Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for learning about pets
Nursery rhymes that go well with a Pets Theme:
- Hey Diddle Diddle
- Old Mother Hubbard
Look for printable posters of these rhymes on the Nursery Rhymes Page.
- How Much is That Doggie in the Window: traditional song
- Old Mother Hubbard: Rhymin’ to the Beat Vol. 2 CD by Jack Hartmann
- Rags: Rhymin’ to the Beat Vol. 2 CD by Jack Hartmann
Pet Picture Word Cards
Dog Food and Cat Food Play Dough Counting Mats
Spots on the Puppy Counting Mats
Pets Grid Game
Look for the Pet Bingo game on the Bingo Games Page.
Pet Dice Game
Look for the Pets Cards on the Picture Cards for Themes page.
Printable pattern block mats in blackline and color. Look for the dog, cat, turtle, and fish mats to use with a pet theme.
Children pretend to be dogs. As a few dog commands are called out (fetch, sit, lie down, roll over, bark, beg, come, etc.), the children act them out.
The children choose which kind of pet they want to be. They move around and make the sounds of that animal.
[Fine Motor Skills]
This idea came from one of my students one year. Children roll Model Magic into little balls for pet food and paint the pieces brown. They use the pretend food in the pet store and in their pretend play with the toy dogs and cats. Or, use play dough (see below).
Pet Food Play Dough
[Fine Motor Skills]
Similar to the above activity, children roll play dough into little balls to make dog food or cat food and place them into a bowl. Rolling play dough into balls is a good fine motor skill.
Pet Cutting Skills
[Fine Motor Skills]
I printed out some dog and cat clipart and cut them into strips. The children used scissors to snip the pictures and glue them on a piece of paper. This was a free choice activity in our art center.
This is another idea from one of my students. Children made dog houses with cardboard boxes. They worked together with others to make the doghouses, deciding how it would look, where the door would be, and what materials to use to decorate the house.
[Dramatic Play, Literacy, Social Skills]
Children made pet food, dog houses, pet toys, and leashes to sell in their pet store. A cash register with play money, paper, and pencils were added and the children wrote receipts and price tags for the items.
Pet Store Signs
Children made signs for their pet store.
This is an activity that goes with any theme. Choose a book that goes with the theme, and have the children retell the story.
Read the blog post here for details: story retelling
Our graph title was “What is your favorite pet?” In the top of the chart, I placed pet clipart (available in the Printables section). The children chose which pet they would like to have, and placed their name card in the pocket chart graph. We counted how many of each animal, and determined most/least/same.
Dog and Cat Card Game
For each set of cards, half of the cards (index cards) are stamped with dogs and half with cats to represent the numbers 0-4. Children work in pairs, and have an equal amount of cards: one child has cat cards, the other child has dog cards. Players turn over a card simultaneously. The player whose card has the most cats or dogs keeps both cards for that round of the game. When the players tie, they both keep only their own card. Children compare more, less, and same amounts.
Dog Counting Game
These counting cards were made with index cards, a dog notepad from the teacher store, and a paw print stamp. Children count the paws and match them to the numeral on the dog.
Pet Care Prop Box
[Dramatic Play Center]
In the house center, we have toy dogs and cats with pet food bowls, rawhide bones, pet carrier, collars, leash, pet bed, pet toys. We keep these in our house center all year.
Police Dog Visit
Schedule a visit from a K-9 police dog and ask the officer to talk about the importance of working dogs.