As children approach summer, encourage observational skills that will keep them engaged and thinking during vacation time. One way to do this is to tap into their natural curiosity about animals.
Show pictures, videos, or better yet observe birds, squirrels, etc. near your school. Ask children what the birds might be eating. Talk about how some birds eat seeds and berries while other birds pull up worms or snap up an insect for a meal. Use pictures of birds in your area for children to sort showing the types of food the birds prefer.
Then look at other animals in your community. What do deer eat? See a fox? What might this mammal eat? Children can begin to see that some animals eat plant life while others depend on other types of animals to eat. Children love to hear and repeat "million dollar words." We encourage you to use the terms herbivores (plant eaters) and carnivores (meat eaters) in your discussion. We like to remind children of these words right before they walk out the door so that they have a ready answer for families when asked, "What did you learn at school today?"
Look at pictures of animals such as pandas and elephants. Children will likely be surprised these big animals survive on "vegetables." (Is this a sneaky way to say that vegetables make you big and strong?)
Encourage children to color the pictures of these animals and then add their plant food.
Feel free to copy and hand out our cute panda and elephant pictures. Click here for pictures.
You can even make a classroom menu for different animals. We often use this type of activity in our weekly emergent reader offerings. See a sample below:
Encourage children to be on the lookout for animals during the summer months and observe what they eat. This is likely a good time to remind children of an important safety rule: Stay far away from animals in the wild.
know many of you have English Language Learners in your classroom. In
weeks that lend themselves to ideas for these young learners, we will
highlight how you can engage these children, using the information in
Verbalize the sentence frame, "__________ like to eat ____________."
Show pictures of two or more elephants, pandas, robins, cardinals, eagles, puffins, etc. Model for children that these words need an s as they mean more than one. Have children point to the animals and repeat the sentence frame. This will help ELLs with syntax and vocabulary.
NAEYC - 2.D.03, 2.D.04, 2.G.06, & 2.G.08.
Head Start - VIII. A., VIII.B., & XI.B.1.