Show kids the secret lives of animals this fall

Animal behavior gets really wild as critters prepare for colder temperatures. Here's how to teach children to observe these amazing antics.

Kids might not love the shorter and colder days as we head into fall, but here’s one thing they might like: Almost all wild animals are up to some pretty interesting behavior they can observe.

Animals don’t have a wall calendar, so their autumn behavior is tied to the weather: Cooler temperatures and fewer hours of sunlight signal it’s time to prepare for winter. “You don't have as many warming hours with the sun,” says David Drake, a wildlife specialist at the University of Wisconsin. “So that tells the animals, ‘If you're going to migrate, it's time to start thinking about getting ready.’”

Encouraging kids to watch what animals are doing can foster important life skills like observation, focus, and even empathy. And if they look closely enough, they’ll discover that the animals are doing a lot. Here are some key critters to look for and their telltale signs that winter is coming.

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