Monday, March 4, 2013

Zoo Week for Preschoolers - Part 1

When planning a zoo week for Adrian, I knew it would involve more science than usual. I guess it's ok in a way. He loves science and in other units, we don't get to incorporate it as much. One thing is sure zoo week was well liked and a trip to the zoo is now pending! :)

Zoo Animal Cards
Homemade Zoo Cards & Fun Facts

I actually made these cards last summer in anticipation for our annual zoo visit. I wanted to make sure Adrian would be able to identify most zoo animals he'd encounter and I also wanted to get him excited about this outing. It worked and I am glad I got to re-use these beautiful picture cards in school. I made them mostly using National Geographic pictures. I find they always provide such beautiful photographs on their website. For facts, I also relied on National Geographic as well as Encyclopedias we have here. I tried to stick to what the animals eat, what continent they originate from as well as a fun tidbit that would make the animal memorable to Adrian. For example, I put down that the giraffe had a bluish-purple tongue. He thought it was so strange! :)

Zoo or farm animal
Sorting : Farm or Zoo Animals?

Let's face it: there are lots of animals out there and it can get confusing for children, especially now that zoo have petting zoos. Are there really "proper" zoo animals? I guess not. A zoo is really just a place where animals are kept in an enclosure and shown off to visitors. Sure zoos tend to have more wild species than farm / domestic animals but nothing prevents zoo owners from adopting ducklings and kitty cats for their next exhibits. :) Now, our activity was to sort the Jumbo Animals from Learning Resources into two groups; Farm and Zoo Animals. Adrian did an excellent job and had no trouble spotting who went where. I tried my best to explain why farm animals were considered "farm animals" and why zoo animals had become "zoo animals". This activity was adapted from My Montessori Journey's.

Monkey on a string
How Monkeys Remain Off the Grounds

Some monkeys rarely hit the grounds running. They'd rather stay up in the trees. Now, monkeys have hands and feet like we do but clearly, there is no path in between trees. How do they get around? How do they go from branch to branch? From tree to tree? Our "monkey" helped us demonstrate how it's done. He slid on a branch that went from tree one to tree two that had an incline. He used his hands alternatively to grab the branch. He used his feet. He swung as well when he wanted to go faster. He even jumped from one branch to another when he couldn't reach with his long arms. Overall, Adrian thought it was an interesting lesson and enjoyed moving the monkey around and trying to figure out how to make monkey reach its destinations.

Stacking Monkeys
Stacking Monkeys

These stacking monkeys are a bit basic for Adrian but still fun. (They're actually Zahavah's monkeys).  I thought he may make more complex stacking structures today but....I was wrong. He put the monkeys in the holes and that was it. I showed him a more complex building of monkeys (see above) and thought it might inspire him to build something more advanced or higher but nope. Next! :) By the way, these are made by Lauri, one of my favorite toy companies. I had eyed them for Adrian but never bought them for him. Bought him the toddler tote instead a few years ago (what a hit that Baby Z got these for Christmas though and I was so happy! 

Paint Zebra Stripes Q-Tip
Fine Motor & Art: Striping a Zebra with a Q-Tip

Drawing lines is very basic. It's something your child will do around their what? 2nd birthday or something like that? Anyhow, we're still working on making beautiful lines here, both vertical and horizontal (as well as staying within the lines) so I thought a good way to practice would be to paint some stripes on a zebra! I even brought out our zebra figure as a model so the stripes could be painted in the "right" direction. I think it looks awesome, what do you think? Want to try it? Get a blank zebra at Mithmeoi.

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This post was shared at Discover and Explore.

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