Going to the zoo is a favorite topic with our preschoolers. They visit the zoo with their families (many have zoo passes) and love to name off the animals they saw. I decided to start our school year with some zoo animal activities. I knew this would be very meaningful, getting the preschoolers excited to be involved in one of our very first group activities. After reading Zoo-Looking during circle time, we held the plastic toy versions of each animal and played a matching game. When finished, our preschoolers enjoyed some zoo small world play.
I love connecting ideas to our favorite picture books. These activities build language skills, encouraging the preschoolers to collaborate and share ideas, building their social confidence.
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What we used for this activity:
- A copy of the book Zoo-Looking, by Mem Fox
- Plastic animals that matched those in the book (we found most of ours here and here)
- A bin for small world play
- Materials of your choice to add to the bin, along with the animals
Zoo group activity:
I had our preschoolers gather on our group time rug while I read the story about Flora and her dad, who went to the zoo. We identified each animal as we turned the pages.
I then handed each child one of the animals.
As I flipped through the book again, the children matched their animals to the animals on the pages.
Zoo small world play:
Once we identified each of the animals that Flora and her dad saw, we set up our own small world zoo. I chose dried split peas for the filler. We then added some rocks, trees, and fences.
The preschoolers flipped through the book again, pointing to the play animals as they turned the pages.
We usually leave activities like this out for at least a week after they are introduced. This allows the preschoolers to revisit the book and the animals, enjoying pretend play and connecting it to their real life zoo experiences.
Here are some more books to go with a zoo theme:
More literacy fun for young children:
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