This Woodland Animals Theme is all about animals that live...well...in the woods!
Here is one for those Woodland Creatures!
This page includes preschool lesson plans, activities and Interest Learning Center ideas for your Preschool Classroom!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme.
Or you can click the picture below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Getting Ready! Let's Make a Tent!
Materials Needed: a large, white, flat sheet; fabric paint OR spray bottles with colored water in them!; clothesline type rope and a way to hang it up!
In small groups, have the children decorate this sheet with fabric paint. You can also take it outside and let them spray it with colored water (just put a little paint or food coloring into some water bottles with water).
When dry, hang this either over your Circle Area or in your Dramatic Play area!
Materials needed: black paper, glow in the dark paint
The children paint on black (or dark blue) construction paper with this glow in the dark paint.
VARIATION: Use white paper and have the children draw with crayon (pressing down a little hard). When done, paint over the paper with black or dark blue watercolor.
VARIATION: Your children can also color with crayon on white paper and then cover the entire paper with black crayon. They then use a craft stick to draw on the paper. This scratches away the black crayon revealing colored images.
However, covering the paper with black crayon and pressing hard is very difficult for young children. You could have the children color the papers with different color crayons. Be sure their names are on the back.
Then enlist help from parents or you and your co-workers could cover each picture with heavy black crayon.
Present the papers to them the next day to scratch out designs.
3D Night Scenes
Materials needed: black construction paper, thin twigs, googly eyes, glitter glue
The children paint their paper with glitter glue.
The then glue pairs of wiggly eyes all over their paper.
The then glue twigs on their papers.
It makes a night scene where all you can see are eyes looking through the trees!
This looks fun from Art and Soul Preschool Blogspot
Materials: egg cartons, egg carton covers (as shown in picture) or, we have used just sturdy tag board for the body; feathers, glue, paint
The children glue the owl face onto the tag board.
They then glue on feathers.
The children then paint the owl and face.
Ripped Paper Owl Babies
I am a big fan of children developing their muscles in many ways in the classroom.
For this activity, provide white paper. Have the children just rip, rip, rip, rip, pieces.
Then provide them with brown paper. Have the children create owl shapes by gluing the pieces onto the brown paper nests.
Beaver Hand Prints
Materials: brown finger paint, black markers, googly eyes, glue, fingerpaint paper.
Have the children make a brown hand print onto paper.
When dry, They draw lines on their thumb print. This is the tail.
They add eyes and draw feet and hands on the rest of their hand for the beaver.
There is a picture of this that I found on Pinterest on my Pinterest board.
Materials: plastic forks, paint (variety of colors), white paper, crayons
Have the children draw a LARGE oval or circle as best they can (remember, it's about the process and practice, not having a perfection outcome).
They then dip the fork into paint and press the fork onto the paper on the oval or circle. This makes colored quills.
The children use the crayons to draw feet and a head on their porcupines.
In advance, make several triangle stencils. A large one for a fox face. And small ones for fox ears.
Materials children need: stencils, markers, scissors, paper, glue, wiggly eyes (optional)
The children trace one large triangle on paper and cut out. They use the scraps to trace out 2 small triangles.
The children glue the ears on the head to make a fox.
Encourage the children to draw other facial items on their fox such as eyes, nose, mouth, whiskers.
Provide non-fiction books/pictures of fox for them to see.
Optional: Provide wiggly eyes. Preschoolers just LOVE them and would use them everyday!
VARIATION: I've seen some these made where the children glue ripped paper or tissue paper onto the faces for a cute effect!
Add animal beanie babies, stuffed animals, small plastic animals or animal puppets to the block area for the children to create habitats for these woodland animals!
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
Peek A Boo Board
In advance, tape pictures of woodland animals to a large sheet of poster board.
Cover each animal with construction paper and cut out door or window shape on each paper to reveal only a portion of each animal.
You can use this board as an introduction to your theme.
Ask the children what types of animals or creatures live in the woods. Make a list on chart board.
Tell them you are going to find some that live in the woods!
Lift a window or ask a child to, and see if the child (or pairs of children) can guess the animal. Then, lift up the entire paper to reveal the animal.
Real or Pretend?
Make two signs: One that says REAL and one that says PRETEND
Find pictures or use stuffed animals or puppets.
Give each child a picture or stuffed animal.
Place the cards REAL and PRETEND in the middle of circle, perhaps near 2 bins or laundry baskets.
Take turns talking about each one. After discussing each one, ask, "Is this REAL or PRETEND?" and have child place in appropriate basket.
Wolves vs Dogs
Many wolves look like dogs and many dogs (think huskies and malamutes) look like wolves! Show pictures of both (non fiction books are great for this).
Talk about their similarities and differences. Write them on a Venn Diagram Chart where you have Wolves on the left, Dogs on the right and the things that are similar will be in the connecting middle.
Differences: wolves live in the wild; dogs are domesticated (though some live in the wild, also!); wolves hunt other animals; wolves are not pets
Similarities: howling; tails; fur
Now: Let's Howl! Get those wiggles out and howl like a wolf!
Later today, play "What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?" (see Gross Motor activities for details).
Bunny Hop Game
You will need: a laminated bunny face, laminated bunny whiskers, flannel board
In advance, cut out a picture of a bunny's face.
Cut out some rectangular papers and print action words (add pictures if you have them!) for the children to act out.
Laminate them all. Place velcro on the backs of all the pieces.
Hang bunny face on a flannel board. Place whiskers in a basket.
Teach the children this song (sung to Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush)
This is the way the bunny hops,
The bunny hops, the bunny hops.
