The second program this month from the local nature center was about Bats. I actually was rather unimpressed with this particular program, that had mostly to do with the leader (two leaders take turns each month, and this was our first time attending a program run by this particular leader). We actually learned more about bats on our drive to the nature center, when we listened to the audio that accompanied one of our library books. C was really excited on the drive, and kept exclaiming something “new” about bats as she listened. Auditory learner, perhaps? I think I will be checking out more audio books for her!
We still had a lot of fun learning about bats. We spent the whole day doing different batty activities, and by dinnertime, the girls had so much knowledge to share with Dada. Some of the batty facts that we learned included:
- Bats live all around the world (except the poles).
- A bat’s wing is composed of its arm and hand, with long fingers supporting the skin of the wing.
- Bat’s toes are hook-shaped to easily hang upside down.
- Bats are nocturnal.
- Different types of bats eat different things; most species eat insects, but some eat fruit, fish, frogs, even blood.
- Some bats use echolocation to navigate in the dark night. The bat makes a shout (that is too high for humans to hear) and listen to its echo to create a sound picture.
- Bats sleep in a roost, which can be a building, cave, or tree.
- Baby bats can’t fly. They stay in the roost huddled together or sometimes the Mama carries the baby when hunting.
- Baby bats drink mama’s milk; to nurse, they cling to their Mama upside-down, while the Mama wraps her wings around the baby.
- A Mama gives birth by hanging right-side-up by her thumbs, catching the baby with her tail, and then flipping back upside-down.
- Bats are mammals, and they are the only flying mammals.
We first read (and listened to the accompanying audio cd) Bat Loves the Night. This was entertaining and highly educational. We also read Bats by Gail Gibbons (I am a fan of Gail Gibbons nature books!).
The girls were provided with some worksheets that they could do at their choosing. The worksheets included writing practice, a coloring page, connect-the-dots, a wordsearch puzzle, and a fold-a-bat craft. We looked at how the bone structure varies between a bat, bird and a human, and colored in the corresponding bones on this resource. We watched a few online videos (on Nature.com and Discovery.com). We even watched an echolocation music video (it was a wonderful way to practice saying that long word). We made bat masks.
The girls wanted to put on a bat puppet show for Dada that night. So I found a fingerplay song to use and we created puppets for the show. The girls used their big bat masks (above) to introduce the show, and then together we sang, “5 little bats went flying one night,…” with our Mama and baby bat puppets. (We did discuss how a Mama bat usually just has one baby, not five.) It was a little hard rehearsing the puppet show with the toddler climbing all over us (and stealing puppets) so we had to have a dress rehearsal when Dada was home to distract the toddler before the big show. It was fun!