We are off to the zoo to learn something new, and let me tell you: this zoo theme does not disappoint! These literacy zoo activities for preschoolers are hands-on and engaging ways to practice the alphabet, initial sounds, letter formation, and rhyming words. Perfect for your preschoolers to jump right in and get learning!
Zoo Lesson plans
Alphabet Zoo Map
Identifying Initial Sounds
Commanda Randa. That is the nickname I got in Paris after showing my expert map-reading skills. I was named after the one and only Rand McNally. Not to brag or anything.
Now, even though we all rely heavily on our GPS to get us where we need to be, learning to read maps is still such an important skill. It combines reading with math, and it helps develop visual literacy. These skills can help our students with solving different types of problems later on. Plus they’ll be able to find their way around the Metro in Paris.
This Alphabet Zoo Map takes a very basic approach to maps. The tan lines represent the paths to see the different animals around the zoo. My little ones loved pretending to walk on the paths until they spotted a new animal. Then, they named the animal, figured out the beginning sound, and found the matching letter to place on top. Such a fun and unique way to practice beginning letter sounds! Plus, it helped when we made our own zoo and zoo map in the blocks center!
Zoo Scavenger Hunt
Letter Hunt & Letter Formation
Binoculars give us a whole new perspective on the world. Even if they are made from cardboard tubes, binoculars help us focus in on one object and make us feel like we are secret spies on a mission. Especially when there’s a scavenger hunt involved!
I hung these zoo animal cards around the room for my little ones to find. To make it feel more like a zoo, I played a little background noise of zoo sounds, which only made my little ones tiptoe around even more, trying to quietly find the animals.
The thrill of them finding an animal was pure joy to watch. Plus, it made me even more excited for our upcoming field trip to the zoo.
After they found an animal, they either traced the letter with a marker to work on letter formation or colored in the picture. Both ways work on fine motor skills and pencil grip, just at their own level.
Okay, now it’s time to get a little louder with some singing and roaring alphabet fun!
And let me tell you, this activity NEVER disappoints!
Set up is easy. Cut out the alphabet cards and place magnetic letters on top of the letter mat sitting on a cookie sheet.
Then, sing the song, quietly pretending to creep and loudly pretending to leap. Next, draw a card, find the matching letter on top of the board, and feed it to Alpha-Lion. Just open up the disinfecting wipes container and drop the letter in!
No kid can resist this zoo activity for preschool!
Fine Motor Literacy Activity
Part two of Alpha-Lion involves a quieter version of letter-matching. Mostly because it takes a lot of concentration to get those fine motor skills working on the clothespins!
I stuck small alphabet stickers on clothespins (I just keep a set of uppercase and lowercase clothespins for many activities). Then, the kids matched the letters on the clothespins to the letters on the lion’s mane. Easy and effective.
Letter Formation Cards
Sometimes all you need is a penguin topper.
All of a sudden my little one is eager to write every single letter of the alphabet.
Now, I know there are many reluctant writers out there because, well, writing is HARD. It takes:
But there are ways to make it lure in the little ones. Today, it was done by adding penguin counters on top of our dry erase markers. Tomorrow, it will be something different.
Whatever you do, add a little something special or different that will make them want to work on those very difficult, but very important fine motor skills.
Feed the Monkey
Initial Sounds Activity
Why is it the moment you try to sit down and take a break, your kids or students think: “That looks like the perfect place to climb.” The upside is that I stay really busy all day long to avoid becoming a human jungle gym.
Which means I also want to keep those little monkeys busy with some more zoo activities for preschool.
This Feed the Monkey activity encourages your little ones to look at the letters in the monkey’s ear and determine the initial sound. Then, they feed bananas to the monkey, but only on the 3 pictures that start with that letter. Monkey noises and jumping encouraged (as long as it’s not on me!).
Let’s be real. All it takes to get the kiddos excited is a good old-fashioned game of BINGO!
I remember when we used to play in elementary school, and the anticipation of who would yell out BINGO first would be so thrilling. Of course, I secretly hoped it would be me. But, you know, it’s BINGO.
This game of BINGO takes a different approach: with rhyming words!
There are several different cards that each have different words that pair with the rhyming word on the calling card. Also, there are cards with a 3×3 grid and a 4×4 grid – perfect to differentiate with your little learners.
Play with your class or small group today!
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MORE Zoo Activities for Preschoolers
Would you like to save your evenings and weekends planning centers? Instead of struggling to come up with engaging and fun centers yourself, leave the work to me! All you have to do is print and do a little bit of prep, and your students (and you) will have so much fun with these literacy zoo activities for preschoolers! Did you know if you buy the whole zoo activities bundle, you save 20%? Click below to check it out and let me know if there’s anything you need to make these activities work for your preschoolers!