Snails are a fun and educational animal to study in preschool. Children of preschool age are fascinated by snails and enjoy learning and doing art projects about them. Snail preschool activities can be done at home or in a school setting by children ages 3 and up.
Teach the children about snails. Bring a snail or two into the classroom for the kids to watch and study. If you live where there are plenty of garden snails outside, take the kids on a walk to locate them. Talk about snail shells and how snails carry their houses on their backs. Explain to the children that snails use their shells to protect themselves from other animals. Teach them that snails that live on land eat plants. If you can, show the children a leaf containing holes a snail has eaten in it. If the children want to, and with your supervision, allow them to touch the snail shell and body. Ask them what they felt.
Read Snail Books
Read books about snails to the children and show them pictures out of books about snails. Among the many books that are appropriate for preschool aged children are "Are You a Snail?" by Judy Allen, "Mr. Coyote Meets Mr. Snail" by Storie-Jean Agapith, "Slugs and Snails" by Claire Llewellyn, "The Biggest House in the World" by Leo Lionni and "The Snail and the Whale" by Julia Donaldson.
Paper Plate Snails
Make a finger paint paper plate snail with the kids. This is a messy craft because it involves finger paints, so have the kids wear old clothes. Provide each child with a plain paper plate. Let the children finger paint the plate as they wish, then let the paint dry. Provide the children with a very large wooden tongue depressor. If you do not have tongue depressors available, use brown construction paper cut to the correct shape. Glue small plastic eyes and little black pipe cleaners for antennae on the top end of the tongue depressor. Glue the tongue depressor to one side of the paper plate, which forms the snail's shell.
Egg Carton Snails
Egg carton snails are fun and easy to make. Cut out the individual cups of an egg carton for the children. Cardboard egg cartons work best so the kids are able to colour them with markers. Give each child an egg cup from the carton. Have the kids colour and decorate the egg cups with glitter. Glue a small piece of heavy cardboard on one end that you have decorated with eyes and antennae.
Letter "S" Snails
Teach the letter "S" with a snail colouring page. The Internet has plenty of colouring pages that feature the letter "S" and snails. Print out a page for the children and let them each colour one. Have the children practice tracing and writing the letter "S" on the page.
Sand Art Snails
Snail sand art is a fun activity for preschool children. Children will learn colours, how to use glue and how to trace a circle when doing this craft. This activity takes more than one adult to help, especially if you have a large preschool group. It is best to put out only one colour of sand at a time, otherwise you will have a mess and the snails will not turn out as nice. Provide each child with a large snail outline printed on a piece of card stock paper. The shell of the snail should contain three or four circles that grow larger as they get closer to the outer edge of the shell. Give the children a glue stick and have them trace the small circle in the centre of the shell. Have them quickly sprinkle coloured sand on the glue circle. Go around the room and dump off the excess sand into the container for that colour. Have the kids draw the next circle on the snail shell, and sprinkle the next colour of sand on it. Again, go around and collect the excess sand off each snail. Continue on with the circles until the shell is finished. Use black or brown sand to complete the body and the head.