Before you plan a family visit to the Mammal Hall at the National Museum of Natural History, spend some time exploring the Mammal Family Reunion web feature.
Certainly, your child will be surprised to learn that humans are mammals, along with dogs, dolphins, kangaroos, and so many other animals-- many we may not think to compare ourselves to. The interactive game guides your child through the characteristics of a mammal, the evolution of mammals, and the places in the world where mammals live.
Along the way, there are many opportunities to interact with the game-- whether by selecting animals who are members of the mammal family or dragging a temperature bar up to see how different animals' blood temperature responds (mammals are warm blooded, so their blood temperature will always stay the same).
You will want to be nearby when your child plays, as the success of some of the features are a little sensitive to where the mouse points on the screen. It's also a good idea to be nearby in order to reinforce the language. Although the game is written on an accessible level, there are still some scientific terms which may be difficult for some children without an adult's help.
This is a great way to prepare for a visit to the Mammal Hall, but it also stands alone as a fun way to learn about mammals without leaving your home.
You can find the game on the museum's website here: Mammal Family Reunion
For information about visiting the National Museum of Natural History, see here.
If you are interested in past web features, click here.