Lions and tigers and….elephants? Oh, my! Bring the African savannah to life with this interactive classroom safari.
There will be no long flights or passports needed here. Preschool students simply need their sense of adventure and love for learning to make this a “trip” they will never forget!
Activate Prior Animal Knowledge
Young children love learning about different types of animals. They are eager to share stories about pets in their homes and animals they may have seen in nature or at a zoo. An animal thematic unit is always a hit, and building upon previous knowledge is a great way to extend the learning. Begin the lesson during circle time with a group discussion about animals. Discuss movies they may have seen. (DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar is always a favorite!) Where might you see wild animals? What kind of animals live in the jungle? Scaffolding the learning with guiding questions allows all students to access the activity on their level.
Preparing the Safari
To set up the classroom safari, there are a few things that will need to be done ahead of time. Initially, print off Safari name tags for each student (included in Day 9 of this Animals Unit) and label them with student names. As additional literacy practice, the name tags could also be used as part of a morning welcome song, allowing each student to identify the names of the students in class.
Next, print off the safari field journal and animal pictures. Make copies of the field journal for all students and provide pencils and clipboards. Tape the animal pictures around the room at a preschool eye level. Incorporating the labeled picture allows students to begin to understand that print has meaning.
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Finally, if available, provide different props for the students to use. Things like safari hats, binoculars, or safari shirts bring this activity to a whole new level of fun. Students will be so excited to complete the classroom safari tour and find all the animals around the room.
Books to Add More Wild Animal Fun in the Classroom
- Ellie the Elephant by Mike Wu
- Welcome to the World of Kangaroos by Diane Swanson
- The Chimpansneeze by Aaron Zenz
- Mouse and Hippo by Mike Twohy
- Wild Animal Babies: An Alphabet Book by Katie T. Christiansen
Additional Animal Fun for the Preschool Classroom
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