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All About Bats: A Few Batty Resources to Use with Children & for Families


A FEW BATTY RESOURCES

a small brown bat cave roosting bat keystone species
arbordayblog.org   Photo from Protecting Our Keystone Species Article by Jennifer Moon on the Arbor Day Blog

Part II

LEARNING ABOUT BATS

If you were with us on the first post of All About Bats, Welcome back! If not, you can catch up here.
Bats are amazing mammals. Spend some time this year getting to know them. If you homeschool, you can incorporate practically every subject into a bat unit, including ethics and emotions, in a way that it doesn’t even seem like you are studying a specific subject. It’ll just feel like a fun and interesting time learning about bats!  But isn’t that the way some of the best learning happens?
This post is really more of a collection of resources you can use for a homeschool unit or just as a family wanting to learn more about these amazing creatures we really can't live without. 

 BAT VIEWING

A Place for Bats Book Cover Cave Roosting Bats
Bats at Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas from the book A Place for Bats by Melissa Stewart

Bracken Caves Bat Viewing

This link will take you to a 360-degree view of one of my favorite places I used to bat watch when I lived in Central Texas: Bracken Caves near San Antonio.
 Bat Conservation International & Bracken Cave Preserve
 
 

Congress Avenue Bridge Bat Viewing

And this link will take you to my favorite urban bat colony to watch in Central Texas and one I was lucky enough to intern at with biologists studying bats: Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. 
 bats

FUN BAT VIDEOS FOR KIDS

The Bat Squad Videos for Kids

In case you haven't figured it out, I think bats are pretty special. Here are a couple more bat videos that are particularly fun for elementary aged children: The Bat Squad, videos for children starring children, Hey Bats, What’s Your Habitat? and Amazing Bats!
 

BAT HOUSES

WOODWORKING FOR BATS = IMMERSIVE EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN 

Mathematical Operations, Fractions, Measurement, Woodworking Skills, Heat Transfer, Heat Reflection versus Absorption, Sequencing, Diagrams, Air Currents, Textures, Wood Types, Surface Area…Yes, You guessed it! We are building a bat house. 

Building a Great Bat House

We like to add a bat house every other year where we live to give bats a safe place to hang out. Look at all those important concepts in the sub-title above that children can practice and learn if they build a bat house with you! That doesn't include all the other overlaps and opportunities that will happen when studying bats.

Buying a Great Bat House

The video link in the previous section will help you understand what makes a good bat house because there are a lot out there for sale that aren't that great. Building your own allows you to customize it for your region too. Building the bat house large enough and with the correct air flow and layers is critical to your bat house being successful.  If you would rather purchase one, do some research with my links below so you don’t get stuck with one that is doomed to fail from the beginning. They do work if built correctly! 

Why Bat House Size Does Matter

Here's another link about why bat house size matters or watch the video here below. 

Here is a video about the giant bat houses in Florida that get quite the viewing audience each night. 

Where You Can find Bat House Plans

Free Plans

You can also visit Bat Conservation International if you'd like some free bat house plans from expert Merlin Tuttle and BCI, and I included a free bat house building resource guide below in the links for parents. Our children loved hammering and sawing anytime we built bat houses with them, and our grandchildren do too now. It’s a great handcraft skill to teach children (fully supervised, of course) and even preschoolers can participate.  We think you’ll love it, as well.

Purchased Plans

You can purchase plans online. Just make sure you look at your state department of fish and wildlife website to see if there is anything additional or different you need to do to your bat house for the area you live within. I haven't yet found a book version that meets or exceeds the free plans online from the various bat research organizations and the Department of Fish and Wildlife in each state. 

 
 

MORE BAT RESOURCES (plus a bit more about woodworking with children)


Woodworking with Children Resources

If you click on a book cover, it will take you to a page with a description. These are not necessarily about building a bat house as they are just continuing on building with your children and family.
Woodworking with Children
Woodworking with Children by Anette Grunditz and Ulf Erixon, Floris Books, Ages 6-12 yrs. 
Easy Birdhouses and Feeders
Easy Birdhouses and Feeders by Michael Berger, Cool Springs Press, Written for Adults, Use with Families, 2014
            
  diy Birdhouses

Audubon Birdhouse Book, Revised by Margaret A. Barker and Elissa Ruth Wolfson; Cool Springs Press; Written for Adults to use Alone or with family and friends, 2021

Online Bat Resources For Children

Bat Resources For Parents

  • Bat Builder’s Handbook: find more building plans for different bat houses here including color recommendations for your temperature zone region, experiments, FAQs and more
  • Bats 101 from Bat Conservation International
  • Bat Garden Guide is a more in-depth guide for planning a bat garden, including what kind of plants work best in each region of the U.S.
  • Background Information for Homeschool Parents: Get to Know the Faces of Bat Week Free Recorded Bat Webinar, Learn about bats so you can teach your children
  • Background Information for Homeschool Parents: Learn and Share About the Benefits of Bats
  • Check out your Department of Fish and Wildlife for resources in your area. Here’s one we use from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Bat Week website, Bat Week is October 24 - 31 each year, but you can sign up on the website to receive information for next year.
  • Bat Recipe Book: A cookbook of goodies & treats made with bat-dependent ingredients.
  • National Wildlife Federation's Night Friends, American Bats Online Resource book (free)

BAT CITIZEN SCIENCE RESOURCES

 

Bat Picture Book Resources

Stellaluna
              Stellaluna by Janelle Cannon--Stellaluna is praised for its accurate drawings of bats and though this is a fictional story for young children, it helps remove negative stereotypes about bats. Cannon was inspired in her artwork by the Gambian epauletted fruit bats.
 
Night Song
Nightsong by Ari—A fictional story about the real use of bat echolocation.
Fiona the Fruit Bat
Fiona the Fruit Bat by Dan Riskin, Greystone Kids, Ages 4 - 7 years 
 
Bat Citizens, Defending the Ninjas of the Night by Rob Laidlaw, Pajama Press, Ages 7 - 10 yrs. 
 
Bat Loves the Night by Nicola Davies--An accurate description of bats and bat behaviors using the tiny Pipistrille Bats (bumblebee bats) as inspiration. 
Bats by Gail Gibbons—Nonfiction book about the amazing bat!  
A Place For Bats Childrens Book about Cave Dwelling Bats
A Place for Bats by Melissa Stewart--Nonfiction book about bats, using illustrated scenes of actual bat colonies in real places.  Award Winning Book                    

Enjoy. And spread some batty love around!


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