Thursday, March 7, 2013

Zoo Week for Preschoolers - Part 2

I've always been a big fan of zoos. Even before I had kids, I visited zoos on a somewhat regular basis. Seeing such "exotic" animals out of books and so close is something rather special. I'm still hoping to see some of these zoo animals in their real habitat while we're so close to Africa. We've been talking about going to either Tanzania or Kenya (South Africa is a LONG flight away) but these countries have both been a bit unstable lately. Hopefully, it will all get better soon, both for these countries and for my safari wishes! :)

Paper plate lion craft
Lion Paper Plate Craft - Fine Motor Skills & Art

Fine Motor Skills? Where, you may ask? Well, if you look closer, the mane of the lion has been scissor cut. Yes! Adrian is finally "making the cut"! :) I found a perfect pair of scissors that makes it manageable for him to cut. I still have to hold the material he is cutting but he is now able to cut instead of simply crease/fold the paper. I used a dinner plate to make this lion so cutting all around was long but he managed. The cutting was the first step. We then painted the face in yellow and then the mane in orange. Our plate had a slight bevel so I showed Adrian to use that as a "face" guideline to know when face and mane started/stopped. Once everything was dried, Adrian glued on the goggly eyes and the pre-cut nose/mouth. Idea credit: Preschool Corner.

I spy with zoo map
I spy on this Zoo Map - A Literacy Adventure

Curiously, we do not play a lot of "I Spy" games over here. I guess it's one of those "too obvious" games that gets forgotten. I know some people have done versions with bottles, others with booklets and here I am presenting you a version with a zoo map. A San Diego Zoo Map to be precise. I downloaded it straight from their website. It is busy enough to make it challenging for a 4.5 years old yet not too difficult for one to give up depending on which animals you are looking for. Here are the ones my little eye was spying on...
-a panda
-an elephant
-a tiger
-a gorilla
-a lion

Adrian had no trouble finding them. I'm not saying it didn't take him a few seconds but he found them without needing any hints and without losing too much time/patience. As a bonus, I also asked him to find a white arctic fox and that was definitely a good bonus. It took him a long time but he finally did. Will you find it?

Thermic Glasses - Zoo Basin Water
Water basin temperature matching aka Thermic "bottles"

Sometime during the primary years, the thermic bottles are presented to the children attending Montessori schools. I still hadn't done any thermic activities with Adrian and thought I might just be able to slip the "thermic bottles" in the zoo unit with a little variation: instead of using the bottles, I'd used budget-friendly glasses. As this was our first time doing this type of activity, I also decided to do only three different temperatures instead of the usual four. It also worked better for my zoo scenario. One cup was 37 degrees, one was 17 degrees and the last one was about 7 degrees (all Celsius). 
I explained to Adrian that each of these cups contained the perfect water temperature for an animal living at the zoo except for one that would be perfect for the people visiting the zoo instead. I told him his first job was to match the water cups by temperature and so he did with no problem. I then asked him to organize them from coldest to warmest. We discussed which felt most comfortable to him; which cup he'd rather take a bath in. He pointed to the 37 degree cup and I told him it was the water basin for the visitors of the zoo. I then showed him a picture of the penguins and asked him which water he thought they might prefer. He pointed to the coldest saying penguins like snow and ice. And that left us with the middle cup which is I explained was the perfect temperature for the dolphins. 

Magnifying Fleas on Monkeys
How Many Fleas on the Back of this Monkey?

Have you ever noticed monkeys at the zoo? They spent quite a bit of time looking for parasites into each other's fur. My son thought it was funny, especially when they'd find one and would eat it. I therefore dedicate this activity to him! :) I printed pictures of various monkeys and drew tiny specks with a black pen to represent "fleas". I tried to put them in the darker areas of the monkeys to make it more difficult. I then added a magnifying glass to the tray (first time using one for Adrian) and we were off to find and count fleas. It was indeed very fun. Adrian loved the magnifying glass and I am planning on including it some more later.

Magnifying Fleas
Magnifying Fleas

Zoo Enclosure Sweeping
Sweeping a Zebra Enclosure

Adrian is, generally speaking, no fond of the sweeping activities. They are quite traditional in the Montessori schools and I try to make them fun but until now, they had never been caught Adrian's interest. I am so glad he liked this one. I used Panko bread crumbs, a paintbrush and put a zebra figure in the crumbs. I explained that the zookeeper was quite busy that day at the zoo and that it would be helpful as assistant-zookeeper if he could clean the enclosure himself by sweeping all the crumbs to one side. He would also have to move the zebra to make sure no crumbs remained under the animal. Mission accomplished!

