We went to the zoo! At-home videos & activities for early learners

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian

Throughout the month of June, all of our videos were filmed at Brookfield Zoo. We’ll be visiting a new place every month this summer, going in-depth to highlight fun and learning for our kids. We think this new series style will start conversations and help kids explore interests, even when families aren’t able to visit zoos, museums, and other learning centers for any reason. 

The zoo was a natural first stop, especially because families with an Oak Park library card can get Museum Adventure Passes for discounted fun.

So we hope you’ll have some fun together at home with these videos and online resources!

Watch these videos

First, let’s sing with Raffi!

Then, start with our first of six episodes highlighting a variety of animals—plus dinosaurs and disappointments! Not everything is back to normal yet, because we’re not out of the pandemic just yet.

Watch all videos in the six-part series »

Want to practice identifying bugs, fish, reptiles, birds, spiders, mammals, and more around your home? Here, I demonstrate the Seek app to identify plants and flowers, but it can be used in so many ways.

Brookfield Zoo has wonderful videos to go with their exhibits!

  • Ruthie would be so excited to see this video on the Bactrian Camels we saw, not to mention the new camel grooming video they just posted. Is that grooming like what you see with dogs and cats? It reminds me a little of my dog Bingo’s grooming tool!
  • You can also learn more about Jenny’s favorite okapi, plus the painted dog pups we walked past. Jenny loves them, too.
  • In addition to all of the wonderful videos they’ve created so you can visit the zoo from home, there are also beautiful pictures organized by exhibit. This is a great way for kids to pick which animals they want to learn more about.

Try these resources with your Oak Park library card & PIN

Families also browse our databases to learn more about favorite animals. CultureGrams will give information about geographic areas where animals live. While PebbleGo (especially for kids under 8) and National Geographic Kids will give wonderful animal information. 

For reading this far, you get the news first: this July, videos will be from the Morton Arboretum, and highlight lots of summer reading activities. We can’t wait to showcase nature—and find unusual places to read!

Shelley Harris

About Shelley

Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.