A fun activity to add to a nature study or science unit is watching animals in their “natural” habitats -- animals on a farm or zoo, pets at home, wild birds that visit backyard feeders. Another good option, thanks to today’s technology, is viewing live animal web cams. There are scads of them these days that stream real-time animal activity from zoos, aquariums, and wildlife parks all around the U.S. and the world.
You can use them to have your kids make observations like scientists and record what they see in paper or electronic notebooks or logs. Examine habitats and compare to other animals; do long-term studies of particular animals; make a list of questions raised about what’s being observed. Could be something used in your own family, or with a homeschool co-op.
Here’s a list of some live web cams of an assortment of animals. I tried to pick ones that have some action. These are all real-time – as opposed to recorded video, or video that refreshes every so often. I like the real-time ones best, although the animals will sometimes walk out of the frame. If you know of any others that are especially good, please post a link.
Elephants San Diego Zoo
Penguins California Academy of Sciences; offers three views: wide, underwater, and biologist
Flying Skunk Farm Daily life in a chicken yard; you can feed the chickens by clicking on a button on the site
Steve's Ant Farm
Southeastern Guide Dogs Puppy Cam
Hornby Island Eagles When you get to the site, you'll find the eagle link and other cam options under the Live Now tab.
North American Bear Center Three bears live here: Ted, Honey and Lucky
Polar Bear San Diego Zoo
Marwell Wildlife Live cam of Coati and Pygmy Hippo; other still video cams showing lemur, gibbon, tiger, and others, refresh every five minutes