Tag Archives: zoo theme

Fun with Toddlers – Animal Theme

Crafts to Do

Make a clothespin creature: With clothespins, pipe cleaners, cardstock, googly eyes, pompoms and more, there are so many creatures you can create! (You can find sources for all these ideas on my Pinterest page at www.pinterest.com/bcparented/clothespin-creatures/)

Do animal facepaint and/or make animal costumes. Read the book Fraidyzoo by Heder. (It’s available at the King County library) It’s all about making crazy animal costumes out of materials you have around the house or can find in your recycling bin. See what animal costumes you can create!

Invitations to Play

Put out a collection of toy animals, and materials to build a habitat with or build a zoo or farm. This could be a playdough activity, or you could put items in a sensory bin with beans or rice, or could be nature play with sticks and rocks, or combined with building toys such as Duplos.

Learning Activities

  • Sorting. There are so many sorting activities you can do with toy animals. Put them in a pile, and ask your child to sort: farm animals from zoo animals, or mammals from non-mammals, or things that climb trees from things that swim, or sort by color or size.
  • Animal Sounds. Show your child pictures of animals, and teach your child animal sounds. Then ask your child “what noise does a cow make?” Praise them when they say moo. And so on. Children can often make recognizable animal sounds before they have much language, so it’s a fun way to see how much your child really understands. If you want your child to speak multiple languages, ask the question in other languages (like “Que dice la vaca?”). They will learn the answer is also moo. This helps them start making connections between meaning in the different languages.

Songs to Sing

  • To the tune of Wheels on the Bus: “The lions at the zoo say roar roar roar, roar roar roar, roar roar roar. The lions at the zoo say roar roar roar all day long.” Repeat with any animal sound you want.
  • Old McDonald. Old McDonald had a farm. E I E I O // And on that farm there was a cow. E I E I O // With a moo moo here and a moo moo there. // Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo. // Old McDonald had a farm. E I E I O
  • Three little monkeys. Three little monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell off and bumped his head. Mama called the doctor and the doctor said: “No more monkeys jumping on the bed”.

Books to Read

  • Dear Zoo by Campbell. Fabulous lift the flap. “I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet…” See what they send!
  • Good Night, Gorilla by Rathmann. A charming (mostly) wordless book about a gorilla escaping its cage.
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? or Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Carle. Great repeating rhyme and rhythm. Children love to predict what will be on the next page.
  • Poke a Dot: Old MacDonald’s Farm. This is a counting book. Each page has plastic dots you can “pop”. I’m normally not a fan of “gimmicky” books, but I think this one is great for learning one-to-one correspondence, an essential math skill.
  • Who’s Like Me? This is a lift the flap (uncover and discover) book, where one animal says something like “I’m a bunny. I am furry and breathe air. Who’s like me?”

More Animal Themed Activities

Check out my Fun with Toddlers posts on Zoo Theme and Farm Theme. Or check out my preschool STEM posts about Animal Classification, Adaptations, Habitats and more.

Fun with Toddlers: Zoo or Jungle Theme

Toddlers enjoy learning about all sorts of animals, including those that can be found at a zoo, or in a jungle. Here are some fun activities about wild animals.

Songs to Sing

We’re Going to the Zoo by Raffi – YouTube

To the tune of Wheels on the Bus: “The lions at the zoo say roar roar roar, roar roar roar, roar roar roar. The lions at the zoo say roar roar roar all day long.” Repeat with any animal sound you want.

Rhymes to Say

Five Little Monkeys jumping on a bed (video of motions)
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said:
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed”.
Four little… three…

Five little monkeys (in a tree) – video
Five little monkeys sitting in a tree,
Teasing Mr. Crocodile: “You can’t catch me!”
Along comes Mr. Crocodile
As quiet as can be and…SNAP!
Four little monkeys sitting in a tree… three… two…. one
… Along comes Mr. Crocodile
As quiet as can be and SNAP! One little monkey says “Ha Ha! Missed Me!

The Funky Spunky Monkey (tune Itsy Bitsy)
The funky spunky monkey climbed up the coconut tree.
Down came a coconut and bopped him on the knee.
Out came a lion a shaking his mighty mane.
And the funky spunky monkey climbed up the tree again.  OR
The funky spunky monkey climbed up the coconut tree.
Down came a coconut and bopped him on the knee.
Along came his mama who hugged away the pain.
And the funky spunky monkey climbed up the tree again.

Alligator, Alligator
Alligator, alligator, long and green (hold out arm: 4 fingers, thumb below)
Alligator, alligator, teeth so mean (open and close fingers and thumb)
Snapping at a fly, snapping at a bee,(snap with fingers and thumb)
Snapping at a frog, but you can’t catch me! (arms slap together, then shake head)

Building Projects

Build a Zoo: Take out blocks or Duplos and toy animals. Build a zoo with your child.

Outdoor Play: Build a habitat for plastic animals with rocks, sticks, and plants.

Games / Activities

Pretend to be an Animal: Make cards or dice that have pictures of animals, or put plastic animals in a bag. The child rolls (or draws a toy from the bag). Then you both pretend to be that animal – moving like it or making the sound.

Habitat Sorting: Put out plastic animals or pictures of animals, plus pictures of habitats. Talk with them about which animals live on farms, which live in jungles, in the ocean, or in the desert.

Art Activities

Bead Snakes: Thread beads on pipe cleaners. Fold ends over. Optional: Add googly eyes.

Hoof and Paw Prints: If you have toy animals, check out their feet. Find ones who’ll make different shapes of tracks. Set out paint, paper, and animals, and make tracks. (You could also make tracks in play-dough.)

Paper Plate Snake: Decorate a plate, then cut it into a spiral snake. (see photo at top) Add eyes. 

Books to Read

Dear Zoo by Campbell. Fabulous lift the flap. “I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet…” See what they send!

Good Night, Gorillaby Rathmann. A charming wordless book about a gorilla escaping its cage.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? or Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Carle. Great repeating rhyme and rhythm. Children love to predict what will be on the next page.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Andreae. A sweet story about everyone finding their special dance.

More ideas (and source citations) at: www.pinterest.com/bcparented

Here’s a handout version of these Jungle / Zoo themed toddler activities. For more theme-based activities, check out the Fun with Toddlers series.