Learning more about the whales

We just love the whales!! They are truly magnificent animals, the way they move in the water with such an ease and grace and the force they break the surface when they breech. I was fortunate enough to see a large pod of humpback whales swimming and frolicking in the waves of Californian coast, it was truly breathtaking. Teddy has never seen a life whale but he loves them never the less, maybe my love for these majestic giants somehow imprinted on him…who knows…whats important is that we have something else in common to share together.

We love watching videos, looking at their pictures, reading books about them or sometimes just play with them (Teddy has quiet few whales toy models) He is also keen always to try a new activity if the whales are involved and here are the activities we did today:

Activity 1 – Arranging whales by size

Teddy can already named quiet few whales and from those he knows he is also able to tell me which ones are toothy ones and which ones have baleen plates. Did I tel you that one of his first drawings was a humpback whale? And I make it clear I have never ever drawn one for him, not that he would be able to recognise anything from my drawings…but I also never asked him to draw one, he just did and then did it again and again. This has reinforced my views that this way of learning while having fun works for us as he has naturally developed his own interest in whales as well as to express his creative side. Anyway back to the whales!

So Teddy can now distinguish some types of whales and he knows that they are immense. We recently took him to a museum exhibition which had whale bones on display and he was fascinated by this as he could see the actual size of the whale’s skull and baleen plates and even the real tusk of a narwhal. I believe that this has helped him to understand that whales are humongous but it is hard to guess if he realises their true size compare to us.

This lovely activity, made by my friend Alexandra, for her also whale obsessed son, was a great way to show him their size in a comparison to us. Teddy seemed to have no problem with this activity and manged with ease and he seem to be truly astound by the size of a blue whale next to that tiny tiny diver.

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Activity 2 – Location, Location, Location

in this activity we looked at where the whales live or rather are seen during their migratory journeys  We used one of our favourite books called MAPS (scroll down for a peak, its rather brilliantly done) and we looked through different countries and tried to spot the whale we know and talk about the location where it’s found. We spent over and hour with this activity and he absolutely loved it while simultaneously learning about different continents. I think there might be a time to to explore this topic further as he was truly interested.

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If you wonder where we got those beautiful wooden whales they were gifted to Teddy from my friend Alexandra from Suvy z drivi (you can see her beautiful handcrafted things on here: Suvy z drivi)

Activity 3 – How the the whales keep warm experiment

And last but never the least we did this very fun experiment. As we looked through the various continents Teddy was quiet taken by the the Arctic regions and and couldn’t stop talking about the cold weather there. So I explained to him how whales and other sea mammals such as seals keep warm through their insulation called blubber and to help him understand how it works I showed him this experiment.

if you want to try it you will need:

  • a large bowl
  • icy water
  • looooooods of ice
  • some fat (lard works the best but any oil will do)
  • plastic bag (if you are using liquid oil)

you need to fill the bowl with icy water and add the ice to make it even more icy. Then ask your child to put their hand inside (if you watched our video on Facebook you could tell that Teddy really did not like that. Then cover their hands in the fat as I already said the lard works the best but we run out so I tried it with coconut oil but I could not manage to cover his hand in perfect layer to give him sufficient insulation in the ice water. (I tried butter on my finger which worked fine too but did not fancy use all of our butter and having to eat a dry toast in the morning) so we tried vegetable oil in a plastic bag and it was perfect!

Just fill the small plastic bag with some oil and place it inside the ice water and ask your child to put their hand in there. Try it by yourself and you will feel the difference!

Teddy couldn’t believe that his hand submerged in and ice water is suddenly so  nice and warm. We had to try it few more times after that.

If you like what we do you can follow us on Facebook for more experiment and educational activities: Mama and son time

If you’d liked these activities you can look at similar ones we did before:

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Let’s see the water move – sea current experiment

or

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What hides beneath…layers of the ocean

 Here is a look at the MAPS book:

PSX_20170314_075322PSX_20170314_075155its absolutely brilliant, you can get your copy on here: MAPS

For other books on this topic check our earlier post What hides beneath…layers of the ocean

Thank you for reading us

Teri & Teddy

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