Zoo animals and antics are well-loved among preschool children. Children enjoy imitating zoo animal sounds and body movements even before they enter preschool, particularly with playful songs such as "Five Little Monkeys." Introduce an assortment of creative zoo animal activities to supplement preschool lessons and delight each learner's imagination.
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Zoo Stories and Snacks
Read a zoo story, such as, "Zoo," by Gail Gibbons or "Dear Zoo," by Rod Campbell. Let the children help you make a special zoo snack that looks like a zoo animal in a cage. The children can spread frosting, cream cheese or peanut butter on a graham cracker. After placing an animal cracker on top, put black liquorice strings over the animal cracker to make the cage. Another delicious snack uses bananas, peanut butter, honey and crispy rice cereal. Let the children insert a Popsicle stick in one end of a halved banana. Ask them to spread peanut butter on the banana then add honey. Roll the bananas in crispy rice cereal and freeze them before serving.
Sponge Paint And Fingerprint Giraffes
Cut giraffe shapes out of orange or yellow construction paper. Pour black paint into foam trays or jar lids. Grasp a cotton ball with a clothes pin then show each child how to dip the cotton ball into the black paint and make spots on the giraffes. The children can also use their hands to make fingerprint giraffes with black, non-toxic paint or an ink pad on yellow paper. Trace a giraffe shape around the fingerprints. Help the children cut out the giraffes then glue them onto sheets of construction paper for the background.
Zoo Picnic Activity
Ask the children to bring one of their favourite stuffed zoo animals from home. Have a zoo animal picnic in the classroom or outside. Schedule the picnic to coincide with the children's lunch time or serve a snack, such as animal crackers with milk. Talk about what kinds of foods their stuffed zoo animals would eat in the zoo.
Polar Bear Science Activity
Read "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?" by Eric Martin, Jr. then give each child a polar bear colouring page. Ask the children how they stay warm in cold weather. Talk about how the polar bear's thick fur and a layer of fat under the bear's skin help keep it warm in a cold environment. Put a zippered plastic bag inside of another identical bag. Put shortening inside one of the bags then seal the bags together. Gently knead the shortening inside the bags to distribute it evenly. Fill a container with ice water. Let a child place one hand in the bag and then into the water. Tell him to place his other hand into the water. Ask the child to share with the class which hand feels colder. Talk about how the shortening is like a layer of fat, protecting the child's hand from the effects of the cold water.
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