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April 13, 2012 Monkeying Around With Zoo Activities By Sharon Taylor
Grades PreK–K

    Tigers! Bears! Lions! Oh, yes! Kindergartners love zoo animals. Zoo lessons are a great way to allow your students to have fun while learning about the world around them. Read on as I share activities that will help your students learn about and explore the animal kingdom.


    Zoo Books

    My students loved learning important facts about a new zoo animal each day.  As they were learning, students wrote about each animal.  At the end of the week, students compiled their work to create their own zoo book to share with their families at home. 




    Students have a blast creating various zoo animals as we are learning about each of them. 

    For zoo- and animal-related crafts to make with your students, see DLTK's instructions for making jungle animals; Busy Bee Kids Crafts for safari animals; Danielle’s Place, to make animals ranging from armadillos to yaks; Family Crafts at for lists by animal; and Free Kid Crafts, for templates that will allow you to make a number of fun animals using household items.


    Who Am I?

    Pretend that you are an animal at the zoo. Give your students several clues to help them guess which animal you are. For example: "I like to swing on vines and trees, and I love to eat leaves, flowers, insects, and fruits.   Who am I? A monkey!" It will be tons of fun to have your students act the animal out.   


    Here is a trio of hungry alligators:



    We made a class graph of our favorite zoo animal. We liked the lions most!


    Animal Safari

    Take your kids on an animal safari. I taped pictures of various zoo animals up around the classroom. As students located animals, they colored in the boxes on their grids. 


    Field Trip

    A field trip to the zoo is the highlight of the school year for many kindergartners. It is also a great way to culminate your unit on the zoo. When my class visits the zoo, I add a little fun by sending them on a scavenger hunt.  I divide my class into small groups of three to five students with a supervising adult.  Each group is given a list of items that they must find on their scavenger hunt.  For example, students could be instructed to find the animal that sleeps with one eye open and has a blue tongue (giraffe).



    Give each of your students a bag of animal cookies.  I buy one large bag and divide it among my students.  Have students pull a cookie from the bag and identify the animal.  I have my students then make the noise the animal makes or act out the animal’s movements.  The best part of this activity is eating the cookies!


    Below are some of my favorite zoo books by Scholastic:

    Let’s Go the Zoo by Cate Foley

    Animals in the Zoo by Allan Fowler

    Miss Moo Goes to the Zoo by Kelly Graves

    Class Two at the Zoo by Julia Jarman

    The Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelbach

    My School’s a Zoo! by Stu Smith

    Animal Strike at the Zoo: It's True! and Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson

    Zany Zoo by William Wise


    Scholastic offers some great ready-to-use zoo printables. You can also visit K–3 Learning Pages for tons of additional zoo resources. 

    What activities do you use to help your students learn about zoo animals? Please comment below.



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Susan Cheyney