  5. Remove the objects to see the pattern preserved on the paper!

Other Resources:

Sea Otters Return to BC: Learn about how sea otters are radically changing BC ecosystems after being absent for 50 years.  Click here for the link.

10 Backyard Camping Ideas: Enjoy the fun and adventure of camping at home! Click here for more information!

August 4, 2020

Journal Prompt: What was your favorite outdoor adventure? It could be a hike, a trip, or exploring your own backyard!

Animal of the Week: White Sturgeon

The White Sturgeon is a type of fish found in North America that is one of the largest and longest-lived freshwater fish. They have been found to be over six metres long, and some can live to be 100 years old! In Canada, White Sturgeon are unique to British Columbia. Currently, they are classified as a species at risk.

At-Home Activity

Grow fresh herbs and leafy greens at home!

What you need:

  • Windowsill or area in your home with natural light
  • Plant pots or containers with drainage holes
  • Potting Soil
  • Leafy green or herb ends, or seeds.

How To:

  1. Find a windowsill or area of your home with lots of natural light and a place to put your plant pots.
  2. Fill your pots with potting soil and place your plant starts (leafy green or herb ends) or seeds in the pot
  3. Water and rotate the plants weekly.
  4. Enjoy your fresh herbs and produce grown in your own home!

Other Resources:

Scientists Discover Penguin Colonies from Space: Learn about how scientists used satellites to discover new penguin colonies in Antarctica.  Click here for the link.

Painting With Nature: Use natural items from the outdoors to create pieces of art!  Click here for more information!

July 30, 2020

Journal Prompt: Write about your favorite animal. Why is it your favorite? What does it eat? What does it look like? 

 

Animal of the Week: Black Bear

Black bears are one of the three types of bears native to North America. These bears are extremely skilled climbers and have long, retractable claws that help them scale trees and terrain. Black bears have a varied diet and will eat almost anything- from berries and nuts, to insects like ants, to small mammals and birds.

At-Home Activity

Build leadership skills with this socially-distanced team-building game!

What you need:

  • 2-meter lengths of string of twine (1 per player)
  • Assorted toys
  • 5 thick rubber bands

How To:

  1. Group the rubber bands together and tie your 2 meter lengths to the rubber band bunch.
  2. Find an open area outside to play. Place the rubber band bunch in the center.
  3. Have each player take one string.
  4. Designate one member as a group leader to assign the task at hand!
  5. All players do the task by manipulating the rubber bands with the strings.

Video Demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_wu4EuUYC8

Other Resources:

Virtual Outdoor Exploration: Metrovancouver’s “Nature Break” has videos of the outdoors that will immerse you in wilderness spaces. Click here for the link.

 

Spiral Bee Combs:  Learn about new research that explains why one type of Australian Bee constructs spiral combs.  Click here for more information!

July 23, 2020

Journal Prompt: What is your favorite season, and why?

 

Animal of the Week: Red-Winged Blackbird

The Red-Winged Blackbird lives in saltwater marshes and watercourse areas, as well as in fields and meadows. The males have an unmistakable red and yellow shoulder badges, which they use to attract the female birds. Male Red-Winged Blackbirds are known to do anything for the attention of females, from sitting on high perches to belting out their unique song.

 

At-Home Activity: Light Bug Trap

Catch bugs with light! 

What you need:

  • White Sheet
  • Tent Pegs
  • Rope
  • String
  • Flashlight
  • Jar

How To:

  1. Find a location with trees and little outside light.
  2. Tie your rope across two trees, and drape your sheet over the rope.
  3. Secure your sheet to the ground with tent pegs.
  4. Hang and secure the flashlight over one side of the sheet with your string.
  5. When it gets dark, turn on the flashlight/
  6. Insects will be drawn to the light, where you can collect and observe them in the jar.
  7. Return the insects to the wild where they belong.

Other Resources:

Nature Craft Ideas: A list of fun and easy craft ideas using supplies you can find at home and in nature. Click here for the link.

 

#RecreateResponsibly: Learn how to safely enjoy outdoor spaces during COVID-19, and how to responsibly and equitably participate in recreation. Click here for more information!

July 16, 2020

Journal Prompt: What is your favorite time of day to be outside, and why?

 

Animal of the Week: White-Tailed Deer

The White-tailed Deer is one of the most common large mammals in North America. They can be found in meadows and forests as they forage for green plants, nuts, and wood vegetation. The deer’s unique white tail is used as a signal to warn its fawn and other deer of predators. The animals are also skilled jumpers, and can make horizontal jumps over nine metres long!

 

At-Home Activity: Recycled Bird Feeder

Attract birds to your backyard!

