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One of the greatest things I loved about teaching was making real world connections for my students.  Kids who were less interested in school, always seemed to respond to a dose of real life.  Even after all these years my students still thank me for taking them to bigger places like, NYC.  Exposing the kids to more than what they were used to really opened doors for them.  Now that I am a mother of four, I try to incorporate the real world when parenting.

I took feverish mental notes when I was a teacher and making that connection between the lesson at hand and the real world truly makes the experience more memorable.  Lionsgate made that connection happen easily when they hosted a private screening of THE WILD LIFE including (brace yourself) a sleepover at The San Diego Zoo.

The film was brilliant.  The idea of sleeping at the Zoo after was quite the treat.  As a parent, I loved the lesson throughout the film: that the true power of friendship can persevere against all odds.  And despite the colorful cast of characters, they always exemplified the true meaning of friendship. No matter what the characters differences were, from the castaway human and the quirky animals, they learned how to survive TOGETHER by embarking on a hilarious new adventure and building the island’s first tree-house.  TheWildLife-PosterJI6A2273

I love it when I discover an opportunity to teach my children.  This movie is perfect for a few reasons when it comes to hands on learning so I suggest you get your tickets and order your popcorn, because THE WILD LIFE is the perfect lesson.

The Zoo
I highly recommend after viewing this film, you take a trip to your local zoo.  You can call ahead and see if they have the following animals.  If they don’t I provided links to the animals they will see in the film.  Reading up on them or even seeing them first hand is great way to bridge that connection to the characters and the actual animals.


Kiki – kingfisher
Epi – echidna
Carmello – chameleon
Rosie – tapir
Mak – parrot
Scrubby – goat
Pango – pangolin

The Power of Friendship
The message is clear though out the film’s plot: that no matter the obstacle, you too can uncover the power of friendship.  With the start of a new school year, our kids are experiencing the ebb and flow of new beginnings.  This is the perfect time to have a discussion about what it means to be a good friend.  It feels quite triumphant when my kids exhibit critical thinking behavior so I always like to challenge their sweet little minds.  To have good friends and to be a good friend is a great start to maintaining harmony in their life.  I inhaled the storyline of THE WILD LIFE and came up with some key questions for the children.  These are also great journal prompts for your budding writers.

*What qualities do you look for in a friend?
*How can you be a better friend?
*Do you think you’re a good friend and why?
*How can you tell the difference between true friends and false friends?  (This one is great to connect to the savage cats Mal & May)
*Do you think its important to have friends?
*Have you ever been excluded from a group and how does that make you feel? What did you learn from that?
*Have you ever been excluded from a group? What happened? How did you feel? What should we learn from that?
*What did you learn from the movie?TheWildLife-Image1JI6A2284 JI6A2400

Sleeping at The San Diego Zoo was no less than class A!  It was perfect for me who prefers to glamp more than camp and was the perfect setting for my imaginative little ones who pretended they too were in the film.  This 24 hour experience was well-organized and the staff was beyond gracious.  Even though a few braved the worm eating challenge (gross), our meals were deliciously prepared always ending in a camp out favorite, s’mores by the fire.

The entire experience was centered around the film, which really made participation more memorable.   Our children were smiling from ear to ear when they saw the actual animals from THE WILD LIFE.  The animal presentations inspired by the film included the macaw (Mak), pangolin (Pango), echidna (Epi), and the kingfisher (Kiki).  Our kids got a chance to work as a team during the arts and crafts, the nighttime tour and scavenger hunt led by our Australian guide.

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What a privilege we have as parents to help our children realize their potential by teaching and providing educational experiences.  Sure, there is always that strong desire to do most for them, but once we let them embrace discovery and discuss their findings is when real learning takes place.  I am constantly surprised at the confidence they gain through valuable experiences with me by their side.  The tale of THE WILD LIFE really enabled my children to explore how they can rise above any obstacle and exhibit good qualities they too would want in a friend.

THE WILD LIFE will be in theaters this Friday September 9th. You can download free coloring pages here.  What I love about my job:  THE WILD LIFE would like to give one lucky CityGirlGoneMom reader a swag bag including a drawstring tote, t-shirt, plush toy, and a coloring book.  All you have to do is:

  • Follow both @citygirglonemom & @thewildlife on instagram
  • Post a photo of your little one and hashtag it #thewildlifeswag
    Winner announced in seven days!  Good Luck!


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