Sweeping Enclosure Zoo
In the Process of Getting Mr. Zebra's Enclosure Clean

Zoo Animal Texture Cards
Matching Labels to Zoo Fur Samples

When I thought about the zoo unit curriculum, I immediately knew I'd want to have Adrian match a picture of the zoo animal and a part of their fur/feathers and such. Unfortunately for me, the only place I could remember having these patterns on "paper" were Michael's stores (which is nowhere around here) Thankfully for me, TPTB had the same idea and I guess didn't have access to these sheets either! :) So I printed her work and used those instead with the labels as a literacy practice (Adrian can "read" by first letter and from then on can match to the fur card). Needless to say, I'm still wanting my "real" furry sheets for when little Zahavah gets to his activity but for now, I settled... *sigh*

Zoo Quiz

Every so often I prepare a little quiz for Adrian. I think last time I did one was in the fall and was about farm animals. This time, I made one about zoo animals. Only five questions with three hints, each getting easier. Adrian got all the answers and loved the quiz overall. 

Question 1. 
Hint 1. I have a blue-purple tongue.
Hint 2. I am the tallest zoo animal.
Hint 3. I am yellow and brown like a ripe banana.

Question 2.
 Hint 1. I cannot walk backwards.
Hint 2. I carry my joey baby in my front pouch.
Hint 3. I'm from Australia and love to hop (hop).

Question 3.
Hint 1. I am a bird but have no wings; instead I have flippers and love to swim.
Hint 2. I live in Antarctica.
Hint 3. I am mostly black and white and waddle like this (waddle).

Question 4.
Hint 1. I stand up to sleep.
Hint 2. My name was Marty in the movie Madagascar.
Hint 3. I look like a black and white striped horse.

Question 5.
Hint 1. I am the biggest zoo animal.
Hint 2. I use my tusks to find food and water.
Hint 3. My long trunk helps me pick up food.

* * *

Sequence for Kids

What? No picture? Nope! We did not get to play. But we will on one of these rainy days! :) If you haven't yet, you should get your own board. Sequence for Kids is GREAT. Adrian and I both love it and it features zoo animals. It fitted this week's theme perfectly but time was short and this was obviously not a priority on my list.

Zoo Enclosures with Blocks & Tape Measure

No way! Yet another thing we did not get to do! What is going on? Well, little Zahavah is growing up. As such, her nap time is being cut back and it is eating away at our school time. I guess I also had planned more activities than less or maybe we just took more time than I thought we would on certain activities. Anyhow, I had planned on having Adrian build zoo enclosures with wooden blocks. These enclosures would have been for our Jumbo Zoo Animals made by Learning Resources and I would have provided "dimensions" and a measuring tape for the activity. Let's see if we can recycle this activity in another weekly theme... 

Zoo Map continents

Hmm. Well, this one stayed "off the map" as well. I had originally planned on "making" a sandpaper globe and have a guessing game of where the zoo animals originally came from. I had planned on having 1-2 animals representing each continent.  Maybe I'll just get to it later, like over the summer or something. Here are the animals I had picked :

Asia: Tiger & Panda
Australia: Kangaroo & Koala
Europe: Chamois
Africa: Giraffe & Gorilla
North America: American Buffalo
South America: Llama
Antarctica: Penguins

* * *

Today, I'm happily linking up to:

Living Montessori Now, B-Inspired Mama, I can Teach my Child, Sugar Aunts, Teach Beside Me, Golden Grasses, No Time for Flashcards, True Aim Education, Hey Mommy Chocolate Milk, Chicken BabiesLife with Moore Babies, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Here Comes the Girls, Inspiration Laboratories, The Iowa Farmer's Wife, Discover and ExploreTrain Up a Child and

TGIF Linky Party hosted by 123Homeschool4Me

If you would like me to link up with you, please don't hesitate to ask, it might take me a week or two, but I generally do!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Debbie for stopping by and thanks for pinning. One day I'll get on Pinterest too! :)

  2. What a fun week! I especially liked how you had your child determine the animal by their fur!

    Thanks or linking up at TGIF and sharing your creativity with the rest of us! I featured this at TGIF this week here: Feel free to grab an I was featured button and I hope to see you linked up again this week!

    Beth =)

    1. Oh goodness! My first feature! That is awesome! Thank you so much. I'll be sure to check it out and grab a button; thank you Beth.

  3. All of the Zoo Week posts are terrific. Thank you so much for linking them to Discover & Explore. I'll be featuring you tomorrow!

    1. Thank you so much! Zoo themed weeks are the best! Kids love them and there is always so many possibilities!