The Lorax is a perfect starting point for exploring the natural world with your child. Use the observations your child makes about the creatures in The Lorax to spark enthusiasm for developing a nature field guide to the plants, animals, and birds in your own backyard!
What you’ll need:
- a copy of The Lorax
- copies of field guides to trees, plants, birds, animals, etc.
- blank notebooks or sketchpads, pencils
- binoculars, magnifying glass, and other tools for exploring outside (optional)
- camera and/or drawing supplies
- computer or tablet and publishing software or apps such as PowerPoint, iBooks Author app, Creative Book Builder, or ePub Bud for electronic publishing (optional)
Read The Lorax to your child. As you discuss the book, bring the conversation around to the Once-ler’s arrival. How did the Once-ler so easily identify the Truffula trees, the Brown Ba-ba-loots, the Humming-Fish, and the Swomee-Swans? Did he have a field guide?
A field guide is a book that helps you to identify wildlife. Show your child some examples of field guides and suggest he or she make one for the wildlife featured in The Lorax. Encourage your child to draw and label plants and animals from the book and include details such as what Brown Bar-ba-loots eat and where Humming-Fish are found.
Next, get your child to apply that same attention to detail to the natural world outside your door! Head to the backyard, a nearby park, or a natural area with writing tools and drawing materials or a camera to capture wildlife in pictures and words. Take along binoculars, a magnifying glass, and other tools for exploring outside and show your child how to get close to nature using patience, respect, and a willingness to get dirty.
When you’re back indoors, provide resources (computer, books, blank notebook) to help your child organize pictures, photos, and notes and help research additional information about the wildlife he or she just encountered. Let your child decide what information to include in the field guide. Pages might be as simple as a picture or drawing of an animal, its name, and where it was seen. Or, with additional research and observation, it could also include scientific names, size, shape, behavior, and more.
With each new adventure outdoors, your child can add to the field guide or even start new ones for different locations. Praise all efforts and inspire others to head outside by sharing the guide with family and friends.