This is a broad theme day which can be easily suited to your child’s interest depending on which animals you focus on. My eldest son liked anything that was labelled dangerous!
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
There are many children’s songs about various animals. Check this website for a list (and lyrics) to a huge list of animal songs: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/animals.html
We found a great disc at the library called Going to the Zoo, St Clair Entertainment Group Inc., 2002 which has all animal songs sung by a variety of children’s performers (Fred Penner; Sharon, Lois and Bram; Sandra Beech; Al Simmons; Bob King; Jack Grunsky; Bob McGrath; and Norman Foote)
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions for modern songs about animals.
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in animal colouring page (or the name of a specific animal) or print out my Animals Colouring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: What is your favourite animal? What animals do you like to see at the zoo? What animals are dangerous? What animals make nice pets and why? If you could be an animal what would it be? Which animals are endangered? What can we do to protect the animals?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or a poem about animals.
Print out one of my Animal Word Searches:
Check here for the answer keys:
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any animal books.
Go to the library with your child to find some animal books on.
Go to the library on your own to find books about animals from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject. Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles:
· Animals You Never Even Heard Of, by Patricia Curtis, Sierra Club Books, 1997—This book examines 12 different species of wild animals that are rare, threatened or endangered (like the axolotl, Babirusa and Caracal to name three).
· Dangerous Animals, by Andrew Brown, Crabtree Publishing Company, 1997—Gives a brief description of 12 dangerous animals and why they are dangerous.
· Amazing Things Animals Do, by Marilyn Baillie and art by Romi Caron, Owl Books, 2003—This is an interesting book for animal lovers as it shows how many animals live together to actually help each other out like the Finch who eats the bugs on the tortoise’s shell.
· Weird Animals, by Tammy Everts and Bobbie Kalman, Crabtree Publishing, 1995—This book gives a little bit of information about over 14 different animals.
Here are some picture books:
· Animals Galore!, by Patricia macCarthy, Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989—Using silk paintings as illustrations this book is interesting because it gives the names of collections of animals (like a pride of lions, colony of penguins and a knot of toads…).
· Animals on Board, by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by R.W. Alley, Harper Collins Publishers, 1998 – A Level 2 Mathstart book this book teaches addition by counting animal statues that pass by a trucker as she drives to her destination.
· The Animals Song, by David L. Harrison and illustrated by Chris L. Demarest, Boyds Mill Press, 1997—This is a rhyming book about animal sounds as animals join in a song one by one.
· Oodles of Animals, by Lois Ehlert, Harcourt Inc., 2008 – This bright book has poems and neat collage illustrations made of paper and shapes.
· Over in the Meadow, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, Viking, 1999—This classic counting poem was one of my favourites as a little girl. There are many book versions of this poem but I like the simple and beautiful illustrations of Ezra Jack Keats in this one.
· Party Animals, written and illustrated by Katie Davis, Harcourt Brace, 2002—This colourfully illustrated book is also a counting book and a review of colours as it tells the tale of one blue ant who is sad that he is not invited to the animal party.
· Z is for Zookeeper: A Zoo Alphabet, written by Marie and Roland Smith, and illustrated by Henry Cole, 2005—As well as being an alphabet book with a rhyme for every letter, this also has a lot of information about zoos explaining what zoos do (preserving and breeding animals), what a zookeeper’s responsibilities include, as well as information about different animals, among other things.
These two are anthologies of animal poems:
· Eric Carle’s Animals, Animals, Philomel Books, 1989 – This large book has a collection of poems by various authors each accompanied with the unique illustrations of Eric Carle.
· A Zooful of Animals, selected by William Cole and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, Houghton Millin Compnay, 1992—This is a large collection of poems with fun illustrations.
Materials: Coloured paper, old magazines to cut, child safe scissors, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
· Step 1: Together with your child (or you can prep this craft before hand and do some searching and cutting on your own), search through old magazines for pictures of animals.
· Step 2: Cut out the pictures of animals and put them in a pile.
· Step 3: Let your child glue the pictures on the coloured paper in any way.
· Step 4: Display or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
ANIMAL STICKER COLLAGE:
Materials: Coloured paper, stickers with various animals on them, markers and crayons (optional).
Step 1: Give your child the stickers and paper and have him/her either make a scene or a collage with them.
Step 2 (Optional): See if your child wants to embellish the picture with markers or crayons by drawing a setting for the animals.
ELEPHANT HEAD FINGER PUPPET:
Materials: Grey paper (or use a grey crayon to colour white paper as we had to since we didn’t have any grey paper), construction paper (or use an empty cereal or cracker box), white glue, markers or crayons, a pencil, child safe scissors, a nickel and two different sizes of cups, a glue stick.
· Step 1: Help your child trace around the larger of your two cups to draw a circle on the grey paper.
· Step 2:Have your child trace around the smaller of the two cups twice to draw two smaller circles on the grey paper.
· Step 3: Have your child glue the grey paper to construction paper (or empty cereal box paper) to make it sturdier. Let it dry.
