Preschoolers should learn about the different animals that are present in our world today. These animals can usually be seen and observed in zoos, however if a trip to the zoo can’t be done, there are activities that a preschool teacher can do to introduce the different zoo animals to the kids without having the need to leave the classroom.
However before doing any zoo related activity, telling the children the basic descriptions of a zoo as a place where different animals can be seen and where these animals are taken care of should be done. The roles of the veterinarian and zoo keepers which are animal doctors and people who take care of the animals respectively should also be described accordingly. You should also be able to emphasize to the children that keeping the animals in a zoo allows them to be safe especially the wild and endangered animals which are protected from extinction. After explaining these things to the students in the most creative way possible, doing the activity should be done next.
This first fun activity involves making the different animals using art materials. There are a lot of animals which can be made and each animal should be described and discussed accordingly.
An easy example is making a reindeer. You would need black, brown, tan and white construction papers, markers and scissors. Both hands of the child should be traced onto the tan construction paper. After which, the pattern should be cut out. The same thing should be done with a shoe on the brown paper. The two hand patterns should then be glued onto the narrower part of the shoe pattern. Eyes and mouth should also be made from the different colored papers and glued on the shoe pattern. The reindeer is already ready showing the kids that reindeers have antlers.
Other animals can be made in such a way that they would have other uses like dangling snakes which can be room decorations and elephant pencil holders which is also a nice method of recycling items. The most important thing in doing these activities is asking the kids to participate even through simple coloring or pasting for the kids to have their focus on the lesson and for them to really enjoy.
A “cook-and-eat” Activity
Since eating while learning is fun, learning while eating would be a nice activity for preschoolers. To avoid heavy clean up after classes, taping plastic covers on the table would be a good thing to do.
The first food to make is reindeer bread using brown bread as the body, raisins as eyes, pretzels as antlers, marshmallows as mouth and peanut butter. The bread should be sliced diagonally to obtain two triangles. The kids should do the spreading of the peanut butter on their slices and decorating their bread reindeers accordingly.
The next food is polar bear bread using bread which is cut in two circular sizes using a cookie cutter and black olives in different shapes as eyes (sliced), nose (whole) and mouth (thinly sliced) and grated cheese which would be the fur. The bigger circular bread would serve as the body, a smaller circle would be the head and two more small circles would serve as the ears. These are all placed in a plate and decorated with grated cheese and the olives.
Another food activity that would allow children to learn is by using animal crackers which come in different shapes, lettuce and chicken. Two plates are each given to a student: one is filled with lettuce while the other is filled with chicken. The child is then asked on which of the animals eat lettuce and which eat meat. They should then be classified as herbivores and carnivores animals that eat plants and animals that eat other animals respectively.
Assemble and Match
When the activity involves matching pictures and assembling puzzles, the children can easily remember the lesson because of the visual cues. Two activities under this section include matching the animal parents with their kids and assembling animal puzzles. Both activities are easy. By using the pictures of animals, the children could mix and match the pairs of parent and young. For puzzles the large animal pictures could be cut into two and shuffled on a table full of other pieces of pictures. Matching and assembling the puzzle would be a nice activity for the kids.
The last set of activities discussed in this article can be considered interactive games such as sound games, kangaroo games, monkey games and zoo keeper games. Interactive games are one of the most effective techniques in teaching small children.
The sound game is a teaching technique to inform the kids of the different sounds that animals make by showing a picture and asking them to listen to the sound you’ll make or asking them on what they think is the animal sound.
The kangaroo game is a relay that should be done outdoors. This is done so the children would know the nature of the kangaroos in rearing their young which is by placing them in their pouches and showing them the main mode of movement of the animals which is through hopping.
The zoo keeper game is another activity which can test the children’s knowledge about the different animals by asking them to tell a story about an animal they love to take care of in an imaginary scenario where they are the zoo keepers. Another version of the game is allowing the kids to make different animals sounds and making the “it” catch all the animals by identifying them and placing them in zoo cages which is the responsibility of a zoo keeper.
Lastly, the monkey game is aimed to teach children of the imitating ability of monkeys. The game is played in a circle where the leader monkey would do actions that the other monkeys should follow.
Aside from the activities mentioned in this article, there are a lot more things that you, as a preschool teacher can choose from. Nursery rhymes, songs with actions, story telling, puppets and other creative methods of teaching are the best methods to make small children learn about the different zoo animals and their importance in our world.
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