Zoo Books

Staple several pages together to make a blank book for each child. Provide lots of animal pictures. Children glue one picture onto a page and write that animal's name next to it. They continue until their book is full. Write their name on the front and "Zoo Book" under it (Terri's Zoo Book). Younger children will need fewer pages and will need you to dot the words for them. Or you could just have them write the first letter for their animals.


draws, traces, and copies

writes letters in familiar words

Zoo Cage Signs

Glue animal pictures to small pieces of poster board. Leave a space under each picture for words. Laminate the pictures. Show the group one of the pictures and decide what the animal's name is. Write the first letter of that animal with a write/wipe marker under the animal. Pass the picture to the next person and tell them what the next letter is. Have that child write that letter next to your letter. Continue until the entire word is spelled and then pull out the next sign. Younger children may need you to dot the letter for them so they can trace the dots to form the letter. Older children may want to do one sign on their own, or may want to look at a word and copy the letters instead of having you tell them what is next.


draws, traces and copies

writes letters

Zoo Building

Bring a collection of zoo animals and a set of table blocks to a large floor area or a table. Have the children help you build cages for the zoo animals. When there are more than one of a particular type (like if you have 3 lions) talk about how to build the cage big enough to accommodate all of them. Also, have a people toy handy to show children how important it is to build paths between the cages and to not build the cages too high.


works and plays well with others

responds to suggestions of others

Paper Plate Animal Masks

Provide small and large paper plates along with lots of different supplies to make masks. You may want to pre-cut the eye holes in the paper plates since children tend to find this difficult. Also, suggest taping a tongue depressor onto the bottom instead of tying the mask on with yarn. It is easier for children to do and makes changing the mask during a puppet show a little easier. Be sure to set up an area in your classroom for a puppet show!


takes pride in own accomplishments

see projects through to completion

creates a plan

Zoo Cages

Provide berry baskets or boxes that children can use to create a zoo with the animal toys.


engages in role play

makes believe with objects

Play dough Zoo

Prepare a large batch of play dough for the children to make zoo animals with. Have toy animals for them to look at and try to copy. For younger children you may want to put out animal cookie cutters to use and have them add decorations to the animal shapes rather than trying to make their own from scratch.


rolls and manipulates play dough

Monkey Swing

Hang a small toy monkey from the ceiling low enough for the children to reach. Tape pictures of different size bunches of bananas on the wall near the monkey. Children take turns swinging the monkey and trying to hit the banana bunches. You can keep score by adding up the number of bananas in each bunch the children hit. Or just have fun.


throws, catches

coordinates and controls advanced large motor movements

Spiral Snakes

Trace different size circles onto construction paper. Draw spirals onto each circle. Children cut on the spiral all the way to the middle. When you hold onto the middle of the spiral, the rest of it will coil down like a snake. Children can decorate their snakes with crayons and then hang them around the room. Draw spirals counter-clockwise from the outside to inside for right handed children and clockwise for left handers.


cuts with scissors

Cage Bar Lacing

Glue one animal picture onto a manila folder. Use a hole punch to make holes one inch apart along the top and bottom of the picture. Prepare one picture for each child in your class. Tie a long piece of yarn to one hole and have the children string the yarn across the front of the picture to make zoo bars. It has to be a really long piece depending on how many holes you make across. Use the pictures to make a long zoo train on one wall by adding wheels to the bottoms and connecting them together with yarn.


weaves and laces ribbon

Animal Stripes

Cut out zebra outlines from white paper and tiger outlines from orange paper. Children place one of the animals in a pie pan or shoe box. Have a small jar of black paint with marbles in it. Use a spoon to place one marble in the box with the paper. The child carefully tilts the box back and forth so that the marble rolls across the paper leaving stripes on the paper. Think of other animals that have stripes that you can decorate. Be sure to have one pan or box for each child in your small group so that they do not have to wait for a turn. And be sure to have LOTS of animals cut out because this activity is addictive!


experiments with cause and effect

uses scientific words and phrases

Animal Habitat Sorting

Lay out different colors of construction paper to represent different habitats: blue for water, light green for meadows or plains, dark green for forests, brown for mountains, etc. You may want to glue on pictures to help children remember which habitat each one is. Bring a collection of small toy animals to group along with an animal encyclopedia. Children may choose an animal and help look it up in the book to find out which habitat it belongs in. Older children can predict which habitat before they look it up.


makes observations using senses and tools

predicts outcomes based on previous experience and knowledge