· Step 4: Help your child cut out the three circles.
· Step 5: Trace around a nickel about an inch from the bottom of the larger circle.
· Step 6: Parent Step only—Cut out the small nickel circle. This will be where your child’s finger goes as the elephant’s trunk.
· Step 7: Let your child glue the smaller circles using a glue stick to the larger circle as the elephants ears.
· Step 8: Have your child draw two eyes for the elephant on the larger circle.
· Step 9: Show your child how your finger is the elephant’s trunk by sticking it through the nickel traced hole. Let your child play with the finger puppet.
RECYCLED ANIMAL CRAFTS:
NOTE: This activity is basically letting your child’s imagination soar as the materials can be used in anyway. My eldest made a Komodo Dragon out of Styrofoam, corks, craft sticks and paint. My youngest made a giraffe out of corks (we stuck them together using toothpicks) and paint, a turtle out of Styrofoam and paint, and he made a rabbit out of a craft stick. Together we made a squirrel using a cork.
Materials: Corks, Styrofoam, pom poms, pipe-cleaners, googly eyes, craft or popsicle sticks, white glue, markers, scrap pieces of paper or material, cotton, paint (and brushes, water, waxed paper, newspaper for covering the table and art smocks or old clothes to wear), damp cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Prepare your craft area with assorted materials and work together to create the animal of your child’s choice by using the materials.
Craft stores often have many animal craft kits. Search your local craft store for foam crafts, animal stamps, wooden animals etc.
Ingredients: Canned pears, raisins, cheese, lettuce leaf.
Step 1: Lay out a lettuce leaf onto a plate.
Step 2: Place a pear half onto the leaf as the rabbit’s body.
Step 3: Arrange the raisins as the nose and two eyes on the pear.
Step 4: Cut out two rectangular shapes out of cheese for the bunny’s ears and arrange on top of the pear.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Animal shaped pasta in a can with tomato sauce.
Pigs in a Blanket – Hotdogs wrapped in refrigerated crescent roll dough.
Animal Cookies: Make some sugar cookie dough (search online or in your favourite recipe book) and use animal cookie cutters to make a delicious menagerie. Ice them with chocolate icing as brown fur!
There are all sorts of Animal cupcake designs you can find online or in different cookbooks or invent your own design using candies.
Print out my Animal Classification Worksheet and together as you read books about animals fill it out as a family.
Look on this television based site for information about many animals (wild, endangered, baby) and also games : http://animal.discovery.com/
This site by the ASPCA has activity sheets, cartoon videos among other things: http://www2.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=kids_home
A big “Thank you” to a library student named Ashley from Maine who wanted me to add a link about caring for fish in an aquarium. I couldn’t get the specific link she found to work on my site but I did find another link so I dedicate it to Ashley! http://www.freshwater-tropical-fish-care.com/
HELP THE ANIMALS:
If you are interested in adopting an endangered species look here: http://www.worldwildlife.org/ogc/index.cfm?sc=AWY1000WC912&CFID=40403625&CFTOKEN=5cb18bad2523f28-E45C666E-A883-BCA9-2D2EE2B3C41AD254
If you are planning a visit to a zoo play Zoo Bingo when you go there by printing out one of my four bingo sheets. Every time your child sees one of the animals on the sheet have him/her colour it in. Offer a prize at the end like an ice-cream or a cheap toy at the gift shop. NOTE: Many zoos have websites that list the animals you’d find there online. If an animal on the Zoo Bingo Sheet is not found at the zoo you will be visiting write a new/similar animal in the same space.
SILLY ALLITERATION ANIMAL GAME:
Take turns naming an animal, where it lives and what it eats all starting with the same letter for instance: “An alligator from Alabama eating apples.” This is a good car game for long road trips.
If your child has plastic animal figurines or animal puzzles this would be a good theme day to play with them together.
Work together to make various animals out of modelling clay or play dough (homemade or store bought).
Q: What’s a gorilla’s favourite fruit?
Q: What is a mouse’s favourite game?
A: Hide and squeak
Q: Where does a cow go for fun?
A: To the moooovies.
Q: What animal wears rubber boots?
Q: What do monkeys like to eat for dessert?
A: Chocolate Chimp Cookies.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with animals in them.
For young children try these titles:
· Baby Einstein: Neighbourhood Animals or Baby Einstein: World Animals
· Brainy Baby: Animals—Apes to Zebras
Try to find this non-fiction title at your local library:
· Animal Life in Action: Endangered & Extinct Animals (or any from the Schlessinger Science Library)
Or watch a full-length movie about animals like one of these:
· The Lion King
· The 1967 Rex Harrison version of Doctor Doolittle
Plan a day trip to the zoo to look for animals you’ve read about. Be sure to play Zoo Bingo (see above in GAMES) when you are there.
A trip to the zoo is a fun
thing to do!
Animal Sticker Collage
Recycled Animal Crafts
Elephant Finger Puppet
Pear Rabbit Snack
Photo: C Wright
Photo: C Wright
Photo: C Wright
A Giraffe at Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia