I’ve never met a preschooler that didn’t love a trip to the zoo. We are so fortunate to have a pretty fabulous zoo close to home so we take full advantage of that and visit every few weeks or so. Madelynn always loves seeing what the animals are up to, so I knew this theme would be TONS of fun!
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Here were our plans for our zoo theme:
And here are the details for each activity:
Zoo Story Sequencing:
Our first read aloud this week was 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle. After reading Madelynn used the pictures to retell the story in order. When she had trouble remembering which animal was next I had her count the animals to put them in the right numerical order.
Color Zoo Vocabulary:
Our next story was Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert. While reading I used picture cards to reinforce new words. Afterwards Madelynn matched the words to the pictures using the beginning sounds as a clue.
Zoo Story Elements:
Next we read Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman. After reading we talked about and defined the elements of a story (characters, setting, problem solution.) Then Madelynn drew pictures to show each element from the story.
Zoo Animal Inferring:
Our last book was Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andrae. First we discussed the animals that live in the zoo Then I read the poems 1 at a time without showing the illustrations. Madelynn used the clues in the text along with what she knew to infer the type of animal and draw it on her response page. She loved when I showed her the picture to check if she was right.
Our last book was this letter Z for Zoo alphabet reader. Madelynn identified the picture then pointed to each word as she read. Since we switched to the more difficult version she is working on learning new sight words each week. Afterwards she colored all of the pictures in.
Color By Syllable Zoo:
This week we focused on syllables so we started with this color by code elephant. Madelynn looked small pictures in the larger picture, and clapped to count the number of syllables. Then she followed the directions to make each spot the correct color.
Zoo Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make a Z. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase z’s in the zoo, stamp them and make the “Z” sound each time. Then she stamped the other letters different colors and tried to make the sounds for each one.
Zoo Syllable Sort:
Another activity we did to practice syllables was this zoo syllable sort. Madelynn clapped and counted the number of syllables in the picture on each animal belly. Then she sorted each animal under the correct syllable label.
Zoo Train Name Craft:
For this week’s name craft we created this zoo train. First Madelynn cut the train pieces out. Then she wrote the letters in her name on each car. After she finished writing, she glued the train pieces together and added the cars to the back in order to spell her name. To finish off the picture she used a black marker to draw a train track at the bottom and animal stickers riding in each car.
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to design and label a zoo. After drawing a big arch for the entrance, she labeled it “zoo.” Next she added a lion (lon), penguin(pn), and giraffe(gf) and did her best at labeling those as well.
Zoo Number Writing Tray:
Our first math activity this week was a zoo themed number writing tray. To make this fun sensory activity I filled our tray with green sand. Madelynn used animal number cards as a model and chose which ones she wanted to practice. Then she used a zoo animals and/or her finger to write numbers in the tray.
Roll and Move 3D Shapes:
Our other math focus this week was identifying and describing 3D shapes. I printed animal and 3D shape dice. Then I spread foam 3D shapes around the room. Madelynn rolled both dice. Then she pretend to be the animal pictured (bear walks, penguin waddles, etc.) and moved to find the 3D shape pictured.
3D Shape Animal Sort:
Next, we did a 3D shape sort with the animal cages and sorting animals. Madelynn identified the 3D shape on each animals belly. Then she sorted each animal into the cage with the matching 3D shape.
3D Shape Zoo Cages:
Our last 3D shape activity was Zoo 3D shape cage building. I printed 3D shape cards for Madelynn to use as a model and she used playdough and toothpicks to create each shape. Then she had fun putting her plastic zoo animals in their new cages.
Zoo Animal Counting Book:
Finally, Madelynn practiced counting numbers 11-20 with this zoo animal counting book. I helped her read the sentence on each page. Then she used crayons to color or add the correct number of spots, stripes, etc. to each animal.
Build a Zoo Sensory Bin:
In this bin: black beans, alphabet zoo animals, plastic fences, trees, alphabet puzzle
Since we used our alphabet zoo animals, after playing and building zoo exhibits, Madelynn matched each animal to the beginning sound using our puzzle.
Build a Shape Animal:
After reading Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert we were inspired to create our own shape animals. I filled a tray with colorful cut outs in varying shapes and sizes. Madelynn used shapes to create animals resembling those in the book
Animal Characteristics Sort:
To add in more vocabulary practice, we talked about different types of animal coverings (fur, feathers, scales, etc). We took turns describing animals that have each one of these coverings, then Madelynn sorted the pictures onto the correct mats.
Giraffe Finger Paint:
For our second craft this week, we created this finger paint giraffe. First, Madelynn cut out the giraffe outline. Next she dipped her finger in brown paint and stamped on the giraffe to create spots. Then she cut out and snipped brown paper to create the giraffe’s mane. Finally she glued the mane behind the giraffe’s head, added googly eyes to the face and taped 2 pipe cleaners behind the head for horns.
Play Dough Zoo:
Then check out the rest of our 45+ themes on the Preschool Curriculum Main Page.
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