- nonfiction books and photographs of animals, birds, insects, and fish
- creative thinking
Introduce the activity by either reading a book that depicts a variety of animals, or by showing children pictures of different types of animals. Can children describe how the different types of animals move? Does an elephant move quickly or slowly? What about a fish or a butterfly?
The following day, divide children into small groups and ask each group to make up a dance using a specific animal movement. Work with each group and assist them as they think about how the animal moves. Does it have long or short legs? Does it fly or swim? Does it make big movements or little movements? Encourage them to demonstrate their movement ideas. Then invite them to choose a musical selection for their dance. Do they want a quiet, slow song, or music that is fast and loud?
Allow time for everyone to perform their animal dances for their friends. Then invite them all to learn one another's dances. Continue using children's dances during indoor movement time.
Extend children's creative thinking and movement activities with a game of animal pantomimes. They can act out different animal movements and let their friends try to guess what they are. They can also use animal movements during transition times, as they move from one area to the next.
Remember: If a child shows no interest in participating in the movement activity, offer other choices, such as operating the CD player, playing rhythm instruments to accompany the dancing, or introducing the different dances.
Walk, Look, and Listen Ask parents to engage their children in learning activities to extend their knowledge of animals, birds, and insects while they walk to school or do errands. They can ask their child to focus on specific things, such as noticing all of the birds they see, or listening for different bird sounds. They can ask their child to pay close attention to the different types of dogs people have in the neighborhood.
Curriculum Connection: MATH
Sorting Animals Cut out or photocopy pictures of fish, birds, animals, and insects. Working with three or four children at a time, ask them to sort the pictures into similar groupings. Then ask them to describe what makes the animals they grouped together alike.