What you need:

  • Recycled paper towel roll or toilet paper roll
  • bird seed
  • peanut butter
  • string

How To:

  1. Pour your birdseed into a shallow container that your recycled roll can fit in.
  2. Coat the exterior of your paper roll in peanut butter.
  3. Roll your coated roll into the birdseed.
  4. String a loop through the paper towel roll and tie it.
  5. Hang your DIY bird feeder on a tree outside to feed the birds.

Other Resources:

Learn How Plants Absorb Water: A simple celery experiment to show kids capillary action in plants. Click here for the link.

 

Spot Whales in BC: Find out the best places in BC to spot whales, and the times of the year to see them.  Click here for more information!

July 9, 2020

Journal Prompt: What does summer look like, feel like, and sound like?

 

Animal of the Week: Garter Snake

Garter Snakes are a type of snake that is found all across Canada. They can live in any environment except for water, so you may find these creatures in marshes, fields, forests, and more. These snakes hibernate in burrows, holes, and under rocks for almost six months a year, and only emerge in the Spring. Female Garter Snakes can have up to 80 baby snakes in a single litter!

 

At-Home Activity: Time Capsule

Make a capsule for your future self! 

What you need:

  • Container (jar, box, etc.)
  • Items, photos, toys, and other things to put inside your container.

How To:

  1. Find a container that you can bury or put in a safe place.
  2. Gather your items. These can be toys, pictures, drawings, or anything else you want your future self to see! Make sure they fit in the container you’ve chosen.
  3. Place your items in the container and bury it in your backyard, or place it in a safe place you’ll remember to open in 5, 10, or more years!

Other Resources:

Aquatic Learning at Home: Ever wanted to learn more about marine biology? Monterey Bay Aquarium has several online courses and activities for youth of all ages.  Click here for the article!

 

Edible Plants for Play and Learning: Learn the importance of edible landscaping for youth!  Click here for more information!

July 2, 2020

Journal Prompt: What can we do to better protect our natural world?

 

Animal of the Week: Red Squirrel

Red squirrels are one of the native squirrel species in British Columbia. They eat a variety of seeds, nuts, berries, and leaves, which they gather and store for later. Their food-gathering habits help spread plant seeds so new plants can grow and thrive. These creatures are skillful foragers, and are even known to hang fungi over tree branches in the fall to dry so their food lasts longer in the winter!

 

At-Home Activity: 5-Day Sprouts

Grow bean sprouts with supplies you have in your kitchen! 

What you need:

  • Plastic zip top bag
  • A paper towel
  • A few bean seeds (any kind)

How to:

  1. Take your paper towel and fold it so it will fit inside your plastic zip top bag. Once your paper towel is folded, wet it and place it into the bag.
  2. Grab 3-4 beans and place them in the bag on top of the wet paper towel.
  3. Put your plastic bag near a window, and in about 5 days your bean should germinate and begin to sprout!

 

Other Resources:

Indoor and Outdoor Scavenger Hunt: Inside out fun! Check out this scavenger hunt that will lead you to find interesting things both in and out of your home. Click here for the article!

 

Learn about Soil Erosion with this Experiment: Understand the importance of vegetation covering soil with this hands-on science experiment! Click here to learn more!

June 25, 2020

Journal Prompt: What’s the first feeling you express when you enter nature? 

 

Animal of the Week: Burrowing Owl

These animals are known to nest in underground burrows that are decorated with droppings of their favorite prey such as deer or cattle. This attracts dung beetles which the owl can eat and also hides the owl’s smell from nearby predators. These creatures can be found in the Okanagan area and Kamloops but are listed as one of the three endangered animals under the BC Wildlife Act. 

 

At-Home Activity: Mason Jar Lantern

Create a beautiful and colourful lantern at home! 

What you need:

  • Mason jar
  • white school glue
  • food colouring 
  • paint brushes
  • tea lights

How to:

  1. Ensure your jar is clean and all residue from labels is wiped off. 
  2. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of glue on a plate and add a few drops of food colouring. Repeat as many times for more colours. 
  3. Paint your first coat on the outside of the lantern and wait for it to completely dry before adding a second coat. If needed, you can paint up to three coats! 
  4. Add your candles and enjoy! 

 

Other Resources:

Burrowing owl conservation: Learn more about what is currently being done to save the burrowing owl population in BC. Click here for the article!

 

De-stress with nature’s spa remedies: Find ways you can relax and feel more replenished with hydrotherapy, meditation, sound and solar therapy, and more in this article! Click here to learn about nature’s free spa!

June 17, 2020

 Journal Prompt: What can we do to better protect nature?

 

Animal of the Week: Raccoons

Raccoons are found throughout Southern and Coastal BC. They are easy to identify thanks to their black mask and ringed tail. Raccoons live for about 3-5 years in the wild. They are omnivores who will eat just about anything! Fun fact: baby raccoons are called kits!

 

At Home Activity: Shoe Box Habitat

Imagine you need to make an animal habitat, what would it need to include?

