Whether it's going to the zoo or walking to the waterfront to feed the ducks, I try and schedule a day for Lincoln to be around animals weekly. Not only are animals fun to be around, but it's possible that they help boost your child's development with respect to learning and in other aspects like developing skills such as empathy and responsibility. Do you ever notice that children are naturally drawn to animals? I know that when Lincoln sees a dog, he excitedly repeats "dog" "dog" "dog", until he can go up to the dog and pet it. The dog may lick him and he happily smiles and shies away, yet returns to the dog for more interaction.
Animal-child interaction is imperative. Cate and I encourage you to introduce a cross section of animals into your child's life as much as possible. Whether it be at the zoo, at the park, on a farm - you name it - surrounding your child with animals will teach him or her important life skills, boosting developmental milestones.
Yesterday, Lincoln and I enjoyed a fun walk down to the waterfront. We brought two slices of Ezekiel bread (the butts) to feed the ducks. There is nothing sweeter than watching Lincoln laugh and dance, reacting to the joys of being surrounded by the ducks. The mere act of feeding the birds teaches him responsibility; that we as humans can help and care for animals. The act of watching the ducks glide through the water shows him how different creatures move in their own unique way. The act of listening to the ducks quack teaches him the unique sound that ducks make. The act of seeing the different types of birds - seagulls and mallards - teaches him that there are several different kinds of birds in the world. There are so many fun lessons that children learn when you expose them to different kinds of animals.