I have a confession to make. When I was ten years old I didn’t like koalas. Nope, not even a little bit. I thought they got all the attention and the platypus (my favourite animal at the time) was always left in their shadow.
Ironically, my first job was as a koala handler and my perception of them flipped almost instantly. They all had interesting personalities and their cuteness overwhelmed me. I was easily converted.
Now I wear a koala footprint necklace (almost) everywhere and talk passionately about saving the koala. So this post brings me to eight koala activities you can share with your children during Save the Koala Month in September. It’s about creating a connection between our children and koalas, about learning and understanding koalas and, most importantly, it’s about acting for koalas.
1. Make a koala mask.
Download this free koala mask here. All the instructions are included and children can start to act like the marsupial straight away.
2. Learn to bellow like a koala.
I love and loathe this post. I love it because I can’t believe children know how to moo like a cow, sssss like a snake and hoot like an owl yet they don’t know how to make a koala sound. Oh, and I loathe it because it’s a video tutorial with me teaching you how to bellow. Argh!
3. Watch these cute koala You Tube clips with your children
4. Teach others about the plight of the koala by making a koala conservation poster.
This is a great idea for older children. Research the koala and get creative. Think of action messages you can use to educate your school and local community. Miss Possum is young so we made our poster quite simple. She is taking it to kindy today!
5. Read koala books
- Koala Lou by Mem Fox
- Koala by Edana Eckart
- The Koala: Natural History, Conservation and Management by Roger Martin, Kathrine Handasyde and Sue Simpson
- Finding Home by Sandra Markle
6. Make koala footprints and hang them around the house.
Did you know that koalas have fingerprints? Use your fingerprints to decorate this koala hand and foot template. Why not hang them up around the house for Save the Koala Month?! You can see we used our footprints on the poster.
7. Go for a bushwalk and search for koalas if they live in your local area.
Put your hiking boots on and make sure you take your binoculars. Koala bottoms high up in the trees can be hard to spot. Look for signs of koalas too. E.g. Koala poo droppings, footprints and tree scratching.
8. Act for koalas.
Play is important but teaming it up with an action builds a more meaningful experience for a child. As parents, we can model acting for wildlife and our children can join us on our journey. You may even see your child take over your enthusiasm and start to be the driving force.
- Raise money for the Australian Koala Foundation. You can ask your child how they could raise some money for Save the Koala Month. Could you get the school involved? Could your children donate a small portion of their pocket money? Go online and show your child where the money will go, how it helps koalas and why money is important to help save them.
- Keep cats and dogs in at night time. Koalas are nocturnal so keeping your pets in at night will reduce the risk of your dog or cat killing a koala.
- Report sightings of koalas for research purposes
- Keep remnant Eucalypt trees on your properties
- Build koala-friendly fencing.
- Write letters to the Australian government urging them to act for koalas by saving koala habitat. The Australian Koala Foundation has a good example letter here.
Why not spend the month doing these fun and worthwhile activities for Save the Koala Month. Not really fond of koalas? Meet one and you may just change your mind!