What you need:

  • Shoe box or other container
  • Access to nature

How to:

  1. Take a shoe box or container outside
  2. Collect anything that a living thing would need to have in their habitat in that shoe box
  3. Create a home for your organism and share with your family what you chose and why!
  4. Return everything where you found it – leave no trace!

 

Other Resources:

Be prepared for bears! Getting out into nature can be really exciting, but it is also important to be prepared for wildlife encounters with animals like bears so that we can better protect ourselves and them!

https://www.hellobc.com/stories/essential-things-to-know-before-entering-bc-bear-country/?source=igodigital

 

Our connection to nature matters! Watch Nixiwaka Yawanawa’s TED talk on connection to nature!

 

 

June 10, 2020

Journal prompt: What kind of story do you see in the clouds today?

Animal of the week: Bald Eagle

Bald eagles are birds of prey with excellent long-distance vision! They are able to see 8 times further than humans can see – they can see a rabbit running from almost 3km away! They live all across North America, but the majority of the population live in BC and Alaska. They eat fish, small mammals (squirrels, prairie dogs), and carrion (a fancy word for a dead or decaying animal carcass). In the wild, most eagles can live for up to 25 years.

At home activity: Cloud in a Jar

Materials Needed:

  • Jar with lid
  • Hairspray
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • Ice Cubes

 

How to:

  1. Pour a tiny bit of the hot water into the jar. Swirl it around to warm it up before pouring the remainder of the hot water in.
  2. Turn the lid upside down and place on top of the jar.
  3. Place several ice cubs on top of the lid. Let rest 30 seconds.
  4. Remove the lid and ice, quickly spray inside the jar with hairspray, then replace the lid and ice. Watch your cloud form!

Other resources:

Curious about clouds now? Want to know if you are in for a thunderstorm or not? Learn about the different kinds of clouds from PBS Learning Media – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pV4hcZgklE

 

Sometimes nature leaves us speechless, sometimes nature gives us all the words in the world. Take a look at these kid friendly poems inspired by nature, maybe you can be inspired to create a poem of your own! https://www.treehugger.com/family/celebrate-national-poetry-day-reading-nature-poems-children.html

June 3, 2020

Journal prompt: You’ve just discovered a new species of sea creature! What does it look like? Where does it live? How does it interact with the other living things?

Animal of the week: Killer Whales

These majestic sea creatures can be found just off the coast of British Columbia. There are three distinct groups in these waters: Resident, Bigg’s, and Offshore Killer Wales. They each have different social groups, even though they share the same habitat. Resident Killer Whales feed on fish and cephalopods (octopus family), and the Bigg’s Killer Whales eat larger marine animals, such as seals. Offshore Killer Whales eat mainly fish but have been know to eat sharks too!

At home activity: Sink or Float?

Materials Needed:

  • 6-10 different solid objects (like an apple, a pen, a coin, a stick, a spoon etc. be creative!)
  • A bucket or other large container filled with water
  • A piece of paper and a pencil

 

How to:

  1. Draw a table with 3 columns on your piece of paper
  2. Look at your objects. Write their names on the first column
  3. Predict whether each object will sink or float. Write down your prediction in the middle column.
  4. Put your predictions to the test! Place each object in the water-filled bucket, and record in the third column whether it sinks or floats.
  5. Look back at your notes – which objects floated? Why or why not?

Other resources:

World Oceans Day is June 8th! Have a passion for art? Are you between 11-18 years old? Submit an art piece to the 2020 Oceans Awareness Contest! Contest closes June 15 – read more about it here: https://bowseat.org/programs/ocean-awareness-contest/overview/

Check out some bubbly jellyfish action at the Vancouver Aquarium! You can see how their jellyfish are doing through their live cam at https://www.vanaqua.org/visit/live-cams-jelly-cam

May 27, 2020

Journal prompt: Why do you choose to be outside?

Animal of the week: Townsend’s chipmunk

The Townsend’s chipmunk is part of the squirrel family and is found in coniferous forests in the southwestern region of BC. They are great climbers and seek out trees or burrows to hide from their predators. The colour of their fur blends in with the environment which also helps them camouflage from predators. During cold winters, they tend to hibernate but in more milder winters, they can survive without hibernation. Next time you are on a hike, keep an eye out for these rodents!

At Home Activity: Forest frame

What you need:

  • A photo
  • 4 sticks
  • String or yarn
  • leaves or flowers
  • scissors

How to:

  1. Create rectangle with the 4 sticks and lay them down on a surface with the photo in the middle.
  2. Wrap the string multiple times around each corner where the sticks intersect.
  3. Wrap extra string around the sides and thread in leaves or flowers to decorate the frame.
  4. Create a loop with the string by tying two corners together. You can now place your photo in your frame and hang it up around your home!

