WINSTON — Wildlife Safari’s education team acknowledged this school year has been different than those that came before it, so to help children learn about animals they created Creature Crates.
Creature Crates is a box filled with content about an animal that lives at Wildlife Safari. Although each box will be a little different, there will be an information page, a stuffed animal, a STEAM project, an autographed note from a zookeeper, an exclusive video and an animal gift.
“With schools being shut down, we recognized and identified the need for kids to do something educational and hands-on from home,” Education Director Leila Goulet said. “My team and I brainstormed fun ways for kids to learn about animals while completing a STEAM-related activity. We loved the idea of providing a box that had all the materials they needed to do this! We also believe that consistency is key when it comes to learning about new topics so we wanted to offer the option of being able to subscribe to them every other month ... this gives kids something to look forward to, plus it’s a fun surprise not knowing what the monthly topic will be.”
Red Pandas were the topic of the first box and staff at the safari park are almost done gathering contents for the next box.
Goulet said about 60 children are signed up right now, with about half from Douglas County and the rest from other parts of the country.
“We hope that these activities are encouraging kids to think outside the box and learn about animals in an engaging and interactive way,” Goulet said. “Every box has its own set of inquiry based activities as well as videos to accompany them.”
There are two different boxes, one for children ages 4-7, the other for children between the ages of 8 and 11.
Goulet explained that the STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math — activities differ for the two age groups. In the first box, the younger children had to put together a red panda with foam pieces while the older children had to trace and cut out their red panda pieces, then physically sew together a red panda felt plush.
“Next month’s box is a completely different challenge focusing on another endangered species at our park,” she added. “This box has a special interactive PowerPoint and will engage young scientists to study and record animal behavior. The environmental based activity will also include physically growing something.”
Creature Crates will be sent every other month and cost $50 for an individual box or $270 for a year-long subscription. For more information or to sign up go to https://wildlifesafari.net/product/creature-crates/.