Monday, February 3, 2014

Forest Animals Unit for Toddlers - Part 1

Forest Friends is always a charming theme to explore at this time of year. Depending on the age of the children involved, concepts such as hibernation can be introduced, or, for the youngest ones, simple activities such a animal track hunting in the snow can be very exciting. For Zahavah, who's just turned three, I chose to stick to "toddler" activities this year. 

Art: Fox Origami

Although a bit young for the art of paper folding, I thought I'd give this one a try. It looked rather easy with only 4 folds. As it turns out, folding the paper is not the tough part but getting them folded in the right place was indeed a bit challenging. Maybe origami will have to wait a little more after all...If you'd like to give it a try, Crafty-Crafted's got some instructions for you.

Language: Conversation Picture &
Sequencing a Pictorial Story

We read a lot of stories in this house. This time, I thought I'd print a picture of some forest animals and try to get Zahavah to tell ME a story. Of course, the story was not very long but by asking questions, the story got much longer. I was also on the lookout for some specifics in her answers. Did they make sense? Could she give me more details? Eventually, my questions will be much more broad and open-ended but because she is still very young and hasn't done this very often, I kept my questions quite "on topic". For example, my first question was: Can you tell me what you see in this picture? To this, I got a simple: "I see brown bears". From then on, I had to extract details: "Are they all the same size?", I asked. " "No. This one is bigger.""I wonder why it's bigger, I added". My daughter proudly stated that it was "mama bear". A very logical answer. We discussed the expression on mama bear's face. Zahavah deduced the bear was surprised because of the "o" shape of the mouth. "What surprised mama bear?" I asked. "Why are the cubs climbing the tree?" are other questions I asked. You get the idea... After a few minutes, I bought out the rest of the pictures from this article and we tried to organize them in an order fitting our story. Pictures: Lauri Tammik/Rex Features.

Sequencing with more images from the bear series

Art: Porcupine Playdough

Playdough is one of these materials you'll see pretty much every week in my posts for Zahavah. For one reason or another, she loves modeling and can't get enough of it so I try to have at least one play dough suggestion for her every week to keep her imagination going. This week, I invited her to make a little forest animal with the play dough: a porcupine! In tiny containers, we had toothpicks, goggly eyes and finally, some brown chocolate scented play dough. We had looked at porcupines earlier in the week so she knew how they looked and loved making her own porcupine. In fact, many more porcupines were made later that week...

Zoology: Forest Animals & Tracks

Thanks to 2teachingmommies, Zahavah got to see what kind of tracks the studied forest animals make. I don't expect we'll be encountering any of these around here (except some deers maybe) but just in case, she'll be able to recognize what animal it could be. I liked that the format was a puzzle too. Puzzles are great for mathematical thinking skill development!

Art: Skunk Craft

Lots of art this week. I don't mean to neglect other areas but Zahavah really loves the arts so I do my best to provide more opportunities in that department. This craft (saw it on a Pinterest board with broken source) was a nice change for Z as she got to use both a glue stick and liquid glue by herself. Gluing is REALLY fun for toddlers and I think she could have glued all day. For this craft, I pre-cut the skunk parts but let her do the gluing with the glue stick. I also let her stretch the "fur" (cotton balls), and apply the liquid glue (I drew some lines on the skunk so she'd know where to apply the liquid glue and eventually the cotton balls on top). In the end, she chose an eye and a gem for a nose and it was finished (the flower landscape was already on paper as it takes a while to dry, except for the yellow piece...she glued that one). A fun forest animal craft that didn't stink! :)

* * *

Your comments make my day ! 
(...but won't be visible until after approval due to increased spam...)

* * *

This week, I'm happily linking up to


  1. What a great unit! I especially like the origami fox :)

    1. Well thank you Jacquie! Glad you like it. It was a fun week and my daughter cannot wait for us to have another week focused on animals! :) Hope this will help other families/classes to get some ideas of the fun to be had with such a topic. :)

  2. You really have some great idea here. I love the language sequencing cards ad I really love the animal tracks puzzle! My son is not quite to this level, but I'll continue stopping by and pinning your ideas for future use!

    1. He will get there before you know it; they all do. Enjoy the tot years! I cannot believe my littlest one is already 3. I'm doing "tot" activities but in the fall, we'll move on the preschool trays and I can tell she's readying for some already! :) I just remind myself to go deeper instead of further for now! :) Thanks for stopping by!