Other resources:

BC Wildlife Watching: Get your camera ready to spot popular creatures around BC that start to emerge during the spring and summer months. HelloBC’s article will give you the inside scoop on where to find the best sightings. https://www.hellobc.com/stories/bc-wildlife-watching-what-to-see-in-spring-and-summer/

Tie your own knots: From bow lines to clove hitches, learn how to tie knots from the comfort of your home. This skill can come in handy when camping and boating and also improves hand-eye coordination.  https://sites.google.com/wildernessinquiry.org/allaboutknots/tie-your-own

May 20, 2020

Journal prompt: What parts of your natural surroundings do you find soothing?

Animal of the week: Steller’s Jay

These birds are very common around BC’s conifer and pine-oak forests. When building their nests, they use mud to glue little pieces of tiny sticks together and place them 6 to 30 feet high in trees. They are also quite bold and clever creatures and are known to be habitual nest-robbers, similar to other jay species.

At home activity: Bird feeders

What you need:

– Empty toilet paper roll

– 2 small sticks or straws

– Peanut butter

– Bird food

– String

 

How to:

  1. Make four equally spaced holes in one end of your roll.
  2. Make two smaller holes opposite from each other in the other end of the roll.
  3. Cover your roll in peanut butter and then roll it in bird seed.
  4. Thread the sticks through to make a cross and attach the string at the top. Your bird feeder is ready to be hung up outside!

Other resources:

How will Coronavirus change the environment? Carbon emissions have dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the real question is will it last? Watch the video from BBC below to find out more.  https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200422-how-has-coronavirus-helped-the-environment

Identify dangerous plants! Become familiar with spotting dangerous plants like poison ivy and giant hogweed through MEC’s website. Teach your kids how to stay safe when exploring nature.

Learn more here:

https://www.mec.ca/en/article/how-to-do-anything-spot-dangerous-plants?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=organic_social&utm_campaign=hike&utm_term=hike&utm_content=5_dangerous_plants&fbclid=IwAR0zSkmZ4-ocYQuPYRkrBNgSNuKHzYdKsvrz7R88xt5ch_IcqYX0yMz65LQ

May 14, 2020

Journal prompt: What will your yard look like in 5 years?

 

Animal of the week: Western Painted turtle

The Western Painted Turtle is BC’s only native freshwater turtle! They live in BC’s wetlands and can live for 20-30 years. There are fewer than 250 adult western painted turtles in the Pacific Coast population. Fun fact: BC’s western painted turtles grow faster and larger than others of the same species.

 

At Home Activity: Leaf Rubbings

Nature is full of colour! But have you noticed the shapes and textures? Leaf rubbings are a great way to observe and compare some of the texture in nature!

What you need:

  • Pencil or crayons
  • Paper
  • Leaves

How to:

 

  1. Go outside and collect leaves (don’t pick them)
  2. Focus on ones with different colors and textures!
  3. Place your leaves under your paper
  4. Use an unwrapped crayon or the side of a pencil and shade over top of the leaves
  5. Compare the shapes and textures!

 

Other Resources

Home Compost Bin
Recycle BC App

May 7, 2020

Journal Prompt: What is your favourite season? Why?

Animal of the week: Mule Deer

There are three subspecies of mule deer in BC! They live throughout most of the province and can sometimes be recognized by their white tail with black hair at the tip. The Rocky Mountain Mule deer migrate between summer and winter habitats, this trip can be as far as 120km!

At Home Activity: DIY Puzzle

Here is an easy way to use what we have around the house and create something fun for the whole family!

What you need:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Paint, pens, or drawing materials
  • Glue
  • Penny

How To:

  1. Paint or draw a picture on a piece of paper and let dry
  2. Paste a piece of cardboard to the back and cut to size
  3. Flip over, use a ruler to draw a grid on the back
  4. Use a penny to draw notches on each side of every square 
  5. Carefully cutout the pieces
  6. Put puzzle back together

 

Other Resources:

Eco Sense for Living  – PBS

List of Birds Local to the Greater Vancouver Area – Vancouver Bird Week

April 30, 2020

Journal Prompt: What does nature mean to you?

 

Featured Animal: Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons are up to a metre tall and can have wingspans that stretch over 1.5 metres! They live in wetlands along the coast and southern interior. Fun Fact: nesting occurs in colonies called heronries that may include up to 400 nests!

 

At Home Activity: Backyard Nature Surveys

If a scientist was studying a forest, would it take a LONG TIME to look at every tree?
Yes! So, scientists study smaller SAMPLE AREAS. You can use this method too!

What you need:

  • Shoelace
  • paper
  • something write with

How To:

  1. Tie shoelace ends together to form a circle
  2. Go out and place your shoelace anywhere in a green space
  3. COLLECT YOUR DATA! Write down or draw everything inside
  4. Move to another area and repeat

 

Featured Resources: