Tap to Read ➤

Zoo Activities for Preschool Children

Priya Johnson
As a preschool teacher, you have the responsibility to educate the preschoolers about zoos and different zoo animals. By conducting various fun and interesting zoo activities, you can teach the children about the zoo world within the boundaries of your classroom.
Educating children about the zoo is essential and can be done in a classroom. However, to make learning easier and interesting, a number of activities can be included in the teaching plan. Before heading to the activities, explain the basics of a zoo to the children, such as the zoo is a place where all kinds of wild animals are kept and taken care of. Also, touch upon the zoo keeper and the veterinarian, along with the roles they play. 
It is essential to clarify that animals at a zoo are taken good care of and that they are kept in captivity for their safety as well as ours. Moreover, zoos are places where endangered animals can be protected and their extinction can be prevented. You could use picture books, encyclopedias, slide shows, animal movies and numerous other methods to teach the children about the zoo. 

Animal Crafts

To help the children learn and grasp more information about different zoo animals, you can have them make their very own wild animals. However, while making the animals make sure you explain the significant characteristics of each animal.


Requirements: Construction paper- brown, black, tan, white, pair of scissors and markers. 

Procedure: Trace the hands of the child on a tan construction paper. Cut them out. You will have two hand cutouts. Next trace the child's foot along with the shoe onto the brown construction paper and cut it out. Place the two hand cutouts on the narrower end of the shoe cutout and glue them to it. Cut out eyes and a mouth and paste them on. The reindeer is ready and the children will remember that the reindeer is an animal with antlers.


Requirements: Card stock - one white sheet per child, round head fastener, crayons, pair of scissors. 

Prior preparation: Draw a spiral pattern on the white card stock which should end with the snake's head. 

Procedure: Have the children color both sides of the paper, making patterns of their choice.
The other side won't have the spiral pattern, however, it doesn't matter. Just ask them to color it and once it is cut, it will look just fine. Once they are done, place fasteners at the center point of the card stock, which will be the tail end of the snake.
Next, cut out the outer edge of the spiral until you reach the tail and tie a piece of wool to the fastener. You could even use red felt and cut out the serpent's forked tongue and attach it to its mouth. And you will have a dangling snake ready.


Requirements: Any can or tin which is about 4-5 inches tall, gray construction paper, makers, wiggly eyes (if available) or else, white and black construction paper for the eyes and glue.
Procedure: Cut out a piece from the gray construction paper and wrap the can completely. For the ears of the elephant, fold the gray paper into half and then draw a large ear. The ear should be extended into a narrow strip of excess paper positioned towards the mid section of the ear. Now cut this out. You will have two ears with their extensions ready.
Paste the extensions of the ear on the sides of the can. The ears will stand up. For the trunk, cut out a rectangular piece from the gray paper and roll it will a pencil to give it a nice curl. Use markers to draw wrinkles on the trunk. Cut out tusks from the white construction paper and paste it. Paste the eyes and the elephant pencil holder is ready.

Cooking and Eating Animals

Children love to learn while eating, and learning about the zoo will become more interesting when they actually make and eat their zoo animals!

Reindeer Bread

Requirements: Brown bread, peanut butter, raisins, pretzels, marshmallows and plates.

Procedure: It is better to tape plastic sheets onto the work tables, as cleaning up will become a lot easier. Slice the bread in such a way that you get two triangles. Ask the children to spread peanut butter on their slices and then decorate the slice with pretzels for the antlers, raisins for the eyes, marshmallow for the mouth and your edible reindeer is ready.

Polar Bear

Requirements: Bread, cheese (grated), black olives, cookie cutter - circular (two different sizes). 

Prior Preparation: Use a circular cookie cutter to cut out the bread. Use a smaller sized cookie cutter to cut out a smaller circle. You could use a bottle cap to cut out the ears.
Procedure: Place these three sizes in three different bowls on a center table. Ask each child to choose one large circle for the body, one small circle for the head and two small circles for the ears, and arrange them on their individual plates to form a bear. The circles can be pinched slightly together to keep them united.
Give the children grated cheese to place on their bread pieces, sliced black olives for the eyes and a whole olive for the nose. For the mouth, you could give thinly sliced olives. And the polar bears are ready.

Herbivorous and Carnivorous

Requirements: Animal crackers, shredded lettuce, shredded chicken and paper plates. 

