The zoo

Age group

3-5 yrs

Number of children:

3-7 ppl

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Areas it develops: language skills, vocabulary, fine-motor skills, larger movements, cause-effect relations, learning about the world

This game introduces children to the world of animals, but it’s great because it is easily adjustable to other topics too. These exercises require children to use all of their sensory organs and it affects all of the developmental areas as they get to experience the features of animals (and thus indirectly the features of our world) in many different ways.

It is recommended to play this game with a smaller group.

Ingredients

  • 6 tables or something to build the stations
  • printed “passports” for all children
  • printed versions of all images that are needed (one for every child)
  • animal footprints (stamps / forms / pictures / drawings)
  • something to be able to play animal sounds (or somebody who can do it well :))

For children between the age of 5-6

Instructions:

Each of the 6 stages will have an animal footprint. Children will have to identify the animal only by looking at those. When the succeed they will either have to glue the image of the animal in the passport or they can also draw it.

Pro tip: If a child has difficulties with understanding speech or focus make sure to use short sentences when you describe the task. We can also ask the group to repeat the rules so that the child with the issues can listen to them again. Only mention one instruction at a time and there also should be someone performing the task as an example. We could make a flowchart too for easier comprehension.

To get to the next station ...

Instructions:

… they have to mimic the movements of the identified animal. Older kids can be asked to express with one word the type of movement (wander, jump, crawl, hop, fly…)

Pro tip: The adult may actually tell them the movement but the decision should be left for the kids. Children should be given the opportunity to do as the adult says or as they think the animal moves. This can help those who have coordination/motor issues as they are allowed to choose an easier movement. If needed the adult can actually help with the motion.

Age of 4-5

Instructions:

Children between the age of 4-5 have to identify the animals by their shadows.

Age of 3-4

Instructions:

Children between the age of 3-4 have to identify the animals by their voices. When they succeed they get the stamp in their passports and may move on to the next station.

Pro tip: If there is a child who is unwilling to play or is just a little shy do not pressure them, instead offer them to be an observer or to help with the passports (sticking and stamping). If the adult joins the game for a bit or if we ask the child which animals they would want to mimic could be motivating too.