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Zoo Animals

Language & Literacy



Songs, Poems, & Fingerplays:

Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree

Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree

Teasing Mr. Alligator, "You can't catch me!" "You can't catch me!"

Along comes Mr. Alligator quiet as can be.... SNAP (Clap hand together like an alligator mouth shutting quickly)

Four little monkeys swinging in a tree... (Keep repeating until no little monkeys are swinging in a tree.) 

(We swing our hands upside down to look like the monkeys swinging, and when the alligator is coming we put on hand over the other and wiggle them back and forth like an alligator swimming toward something. When the monkeys tease we wiggle our fingers by out heads and shake out fingers for can't catch me. At the end we say "Missed me missed me now you have to kiss me! - Like the Dr. Jean version of this song!   DR. JEAN AND FRIENDS CD)

Literacy :  Use a book with the song to help reinforce reading. Make your own or check out this great one in Dr. Jean's series! 


Zoo Fun

As we go walking through the Zoo
This is what we'll see,
Elephants and hippos,
And monkeys in a tree.

Tigers roaring loudly,
Giraffes who stand so high,
Dolphins swimming freely,
And parrots in the sky.

So let's all go walking,
Having fun the whole day through,
As we go on our field trip,
To the friendly city zoo.

Beverly Qualheim

Literacy :  Read the poem Zoo Fun.  Tell the kids to imagine you are going on a field trip to the zoo as you read the poem and have the kids act out the animals being talked about.


The Tiger

Orange and black,
Great big cat.
Four big paws.
Long sharp claws.
Through the jungle running,
Do you see her coming?
What a sight!
Will she bite?

Cynthia Walters

I'm a Little Monkey

I'm a little monkey, watch me play,
Munching on banana's everyday.
I have monkey friends who play with me,
See us climb right up the tree.

Carla Cotter Skjong



Introduce the new theme: Ask the kids if they can guess what animal you are thinking of and give them hints, like :has stripes, four legs, black and white... a zebra!  Ask the kids if they have ever been to a Zoo and what animals did they see?  What were their favorites? 

Literacy : Ask each child which animal they LOVE the most?  Why?  Make a graph or chart of everyone's favorite animal.

Discuss what Zoo's are for, so people can see wild animals, and learn more about them, talk about conservation, and how we try to preserve animals in the wild.  Ask the children why they think the animals are in cages or protected areas?  Talk about the difference between "wild" animals and domestic animals, use cats for an example, cats we keep as pets and the cats in the wild.  

Literacy : Make a chart and have children help identify animals that are "wild" and animals that are "tame" list them on the chart.


Math & Number Concepts

Animal Counting Books
Supplies: Paper folded into a ten page book with the pages numbered across the top 1 to 10 with one number on each page, animal stickers.
Directions: Give each child a book and have then place the correct number of animal stickers on each page.



Zoo Animal Sponge Paintings
Supplies: Various animal shaped painting sponges, different colors of tempera paint, colored construction paper.
Directions: Let the kids paint a zoo scene on the construction paper using the sponges.

Animal Masks
Supplies: Paper plate, Popsicle stick, variety of construction paper, yarns, colors, etc.
Directions: Have the kids create an animal mask using the materials provided, offer suggestions like make a lion using strips of brown paper for the mane, etc. Help them cut out eye holes, glue the Popsicle strip to the bottom to hold the mask in front of their face.

Animal Sculptures
Supplies: Sculpture stuff, paints
Directions:  Let the kids sculpt their favorite animal, let dry and paint.

Animal Torn Paper Pictures
Supplies: Construction paper, glue, crayons.
Directions: Show the children how to create an animal from tearing construction paper, such as a lion or tiger: Fold a piece of paper in half and tear a half circle from the center of the non folded side so when open it looks like legs and the animal can stand, then tear a circle for the head and add details like a mane or stripes with more paper or crayons... don't forget the tail!

Dramatic Play




Music & Movement


Science & Discovery


Blocks & Building



Puzzles, Games & Manipulatives

Animal Sort, Sort animal pictures by color, number of legs, horns or no horns, or how ever, what other ways can the kids think of to sort them?

Pin a picture of different Animals on each child's back, then have them take turns asking the group yes and no questions about their animal to try to guess what it is.

Animal Match Up, either use the real game or make your own, cut animal pictures in half and have the kids match the fronts to the backs.









Teddy Grahams.  Count the bears!

Animals in cages- Give each child a bunch or pretzels, PNB, gumdrops, or frosting to build animal cages, then give them animal crackers to put in the cage.  Works well if each child has their own paper plate and can use the PNB or frosting to stand their animals in.

Animal sugar cookies, make them up and let the kids decorate!


Bulletin Boards


Other Resources




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