This week we celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22. This is a special day when we bring awareness to environmental issues, including the loss of habitat and animal extinction. We live among the trees, creatures, and critters and we must do our part to keep them safe. In Judaism, treating animals with respect and kindness is very important. Some of our biblical heroes, like Jacob and Moses, were shepherds who treated their animals with love and care. The law in Judaism to prevent the suffering of living creatures is called Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim (ethical treatment of animals).
This week’s activities will focus on caring for the creatures and critters that live alongside us!
And, don’t forget to check out what’s happening around our community and join in on our congregations virtual programs!
Activity 1: Birdfeeder
Make a bird feeder using materials found in your home to feed our local birds. Fun fact: did you know that in Jewish folklore, birds were thought to have supernatural knowledge because they fly in the sky?
- Cut a piece of wire or pipe cleaner about 40cm long
- String cereal and dried fruit (such as raisins) or fresh fruit onto 30cm of the wire
- Twist the wire into a circle and use the 10cm part of the wire without food to hang onto a tree branch where birds spend time
- Hang outside and watch the birds that come to eat the food
- 40cm piece of wire that can be bent (if you do not have wire, use a pipe cleaner)
- Cereal, dried fruit or fresh fruit
- Wire cutter
Activity 2: Habitat Build
The Talmud tells us that every living creature has a purpose. Each of them play a vital role in our ecosystem. Get to know the animals that live in your local area and make the perfect home for them!
- Check out the description of the chipmunk (found below) and learn what they need for the perfect shelter
- Gather materials in your backyard or a nearby park that can be used to create a mini shelter for the chipmunk
- Show off your shelter to your family
- Do you want to build more shelters? Choose a different animal to build a shelter for. Research using the internet or a field guide all about the animal and their habitat needs. Think about how to keep them safe, warm, and fed.
- Natural materials you gather in your backyard or nearby park
(such as sticks, rocks, and leaves)
- Field guide or internet to choose your own animal to research (optional)
Chipmunk (use this description to build the shelter)
Chipmunks are rodents, and they are members of the same animal family as squirrels. There are over 20 species of chipmunks, and nearly all these species live throughout North America. The rest are found in Asia. Their coloring helps to camouflage them from predators such as snakes, coyotes, and birds of prey. They have sharp teeth, which help them to chew food and gnaw through different materials. They also have pouches in their cheeks allowing them to carry quite a bit of food at one time. Chipmunks are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals. They often eat seeds, nuts, and grasses, as well as the eggs of birds, insects, and even small frogs.
Chipmunks survive in wild areas like forests or in trees and bushes in urban areas. They feel most at home with plenty of ground cover, including logs, trees, stumps, shrubs and rocks. Chipmunks also build burrows or tunnels underground. They build two types 1) shallow burrows in which they seek refuge while foraging during the day, 2) deeper, more complex burrows where they nest, store food and spend most of the winter months.
Activity 3: Drawing Animals
There are many drawing video tutorials on Youtube. Just grab your pencils, crayons, markers and start experimenting.
Here are a few videos to start:
Learn how to draw a unicorn
Learn how to draw a beaver
Learn how to draw a moose
There are many more options to search and try out. Have fun!
Thank you for participating in our take home activities this week and doing your part to help animals in your local neighbourhood. Stay tuned for more at home activities coming out next week!