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Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

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Boto © Fernando Trujillo

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Tokitae in captivity

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Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

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Fun whale and dolphin ideas for children during lockdown

I’ve got four daughters at home, itching to get back to school and university, so I am all too familiar with the challenges faced by families after weeks of lockdown. So if you’re looking for something new, motivating and still educational to keep your children challenged and inspired then look no further than our Dolphin Defenders Award.  

The activities are entertaining and kids will enjoy learning about whales and dolphins and their remarkable lives in the ocean.

Dolphin Defenders cartoon

Dolphin Defenders is the ideal lockdown boredom-buster and all kids receive a certificate and a badge on completion.

Like us, whales and dolphins live long lives, are social and intelligent.  They problem-solve, care for one another, express emotions and have cultures. They also hold several world records, possess superpowers, and do wonders for the environment; not least combating the climate crisis!

Our Dolphin Defenders Award is easy to complete at home and consists of three challenges – Discovery, Action and Fundraising. Isla Williams (12) was our very first Dolphin Defender. She loves whales and dolphins and adopts Fife the orca with WDC. When she heard about Dolphin Defenders, she knew she wanted to take part. She told me:  ‘For the Discovery challenge I did a project on oceans and created an ocean life poster.  For Action I’ve made several videos all about dolphins and I’ve set up a whale and dolphin environmental club at school to help spread the word.  For Fundraising I did a sponsored swim (before lockdown!)’

Isla was our first Dolphin Defender
Isla was our first Dolphin Defender

How about encouraging your children to have a go? It’s simple to get started and absorbing to get stuck in to with an Award to achieve at the end of it, complete with certificate and badge.

Every Dolphin Defender gets a certificate and badge

Here are the three stages each Dolphin Defender needs to do:

1.  Discovery

Visit our online presentation of the Discovery (learning) challenge to hear a teacher explain each topic

2.  Action

There are plenty of tips for children to get involved and take action to help make the world a safer place for whales and dolphins and people too.

3.  Fundraising

Children can be very creative and here are eight easy lockdown fundraising ideas to get you started:

Set your child a challenge and sponsor them for it

Something helpful: bake a cake or biscuits, clean a room, or the car, clean out their guinea pig.

Something energetic: hula-hooping, goal-scoring, scootering, skipping, running, jumping, or walking.

Something creative:  making birthday cards, or homemade gifts to sell later.

Sheldon and Pearl made an awesome plastic whale
Sheldon and Pearl made an awesome plastic whale

It’s easy to set up a JustGiving page and encourage family and friends to sponsor your children.

Sponsored silence: the ultimate challenge for a child, and peace for everyone else at home!  Sponsor your children to keep quiet all day.  They could go totally incommunicado and spend the day without mobile phones, TV or laptops too! 

Donate your birthday: as we can’t have regular birthday parties with friends and family, why not ask everyone to donate to WDC in your honour instead of buying a birthday gift?

Collect change: collect everyone’s loose change in a WDC coin box – to order your free box, please 01249 449 500 or email events@whales.org   Anyone can put their spare coins into the box. Don’t forget to check down the back of the sofa for lost money too!

Draw a chalk outline of a whale or dolphin on your driveway or use a piece of string to make the outline indoors.  Then place the coins along the outline (if you have some left you can fill the dolphin in too). Then add up the coin total and donate online or send us a cheque.

Clear out and cash in: ask you child to sort unwanted toys, books and games and, after lockdown, they can sell the items at a future school event, car boot sale or driveway stall.

Be creative: use this time to make some things to sell and do after lockdown. Paint stones, make friendship bracelets, keyrings, whale pom-poms, bookmarks and Christmas decorations.

Aiofe made these gorgeous clay orcas
Aiofe made these gorgeous clay orcas

Join the WDC Great Migration: walk as a family – either add up the distance walked over a number of days or embark on one mammoth stroll. For a real challenge, over a month or several weeks, children could complete the distance a dolphin can swim in one day.

Do a Virtual Mountain Climb: why not climb the equivalent of your local hill, or mountain on the stairs? Dolphin Defenders and sisters, Bethany, Hannah and Rachel did just that and raised a fantastic £139.67 for WDC.

Once they have completed all three challenges, please forward details to splash@whales.org, and we will send every child a Dolphin Defenders Award certificate and metal dolphin badge to celebrate their achievement.

For many of our children there is no end in sight to home-schooling.  This challenge award is a perfect way for children to beat the lockdown boredom and immerse themselves in the amazing lives of whales and dolphins.  I can guarantee your kids  will learn new things and be proud to share their Dolphin Defenders achievements with their teachers and friends.

Could your child be a Dolphin Defender?

It's fun, challenging and helps whales and dolphins too!

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