I had some fun these last few weeks creating a unit study about animal defenses. It all began when I discovered a skunk in my backyard, of course I was careful not to frighten it but did manage to capture a nice shot of it.
Then I wondered about that smell they set off. So I started to do some research. And then I thought that it would be interesting to create a study to share with kids so they could have questions like that answered.
Why Do Skunks Stink and Other Animal Defenses That Make You Think is a four module study for ages 4-6. It covers animal defenses that include camouflage, mimicry and trickery, physical characteristics and chemical reactions (like with the skunk). It has information, activities and crafts to inspire learning.
The reason I create unit studies is to help children discover, uncover and want to learn more and one of my testers told me that her daughter "is looking for different things when we are out now that she normally wouldn't." To know that I have inspired a joy of learning is such a wonderful feeling.
If you would like to find out why skunks stink, it is offered in the education program from The Benjamin Project (and proceeds benefit animal wellness - may even take care of skunks!).
Book recommendation: The Skunk That Stunk
While I was working on this unit study I saw a post for this cute little book. My Kindness Kangaroo Project focuses on encouraging inclusion, acceptance, friendship and kindness and so this book fit right in.
"The beautiful illustrations of this book make you feel like you are right there in the story. Right away you like the cute little skunk and feel sad for him that he struggles to find friends. The rhyming story creates a flow that takes you page after page to learn, along with the skunk, the importance of loving yourself."
We can Learn a lot from Skunks
Skunks are not often referred to with positive words. They come with misconceptions, criticisms and a label that paints a picture of a nasty animal. But really, skunks use their stink to protect themselves, or their babies, they are resourceful and actually pretty cute.
Much like we see with people, labels and assumptions are placed upon the skunk because proper understanding isn't in place. Spraying is not the skunks first line of defense, it is not a form of attack, skunks are just trying to survive in a world of predators and declining spaces to live.
The more we understand people (or skunks), the more we can relate, connect and accept them for who they are. The ability to see past the labels, the criticisms and the words of others is compassion. And having compassion for others has a positive impact on them, and you.
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
Here is a colouring page of a cute little skunk - colour it and then find positive words that you can use to describe it - when positive words outweigh the negative ones, there will be a better balance in the world.