Using input from HRS educators and parents across the country, House Rabbit Society has put together a collection of programs for teaching kids of all ages about rabbits and, in particular, how to see the world through a rabbit’s eyes. These programs are designed to give parents, teachers, and club project leaders ideas on how they can teach children–both those who have rabbits and those who don’t–about the needs of wild and domestic bunnies. Included are techniques for reaching pre-school, elementary, and high school students, in one presentation or through a series of classes. Many of the exercises are imaginative and interactive, and utilize intriguing factual information, stories, role-playing, and games. For young kids, as an example, a session at “Rabbit School” is useful. It’s a way to help children appreciate and respect rabbits by showing them how to act like real rabbits. Learning why bunnies behave the way they do helps kids better understand how the world looks and feels to a rabbit.
The Real Real Thing
Photos, slides, and videos can give a much truer picture of how rabbits really act rather than looking at a bunny in a cage or only patting one on somebody’s lap. Another calm, effective method for showcasing how an authentic lagomorph moves and reacts is something we call “Rabbits in the Round,” or a Bunny Circle. For this, a group of 3-8 kids with one or more adults sits in a tight circle on the floor, legs touching and arms close, creating, in effect, a people fence.
A rabbit–plus litterbox and a few of the bunny’s toys–is placed in the center of the circle. The rules are the rabbit may go up and touch anyone she wants, but no person gets to touch the rabbit. This is one way to help focus little ones’ (as well as bigger people’s ) attention not only on what the unencumbered rabbit is doing but also helps get them in the frame of mind to consider just what bunny may be seeing, smelling, and thinking as he hops around their knees and feet. It’s also a forum for discussing general information about rabbits and for answering questions as they come up. The program packet contains additional ideas for conducting a Bunny Circle as well as for keeping it quiet and orderly.
Click here to download our TEACHING KIDS ABOUT RABBITS classroom packet.
House Rabbit Journal Volume III, Number 4, Winter 1995