During half term we were invited to a number of events including the Shrek Adventure and the theatre experience ‘Invisible Treasure’ but I think that the one that captured all of our attention was getting up close to some real-life bats courtesy of the app that appeals to children of all ages, Animal Jam.
Animal Jam was launched by WildWorks, a gaming company known to deliver cutting-edge games, in 2010. Players customise animal characters, decorate their own dens, socialise, play games, complete quests and feed their curiosity. The goal of Animal Jam is to inspire children to explore and protect the natural world outside their own doors, making science accessible and fun! Created in partnership with National Geographic, Animal Jam features classic playground role play, infused with the life sciences – players can collect fun facts in their journey books, learn about Animal Conservation in Kimbara Outback and talk to real scientists. Animal Jam offers robust safety options which are constantly being optimised based on parent feedback and regularly produces educational content for players and parents about digital citizenship and online safety. Reaching more than 35 million users this year, in 228 countries, Animal Jam is the number one web-based game and social network for kids in the world – and the amount of UK ‘Jammers’ is growing! WildWorks also recently launched Animal Jam – Play Wild!, a mobile 3D version of Animal Jam, which is available for free in the iTunes App Store for the iPad, and will be available on Android devices soon.
Grace was particularly excited about meeting the bats. At the age of 8 years old, she is a big animal fan. She adopted a snow leopard as part of her Christmas present last year, adores our cat Gypsy, still misses our cat, Muse, and has told me that she would like to be part of the rescue team for the RSPCA when she grows up.
The event took place at the Ecological Centre in Holland Park, London. It was a fascinating place, perfect for any budding David Attenborough types! Upon arrival we were met with a table of cakes and snacks (always popular at any blogger event) and the girls then walked into the larger room, fascinated by the animals on display. On the long table in front of us there were 6 baskets all containing at least one bat waiting to meet us.
Around 20 of us sat down to listen to Jenny Clark, a bat expert who founded the Sussex Bat Hospital, and was awarded an MBE last year for over 30 years in honour of her kind and caring service. I have never seen Grace and Emily so engaged in listening to someone speak before. I could have listened to this lady talk all day. She was so full of so many interesting facts and figures and really knew her stuff. She also spoke beautiful received pronunciation and I willed the girls to take this in as the perfect way to speak. Such a lovely example to set.
Some bat facts for you:
- A quarter of the all the mammals in the world are bats
- Bats have been around for 100 million years
- There are 1,300 different types of bats. 3 of those are vampire bats
- There are 17 different breeding species in the UK
- Each different species eat different insects
- They mate in the Autumn and the gestation period is around 6 months
- Bats are the slowest reproducing mammals on Earth. At birth, a baby weighs up to 25 percent of its mother’s body weight, which is like a human mother giving birth to a 31 pound baby!
- Their babies are born in a similar way to a marsupials
The bats were extremely cute and the way in which Jenny handled them and spoke to them was so lovely.
When Grace chatted to Jenny, she explained to her that she first encountered bats in France when we were on holiday just over two years ago. They swooped very low towards her head. Jenny explained to her that this is because ‘bats are our friends. They can see the insects buzzing around your head wanting to bite you and, because of this, the bats know where to find them and come and eat them before they get you!’. Grace is now going around telling everyone that bats are our friends and also includes the reason why.
After the talk, the girls had a chance to have a quick play on Animal Jam before we were presented with goody bags ahead of our journey home.
We had a lovely afternoon and we want to say a big thank you to Animal Jam and their representatives for inviting us to this event.
Where to find details on Animal Jam
Twitter – @AnimalJam
Facebook – facebook.com/PlayAnimalJam