Notes for children, parents and educators
Guide to pronunciation
All the animals in Whose Home is This? are called by both Māori and English names, although in some cases such as kea, a Māori name is the only common name. Often of course there is more than one Māori name as well as more than one English name, so I had to choose what appeared to be the most common. A guide to pronunciation of Māori can be found on the Māori Language Commission website http://www.tetaurawhiri.govt.nz/learning-Māori/whakahuatanga-pronunciation/. Māori names that are in the online Māori Dictionary https://Māoridictionary.co.nz also have an audio recording of the word being pronounced.
Most online education resources feature nests of birds not native to New Zealand. But they can be useful for identifying nests of introduced birds in the garden. Some of the sites below will include pictures of nests, but they are usually searched by bird name so require a good guess as to which bird it might belong to.
All the animals in Whose Home is This? are native to New Zealand.
You can find out more about them on:
- the Department of Conservation website http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/
- a child friendly site – Kiwi Conservation Club http://www.kcc.org.nz
- specific information about New Zealand birds – NZ Birds Online http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz
- a site about New Zealand marine life, which includes activities https://www.mm2.net.nz
Parents and educators may find Science Learn a useful resource as it provides both information and educational activities http://sciencelearn.org.nz, search for related topics and concepts using keywords such as ‘animal homes’, ‘nests’ and ’camouflage’.
Many New Zealand animals are also included in the “explore and discover” series of books for children by author Gillian Candler.
suggestions for activities
Here are some fun and educational activities to follow up reading the book. Links to examples of these and other activities can be found on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.nz/gilliancandler/animal-homes-for-kiwi-kids/
Reading the book(s)
- Encourage children to think of examples of animals with similar homes, e.g. which other animals live in mud flats? which other animals make burrows?
- Talk about what else they know about the animals in the book. Perhaps they’ve seen a hermit crab in a rock pool, or a kea on television.
- Children might realise that the homes don’t always keep animals safe. Discuss how people can help keep endangered species safe. For example, we can help protect dotterel’s nests by keeping vehicles off beaches, keeping dogs on leads, trapping pests such as hedgehogs.
- If you have the hard back copy of the book, use the images on the inside front cover to guess the animals again.
Science and Technology activities
- Many of the animals in this book live by or in the sea. Visit your local mud flats, rocky shore or beach to see what other animals make their home there. Where are animals hiding? What other animals with shells can you find? Where is a safe place for birds to nest? Take part in the Marine Metre Squared Project https://www.mm2.net.nz to find out more about what lives on the shore.
- Investigate birds’ nests, consider what the nests need to do their job properly, e.g. how long do they need to last? how big do they need to be? how can the bird keep them clean? Create your own bird’s nest out of natural materials to show what you know about nests.
- Make a penguin box or nesting box to match a bird’s particular needs, this requires research into how big it needs to be, how to keep out predators, where it should be sited etc.
- A good time to look for birds’ nests in the garden is autumn and winter, when the nests are empty and often there are fewer leaves on trees. Sometimes nests will fall out of trees when they are old.
- Build a wētā motel for wētā to live in.
- There are lots of different craft activities for making birds’ nests, including making edible nests and making nests with eggs in them.
- Make snails, seahorses and octopus out of paper, found materials or fabric.
- Create puppets of seahorses, penguins or kea.
- Use puppets to make up and act out a story about the animal and its home.
- Create your own guessing game of animal homes.
I love exploring and discovering nature here in New Zealand. The more I observe nature the more interesting things I see, such as a carefully woven grey warbler’s nest or a hermit crab using an old shell. Animal’s homes are so varied, burrows, nests, shells and rock piles. I’m fascinated by the way animals use camouflage or hide their homes.
You can read more about my observations when I’m out and about exploring and discovering nature on my blog explorediscovernature.blogspot.co.nz
Fraser is an internationally recognised artist/illustrator whose work ranges from large illustrative paintings to quirky children’s books that try to amuse and entertain. Fraser wishes to portray characters and environments that allow for imagination and diversity. His work has features in magazines, books and ad campaigns, both nationally and internationally, and he regularly exhibits his paintings at the Flagstaff Gallery in Devonport, many of which now adorn walls in Auckland, Melbourne, Finland, Malta and London.