Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for learning about African animals
Check here for a complete list of Safari Animal Books!
Rhymes that go well with a Safari theme:
- Alphabet Zoo CD: Jack Hartmann
- The Jaguar: Mrs. Jones Sing Along Songs
- Hear the Animals: Mrs. Jones Sing Along Songs
- Going to the Zoo: traditional song
- Kourilengay (West Africa): Multicultural Rhythm Stick Fun by Kimbo
- Carnival of the Animals: Classical music by Camille Saint-Saens
Look for the Elephant & Lion Grid Games on the Grid Games page.
Look for the Elephant Bingo printable on the Bingo page.
Zoo Field Trip Checklist
Lions PowerPoint and printable book.
On Safari PowerPoint and printable reader.
Giraffe Play Dough Math Mats
Giraffe and Lion pattern block mats.
Look for the Safari Cards on the Picture Cards for Themes Page.
Elephant Conga Line
Children walk like an elephant on all four legs, trying to keep their balance while lifting a front leg and a back leg. We made a line of elephants and tried walking around the circle as a group.
This is a good activity to go with the book, Jungle Drums, by Graeme Base. Children make drums out of drink mix cans and use pencils or dowel sticks for drumsticks. A piece of paper is wrapped and glued around the can. Children decorate the drum with animal skin patterns:
Elephant: wrinkled (crumpled) paper painted gray
Zebra: black stripes painted on white paper
Giraffe: brown spots painted on yellow paper
Cheetah: small black spots painted on tan paper
Hippopotamus: painted gray-blue
Rhinoceros: painted gray
Hyena: black and brown spots painted on tan paper
If you don’t have drink mix cans, you can make quiet drums by decorating a paper plate, and use plastic straws for drumsticks.
Handa’s Surprise: Interacting with the Story
[Literacy, Large Motor]
After reading the story, Handa’s Surprise, we talk about how Handa carries fruit to her friend. The children try to balance a basket of play fruit on their head the way Handa did in the story.
Class Book: “I Went On Safari”
Children choose an African grasslands animal to draw on the page. Each page says: “I went on safari, and what did I see? I saw a ____ looking at me!” The pages are put together to make the class book.
Each child has a strip of paper with about 8 letters on it. Children take turns drawing a letter out of a bag. When a letter is pulled out, everyone stamps out that letter on their paper with a safari animal stamp.
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
Children match tangrams to the shapes on the tangram mats to make African animals. [These mats came from: Tangram Animals A to Z, by Learning Resources]
Children make patterns with safari animal rubber stamps.
We talk about ways lions use their sense of smell. Cotton balls are placed around the room: a few unscented cotton balls and some with scented oil. The children pretend to be lions on the hunt by crawling around, and use their noses to find the scented ones.