Zoo Animals -- Preschool & Kindergarten

Zoo Animals


Zoo theme ideas and activities for preschool and kindergarten children.


Animal-Picture Books
Need: magazines, catalogs, paper

Cut out magazine pictures of different kinds of animals. Provide each child with several sheets of paper, folded and stapled into a book. Encourage them to choose pictures to glue into their books, then make up stories about the pictures. Encourage children to write their own stories by using scribbles or invented spelling or by dictating their stories.

Lion Mask
Need: paper plates, yellow construction paper strips

Curl yellow construction paper strips around a pencil. Glue the curly strips (for hair) around the edge of the paper plate for a lion's mane.

Use a pencil to mark the eye holes to cut out. The holes are approximately 2 inches apart. It is best to measure with the child who will be wearing it.

Have children use construction paper or crayons to draw on a nose and a month. Attach with a staple rubber bands on each side for the child to place around their ears to wear the Lion Mask.

Zoo Collage

Have children cut out animal pictures from magazines and make a collage.

Learning Centers


On the science table, place a bowl of water, a tray of dirt, and a box with hay or grass. Also, include many small toy zoo animals. The children can place the animals in their correct habitat.

Look Close

Provide magnifying glass with pictures of zoo animals. Children can examine the animals up close.


Animals on Grass

Take a graham cracker and spread either peanut butter or green-tinted cream cheese on the top. Stand an animal cracker on the top of the graham cracker.

Gross Motor

Feeding Pail Toss

Toss balled paper balls into a feeding pail.

Balance Beam

Walk like cats on the balance beam.

Book Review

A is for Animals
that live in the zoo.
Caring for creatures
is what zookeepers do.

How do zookeepers keep animals in their charge safe and healthy? How do they transport them, house them and save them from disease and extinction? What's the one sound a zookeeper will never forget? What's an incubator?

For the answers to all of these questions and more, parents and teachers will want to share this delightful book with children.



An Elephant Goes Like This And That

An elephant goes like this and that,
(pat knees)
He's terrible big,
(put hands up high)
And he's terrible fat,
(wiggle fingers)
And he has no toes,
(touch toes)
But goodness gracious, what a nose!
(make curling movement away from nose)

Elephant - Large Motor

Five Big Elephants

Five big elephants - oh, what a sight,
Swinging their trunks from left to right!
Four are followers, and one is the king.
They all walk around in the circus ring.

To pantomime, the children crouch over and clasp their hands, then move arms left and right as they walk. Choose one child to be the king elephant other children follow as elephants. The 'elephants' walk around the room several times as the rhyme is recited.

Elephant Feet
Need: Grocery bags, rubber bands or ties made from a old sheet.

Using black felt pen make elephant toes on the grocery bags. Have children put bags on one foot or both. Tie tops. Using arms have children "find their trucks". Now put on "The Jungle Book" cd or some other wild record and go the "Elephants" stomp!


Who am I? I am the giraffe.

Of all the animals
in the zoo,
I am the tallest.
That is true.
Who am I? I am the giraffe.

To pantomime, the children crouch over and clasp their hands, then move arms left and right as they walk. Choose one child to be the king elephant other children follow as elephants. The 'elephants' walk around the room several times as the rhyme is recited.

I am brown and white,
and I have two knobs
on the top of my head.
Who am I? I am a giraffe.

My neck is long,
I am very tall,
but I don't have very
much voice at all.
Who am I? I am a giraffe.

I have one big ear on
each side of my head.
High up in the air
is where I am fed.
Who am I? I am a giraffe.

I walk right up
to the tallest tree
and I eat the leaves
that are good for me.
Who am I? I am a giraffe.


Make a giraffe
Need: giraffe, brown fingerpaint, clothespins
Giraffe pattern

Cut the shape of a giraffe out of yellow posterboard; just the body without the legs. Have the children fingerpaint brown tempera spots on the giraffe. Clip two clothespins onto the giraffe for legs/feet. Children fingerpaint feet onto the clothespins....The children love it.
Contributed By: Rosie Ortegon



The Monkey

The monkey claps, claps, claps his hands. (clap hands)
The monkey claps, claps, claps his hands. (clap hands)
Monkey see, monkey do.
The monkey does the same as you.(use pointer finger-change actions)



Monkeys often have fleas. Provide a large picture of a flea with a magnifying glass for children to examine. up close.

Flea image

Monkey Meals (serves one)
Ingredients: 1 banana, 1 hot dog roll , 2 tsp. peanut butter, Miscellaneous vegetable slices

Peel banana, place in hot dog roll. Spread peanut butter over the banana. Add various vegetable slices for condiments.



Tiger Ball
Need: Large ball

Children sit in a circle (a small circle of five to eight children provides more learning opportunity). If the group is large, divide into two or three circles. Children chant the following verse as they pass the ball around the circle:

Tiger ball, tiger ball,
Where it stops, no one knows.
If you're caught holding it,
You become a tiger.

On the word, "Tiger," whoever is holding the ball at that moment must lose a turn, and sit in the center of the circle. Children do not mind this penalty in the slightest because they are the center of attention and because their time out is very brief.

This game, while very, very simple, is a great delight for little children. It teaches them, in the gentlest way, something about cooperation through simple give and take.

Sites to See

San Diego Zoo Kids Section
Animal information, crafts, and more.

African animals coloring pages

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