Procedure: Provide each child with two paper plates, one small bowl of shredded lettuce and one small bowl of shredded chicken. Place assorted animal crackers on the center table. Ask the children to spread lettuce onto one paper plate and chicken on the second one.
Then ask them to go to the center table and choose animals which they think are herbivorous and place them onto the lettuce. Explain to them which animals are herbivorous and which are carnivorous.
Further, ask them to choose the carnivorous animals and place them on the plate with shredded chicken. This way they will learn to distinguish meat-eating animals from the plant-eating ones.

Assembling and Matching Activities

Assembling and matching activities help the children remember animal coats, animal characteristics and enable them to correlate what they learn from what they see.

Animals and their young ones

Requirements: Pictures of animals and their young ones, white construction sheets (one for each child), glue, two center tables. 

Procedure: Place the pictures of different zoo animals onto a center table. Place the pictures of their young ones onto another center table.
Ask the children to pick an animal of their choice from one table and then go and find its young one from the other table. Once they have the mother and young one, ask them to paste them onto the construction paper. Have them paste as many pairs as they can.

Animal Puzzles

Requirements: Large animal pictures, glue, construction paper. 

Procedure: Cut the animal pictures into two and shuffle them together. Place this mix onto a center table. Give each child, half of the animal picture and ask them to find the other half from the table.
Ask them to paste the parts correctly onto the construction paper. For this activity, use animals which have distinctive coats, such as tigers, leopards, zebras, etc. which will make the task of matching, easier for the children.

Zoo Collage

Requirements: Large sheet of construction paper, national geographic magazines, glue. 

Procedure: Collage is a craft activity enjoyed by all age groups. Give the children several national geographic magazines to work with. Ask them to tear out those animals they think live in a zoo and paste them onto the construction paper.
The children can also cook up conversations taking place between the animals. Ask them to come up in front and present what according to them the lion said to kangaroo or the elephant said to the deer, etc. It's fun to hear the way children cook up hilarious animal conversations.

Zoo games

Several games can be played to teach various characteristics of animals to the children. Having fun while learning is the best and most effective method through which children learn.

Sound games

This game aims at teaching children, different animal sounds. You could keep various pictures of animals in a cardboard box and then pull out one at a time. Or else, you could even have each child come and pick up one animal from the box and the rest of the class has to make that particular animal's sound.

Kangaroo games

This activity has to be played outdoors. All you need is one paper bag and one stuffed kangaroo for each team. Place the stuffed kangaroo into the paper bag and use it as the baton for the relay. This is not an ordinary relay. The children have to hop instead of run, along with the kangaroo bag and reach the winning line. During the race, each child is a kangaroo and the stuffed toy, their baby kangaroo, whom they have to safely transport without dropping.

Zoo keeper games

For this game you will need stuffed animals and a zoo keeper hat. Have each child come up and put on the zoo keeper hat and choose one stuffed animal of his choice. Ask the child to speak about the animal or narrate a fictitious story that happened at the zoo, while he was a zoo keeper.
You could even play zoo keeper hide and seek, wherein one child is chosen as the zoo keeper and wears the hat. The zoo keeper has to close his eyes and count till 20, while the other children hide.
The zoo keeper's duty is to find the children and put them into the cage. Have a particular space allotted for the cage. The children who are in the cages can makes animal sounds of agony.

Monkey game

This game is a lot of fun and also educates children about the monkey's mimicking nature. Have the children stand in a circle and choose a leader within themselves. This leader will choose actions and perform them and the other monkeys will follow. Each child can be given a chance to be the leader for sometime.

Zoo Race

Get a large sheet of construction paper and prepare a grid and place toy zoo animals on the first row, with one animal occupying each column on the first row of the grid. Now, the total number of animals placed on the sheet should be only six. Choose the same number of kids. Number each animal.
Ask each kid to choose an animal for themselves. Then roll a dice and depending on the number displayed by the dice, the corresponding animal gets to move one step ahead in the grid. Keep throwing the dice till the first animal crosses the row in the grid. That animal is the winner.
Besides these activities, you can also include animal nursery rhymes in the lessons. Action songs are a lot of fun. You could also make animal puppets and have the children create their own zoo story. You could even get each preschooler to make their zoo scrapbook, which contains pictures of animals and paper cutouts. The motive behind conducting all these activities is to educate the children about zoos and the animals living in them!