Keep reading for some fun Dear Zoo activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. These activities are sure to be a hit with your littles! And if you want a FREE printable version of these activities & directions, click HERE!
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Our June story of the month is Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. This is such a fun lift-the-flap book that preschoolers absolutely love!
The author starts this story by saying, “I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet.” Each page shows the animal that the zoo sent…you lift the flaps to discover the animal! Then the author says why he sent each animal back to the zoo. This same pattern repeats over and over until finally, the zoo sends the perfect pet! Can you guess what it is?!
Check out these fun Dear Zoo activities that can help bring this story to life for your preschoolers or kindergartners. Activities include a snack, two craft ideas, and a FREE animal movement game that gets your little ones up and moving!
- Ritz crackers
- Nilla wafers
- Peanut butter
- Edible markers (Yes, you can actually get markers that write on food! Awesome, right?!)
- Googly candy eyes
- First, cover the Ritz cracker with peanut butter. Then put a Nilla wafer in the middle of the cracker toward the bottom. Make sure to leave room at the top for the eyes!
- Next, take a Nilla wafer and break it in half. Each half will become an ear. Put the ears on the side of the monkey’s head.
- Add googly eyes in between the ears on the Ritz cracker (above the Nilla wafer).
- Add the nose and mouth on the Nilla wafer with your edible marker and voila! You’re done! They’re almost too cute to eat!
PAPER CHAIN SNAKE
Have a trip to the zoo coming up? What about something else fun you’re doing this summer?! Making a paper chain countdown is a great visual for our little ones to know how many days they have left before something fun happens. And if you turn it into a snake as one of your Dear Zoo activities, that’s even better!
- First, decide on the pattern you’d like to make for your snake. We chose three colors, but you could choose however many you’d like! This is a great opportunity to practice making patterns.
- Fold each color paper in half, then in half again, then in half again! You should end up with 8 columns.
- Cut the columns apart, then start making the snake. Use a stapler to connect the chains. If you’re going to write on them or decorate them, make sure to do that first!
- Add a head by cutting out a triangle and gluing it to the first chain. You can also add a tail!
- Glue googly eyes on the head and add a red tongue, then you’re done!
I normally only include one craft for each Story of the Month post, but I couldn’t help but include two this month! These lion masks are so easy to make, and they give your little ones the chance to practice cutting and gluing (two skills that are great for fine motor development!)
- Cut out the inside of a paper plate, leaving only the outside circle.
- Have your little ones cut out strips of yellow and orange construction paper.
- Have them glue the yellow and orange paper to the paper plate circle, creating a lion’s mane. Make sure they give a loud ROAR!
MOVE LIKE AN ANIMAL GAME
Ready to get your little one up and moving?! It’s time to Move Like an Animal! This is such a fun game that helps your little one work on their gross motor skills. Plus you can add in literacy practice, too!
First, download the FREE printable from our FREE Activity Library. Then, make the playing cube by gluing or taping one card to each side of a square tissue box. You can also cover the tissue box with wrapping paper first if you’d like…that’s what we did! There are both color and black/white pictures, and there are enough for two different tissue boxes.
HOW TO PLAY
To play the game, take turns tossing the box and acting like the animal that’s on the top. To add in some literacy practice, have your little ones spell their name or a sight word while acting like the animal. (They could stomp for each letter of their name when they’re the elephant or flap their arms for each letter in a sight word when they’re the parrot.)
Don’t have a tissue box? No worries! You could also just flip these cards upside down, then take turns flipping them over and acting like the animals. Or tape them around the room and go on a safari! You could also print two sets and play Memory, acting out the animals once you get a match. There are so many possibilities!
And since this is one of our Dear Zoo activities, you could also use the animal cards to retell the story and talk about which animals are the same/different as the book.
This activity (along with all of our freebies!) can be downloaded from the Free Activity Library. If you’re already a member of our email community, you can click HERE to head to the Free Activity Library, enter your password (it’s on your most current email from me), and download your copy!
If you’d like to join our email community & receive the password as my way of saying THANK YOU for joining, you can click HERE to subscribe. Once you enter your information, the password will be emailed to you within minutes.