Most children love pets! Sometimes, a classroom is lucky to have a furry, feathered, or scaled friend in the classroom to take care of. Many students have animals at home as well. Learning about the different animals that people invite into their homes is something everyone will love!
PETS CIRCLE TIME IDEAS
During circle time, it is essential to remember the attention span of the students – about three minutes for every year of age. For a class of five-year-olds, this means circle time should only be 15 minutes long. Having several shorter “carpet time” meetings is a great way to refocus the group and provide a transition for restroom breaks, settling down for rest time, or wrapping up the day. Here are some fun pet unit activity ideas for those carpet times.
Carpet games are fantastic! They are quick and easy games that reinforce educational concepts in fun ways for students. Students hone their skills with numbers, shapes, colors, and more by guessing where the object is hiding. It takes thirty seconds to set up, about 15 seconds to learn, and only minutes to play a round! This means that it is perfect for those transitions as students wash hands or use the restroom, or get their things to go outside.
Some ideas for pet themed carpet games:
- kittens and a ball of yarn (pictured)
- puppies and a bone
- rabbits and a carrot
- Hamster wheels and a hamster
- Turtle tank and a turtle
- Fish bowls/castles and fish
Fingerplays and Chip Clip Poems
Pet-themed fingerplays and chip clip poems are another engaging way to keep students focused and learning for those small breaks! Chip clip poems are simple rhyming poems that count up or down as the pieces are added to or removed from the large central portion. Fingerplays are the same concept but without the fun props. Either one is great for practicing early addition and subtraction skills!
If a teacher sits on a rug with a book, it is almost inevitable that the students quickly gather to hear the story. There are so many beautiful books about pets, but here’s a printable list of some of our favorites!
Sorting It Out
Categorizing is one of the first skills young learners develop. For example, when toddlers first learn to speak, they might see a dog. They learn that this is a “dog,” and then proud parents are puzzled when the toddler starts calling all other animals dog! What happened? The toddler learned that “This furry thing with four legs, that’s a dog. So ALL furry things with four legs must be dogs!” They have started to categorize, and as they build their knowledge, they begin to distinguish other characteristics which help them realize what actually IS a dog and what isn’t.
Developing these skills is important even as students approach school age. Sorting animals by pets/not pets, furry/feathery/scaly, large/small, and more – these all help build this critical skill!
Grid games are a terrific way to introduce patterns, relationships, logical thinking, and reasoning skills to young children. Customizable for any theme, preparation is quick and easy!
First, choose four images, and make 4 – 5 copies on different colored paper. Next, arrange the pictures in a grid while introducing each picture to the students. Each row should be the same color, while each column should have the same picture. Then, students should cover their eyes (make sure no one is peeking!) while the teacher removes one picture from the grid. Finally, young students can then use their logical thinking skills and their knowledge of the pattern and relationship of the cards to determine which one is missing. See this in action!
Memory tray games are so easy to put together, and the students love to play! It is another excellent way to foster crucial logical thinking and reasoning skills. Watching students engaging and using their thinking caps is a thrill every good teacher enjoys!
Pet-themed memory tray games can be focused on different types of pets using felt animals, plastic animals, or even small stuffed toys. It is also possible to focus on just one kind of pet by choosing items that would be specific for that pet’s care. A dog-themed tray, for example, would have a collar, a bone, a small food dish, a leash, and a ball.
One of the most fun ways to evaluate and review the main concepts of any unit is a riddle guessing game on the last day! Simple to set up and fun to play, students get to showcase what they have learned as they answer small riddles about the topic.
Simple riddles are made even more fun by having the “answer” as a small toy replica of each animal in a bucket or bag. Then, after the class listens to the clue and guesses which pet it might be, the answer is revealed by taking the toy out of the container.
Perfect for small groups or one-on-one instruction, emergent reader books reinforce concept of word. These simple books use repetitive text, short words, and are meant to be read and re-read by students while touching the dots under each word.
Pets Themed Dramatic Play Ideas
Choosing a pet is serious business. Combining some dollar store pet items such as leashes, pet toys, and plastic containers (for “tanks), some stuffed pets, and some basic supplies from any shop themed dramatic play, and you have a pet store! Students practice selecting a pet and the items they need to give their new family member the best life possible.
It’s important to take care of the animals that live in our homes. A Vet Clinic Dramatic Play area combines supplies from the hospital dramatic play with loveable stuffed animals to make it something new.
Here is a brief video of the Vet Clinic set up in the classroom!
Some children might be sad that they don’t have a pet to call their own. Give them a chance to create their own pet with this adorable Pet Rock art activity!
Some tempera paints, google eyes, and smooth rocks – that’s the supply list for this fun activity! Read more about it here!
Have fun playing and learning with your children today!
This Pets Unit Does the Prep For You!
Learn all about PETS: dogs, cats, small animals, fish, turtles, and more in this PETS CIRCLE TIME UNIT. All of the Circle Time planning is done for you! There are 10 days of lesson plans, all the printables for each day, and additional literacy and math centers.
It includes 10 Circle Time Lessons:
- Introduction – All About Pets
- Dogs – photos and computation poem
- Cats – photos, movement song, and carpet game
- Small Pets – photos, sorting activity
- Aquarium Pets – photos, nursery rhyme, color identification game
- Pet Riddles – active listening
- Let’s Pretend – animal movement poems
- Taking Care – song and matching game
- Types of Pets – sorting and classifying
- All About Pets
This unit also includes these Literacy and Math Centers:
- Pet Shadows folder game (visual discrimination)
- Writing Practice
- Word Wall Cards
- Beginning Sound Sort
- Line Tracing
- Cutting Practice
- Pet Patterns
- Count & Clip Cards
- Book List (read-aloud recommendations)