Last weekend we went to the National Zoo! In conjunction with our field trip we did zoo-themed bookworm activities this week.
Eric Carle's 1-2-3 to the Zoo is great counting fun for toddlers.
Class Two at the Zoo is always good for a laugh-- the students and teacher get eaten, one by one, by an anaconda. Of course they're saved in the end, but the clever rhymes for anaconda are worth the read by themselves.
We have a great recurring dramatic play game wherein we build a giant train track and put a zoo in the middle and sometimes all around it. There may be zookeepers and visitors and train passengers, and occasionally escapees or animal dramas, but always there is a lot of fun.
My favorite zoo action rhyme came from Preschool Rainbow:
At the zoo we saw a bear, he had long, dark fuzzy hair (Pretend to walk like a bear)
We saw a lion in a cage, he was in an awful rage. (pretend to be an angry lion)
We saw the big, long-necked giraffe, and the silly monkeys made us laugh. (everybody laugh)
But my favorite animal at the zoo is the elephant-- how about you?
The Wee Sing CD, Animals, Animals, Animals has two zoo songs on it, "At the Zoo," and "Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo." Well, technically the first one is a poem, but who's keeping track.
Another good activity is the Usborne spotter cards, 100 Animals to Spot at the Zoo. I learned the hard way that this is not a good one to do during an actual trip, since there are signs and live animals there and the text on the cards is pretty detailed. However, it's great for before (look up the zoo online to see what animals you might see there) and after (find some of your favorites from the trip and read about them). These cards are full of great information about the animals.
Amazon that might be useful for our next long car trip, but at $7 is a tad pricey for my tastes.
A much cheaper (though more labor-intensive) option was our craft project for the week: cutting out animals from magazines and gluing them onto large sheets of colored paper to make our own individual zoos. The kids really got a kick out of this one, and T was able to do his own cutting, which always makes it easier. Using foam sticky animals would make it an even easier activity for the tiniest crafters.
T made a "Night Zoo" because he still remembers when we went to the very cool Night Safari in Singapore last year. "Only animals that come out at night will be in my zoo, Mama," he said.
If you're up for a more involved project, check out this Shoebox Zoo you can make using instructions at Crayola.com.
We had lots of fun with our zoo theme. Please share your other ideas for zoo fun, and be sure to come back next week for train madness!