Animals and children

Animals are a rich resource for children. They give children all sorts of experiences and can be found just outside of your home or playgroup.

Together with your child have a closer look at the plants you have growing out in the back garden or on the balcony. Explore the area. Look
for living creatures crawling on leaves or residing anywhere nearby. Follow an ant trail or snail’s silvery track. Talk about what you see.

Look for a bird’s nest in hedges and tree branches. Help your child see the nest without disturbing anything.

Visit a pet shop or farm to see baby chicks, lambs, calves or other such baby animals.

Toy animals

Have toy animals (stuffed toys, plastic or wooden animal figures, in farm or zoo sets), animal puzzles, animal pictures, animal books and animal puppets available at playgroup so children can extend their life experiences of animals in their play.

Soft toys could join in a child’s play. Toys could be put in the middle of a blanket held on both ends and gently swung from side to side as you sing 'rock a bye...' inserting the animals name in the song.

Toy animal figures could be put in sand or dirt on their own or with leaves, small tree branches, smooth stones and a little water to create an animal habitat.

Explore the local toy library for big wooden animal puzzles, plastic farm animal sets, animal finger and glove puppets you could borrow to use with songs, rhymes or during an animal story. Libraries have lots of animal picture and story books to choose from. Ask the children’s librarian for ideas.

Elephant, zebras and frogs can be favourites with children. Take children to see them at the zoo and talk about their size, colour and habitat. Lots of children love dinosaurs. Offer plastic toy dinosaurs with green coloured modelling goop in a shallow tray.

Songs and Rhymes

Try some of these favourites or make up your own.

Hey Dee, Hey Dee Ho
One Grey Elephant
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Eency Weency Spider
Old MacDonald had a farm
Five Little Ducks
Three Little Speckled Frogs
This Little Piggy
Laugh Kookaburra
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear

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