From stuffed animals to family pets, children have an innate love for animals. In our classrooms, animal-themed activities are always exciting and engaging for the children.

For instance, teachers may transform the dramatic play center into a veterinary office and provide children with stuffed animals, toy doctor props, a pencil, paper and a clipboard. As students take care of the animals and write or draw reports, they practice empathy, compassion, writing skills and creativity.

Below are a few activities you can do with your child at home.

  • Infants: Create finger puppet frogs using clothes pins, green pom-poms, glue and googly eyeball stickers. While reading Five Speckled Frogs to your child, place the clothes pins on your fingers, count the frogs and name colors.
  • Toddlers: Gather a group of toy animals and sing “Old MacDonald.” Hold up each animal as you say its name and sound. Encourage your child to sing along with you.
  • Beginners: Create a fun frog pond by placing pretend lily pads (i.e., cushions or paper cutouts) around a room. Ask your child to act like a frog by leaping from one lily pad to another.
  • Intermediates: If you have a pet, encourage your child to help care for the animal by feeding it, changing its water or giving it a bath. Including him in these tasks will instill responsibility and develop confidence.
  • Pre-K/Pre-K 2: Give your child two of his favorite stuffed animals. Ask him, “How are the animals the same?” and “How are the animals different?” Listen for adjectives describing color, shape and size.