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How to Teach Kids About Endangered Species

written by: Rose Kivi•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 2/13/2012

Learn fun ways to teach your kids about endangered species.

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    It is important to teach children about endangered species because they are the future caretakers of the planet. Through education, children will become aware of endangered animals and learn steps humans can take to save endangered species from extinction. By raising a generation of environmentally aware children, we can have hope for the survival of the animals in our world. There are many ways to educate children about endangered species from great books to hands on activities. Here are a few suggestions to help you teach your kids about endangered species.

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    Reading about endangered species is a great starting point for teaching children these important lessons. The trick is finding a learning activity that is age appropriate. Check your local bookstore or local library for books on endangered animals. A good book for elementary school children is Trouble with Mister (Endangered Species) by Chronicle Books LLC Staff. The Atlas of Endangered Species by University of California Press is an informative read for ages twelve and up. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website has a Kids' Corner where kids can read about endangered animals and their habitat and learn ways to help animals and their habitats. You can also learn about many different endangered animals in the Endangered Species section of the Environmental Channel on BrightHub. New endangered species articles are posted regularly.

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    Games are a fun and interactive way for kids to learn about endangered species. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has an interactive quiz for kids on their website. The Conservation International website has a game called Lemur Match for kids to play. Matter Group sells a endangered species trading card game called Xeko for kids. Xeko can be purchased on the web or in some stores. Go to Xeko's store finder link to find a store that sells the game near you.

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    Volunteering and Interpretive Programs

    State Parks, National Parks and U.S Fish and Wildlife offer volunteer programs and interpretive programs that teach children and adults about wildlife and environmental issues. Ask State Parks and National Parks about their Junior Ranger Program. In the Junior Ranger program, children get to enjoy activities led by Park Rangers and other park volunteers. Participating in volunteer programs such as picking up trash or cleaning up parks give children a sense of accomplishment and pride in the time they have given to help the environment. Interpretive programs run by State Parks, National parks and U.S Fish and Wildlife are informative. For younger children, inquire with the parks about interpretive programs that are geared towards children. These programs are usually free and are an outstanding fun and interactive educational tool for children. Some wildlife rescue rehabilitation organizations offer volunteer opportunities. Volunteer opportunities at wildlife rescues can be hard to find and they are not always open to children. It is worth searching for volunteer opportunities at wildlife rescues, because they offer an amazing hands on opportunity for children and adults to help wildlife.

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    Teach by Example

    The most effective way to teach children to help endangered species is to be a good example. When your children see that you care about animals and their habitats, they will follow your lead. Spending time with your children reading books on endangered species, playing endangered animal games, and going to interpretive programs and volunteering, shows your kids animals are important to you.