This is the way the bunny hops early in the morning.
Now sing it again and instruct the children to hop the way a bunny would hop.
Have one child come to the basket and choose a whisker. They "read" it (by looking at the picture of what a child is doing), and place it on the flannel board near the bunny's face.
Now sing the song again replacing the word hops with the action word on the whisker!
Suggested action words: Jump, tip toe, spin, fly, crawl
Little Mouse! Little Mouse!
I LOVE this game! I use it all year long! However, mice do live in the woods!
Make house shapes of different colors and make a mouse that will fit under the house.
Place the mouse under a house without the children seeing (I place a bin cover or box lid between the houses and the children when doing this so they don't peak!).
Then the children say together:
"Little Mouse! Little Mouse! Are you in the....."
Then choose ONE child to name a color. They say "red house" (insert their color!).
Lift up that color house.
Then you all say: "Little Mouse! You ARE (or ARE NOT) in the _________ (insert color) house!"
VARIATION: Using a dry erase marker, print numbers or letters on the houses and have the children say the number or letter instead of the color!
Or, better yet, make additional sets of houses all in one color and label a set with letters, a set with numbers and a set with shapes. Then laminate.
Now you have this game for transitions throughout the year and you can work on letters, numbers, colors or shapes!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Deer Toast Snack
This is a very cute snack idea that I found on Pinterest! It is from creativekidsnacks.com
Needed: bread, small pretzel knots, plastic knives, paper plates
1. Toast the bread.
2. Have children cut the bread in half.
3. Have the children cut one half into 5, thin rectangles (as best they can!).
4. Place the other half on the paper plate.
5. Use 4 of the rectangles for legs.
6. Break the other rectangle into pieces. Use a small piece for the head and another for the tail.
7. Use the pretzel knots as antlers
Needed: bananas (1/2 banana for each child), frosting, raisins, chow mein noodles, plastic spoon, fruit snacks
The children place some frosting on their spoon.
They place the banana half, cut side on the plate.
Dip raisins in the frosting and stick on for eyes.
Dip gummy snacks in frosting and place on sides for ears.
Dip another gummy in frosting and stick on front as nose.
Stick chow mein noodles (3 on each side) in banana near nose for whiskers.
VARIATION: To make this into a beaver, in addition to the above, provide mini marshmellows (2), dip in frosting and stick on under nose as teeth!
Drink Like Spiders
Yup, spiders are in the woods, too! Spiders do NOT eat....they only drink fluids! They have strawlike mouths.
Have your children drink their beverage at snack time like spiders!
Place water, juice (or smoothies!) in a ziplock bag. Seal the bag.
Insert a straw below the sealed part of the baggie in one side into the drink!
(See the Hidden Spider activity in the Math/Manipulatives section for a spider activity!)
Wildlife Refuge Center
Pull it all together here! Hang your tent that you made at the art center here.
Add sleeping bags; a canteen set; stuffed animals to go with the theme; don't forget some plastic bugs and snakes!; binoculars
Another great edition to this would be a Viewmaster with animal slides. I've listed a few that my preschoolers have LOVED in the classroom!
More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
Negative Space Animal Art
In advance, cut out animal shapes.
Tape them onto paper on the easel.
The children paint at the easel, painting over the animal.
When dry, remove the animal shape to reveal the negative print!
Paint with Nature
Use leaves, pinecones or branches to paint with!
Animal Scavenger Hunt
Hide your woodland animals and creatures in your play area (inside or outside!).
Have the children search for and identify each one when they find it.
Your children will then play "hide and seek" with them on their own! They love this game!
EXTENSION: Create a clipboard or papers with pictures of each animal and creature. Laminate the papers and provide dry erase markers for them to "check off" the animals as they find them!
Suggestions: Use stuffed animals or plastic animals sorters of: racoons, owls, squirrels, fox, bears, beavers, deer, snakes, spiders, etc.
Talk about bats and how they can not see very well. They depend on their sense of hearing to get around.
Place a blindfold around one child's eyes. This child is the bat. He/she stands in the middle.
The other children stand in a circle around the bat.
Choose one child to say the word ECHO.
The bat needs to listen for that word to find the child.
It will be challenging as the other children will be giggling!
What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?
Choose one child to be Mr. or Ms. Wolf. This child stands on one side of the room while the others stand on the opposite end of the room.
The children all ask in unison: What Time Is It, Mr/Ms Wolf?
The "wolf" states a time such as "It is four o'clock."
The children count out loud that many of steps as they take them toward the wolf.
Whenever the wolf wants to, he or she can answer the question with "It's LUNCH TIME!" and the wolf chases and tags someone else to be the wolf.
(Also, see the Wolves VS Dogs Circle Time activity!).
Book Suggestions for the LibraryBrown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
Provide oval shaped styrofoam (cut circle ones in half).
Give the children either plastic golf tees or tooth picks or craft sticks.
They press these into the styrofoam.
You can encourage much counting here!
VARIATION: I am not a fan of the sound of crunching styrofoam, so I have used the green material that is used by florists!
You will need different types of spiders (the small, plastic or rubber ones); yarn and plastic eggs.
In advance, wrap the spiders with yarn so they are hidden. Place one in each plastic egg.
The children open the egg and unwind the "spider web" yard to reveal the spider.
EXTENSION: Provide paint at your art table this day. The children can take their spider to the art table, dip it in paint and make spider prints on paper!
Move Like A........
Play music and name woodland animals for the children to act out. A bear, an owl, a bat, a deer!
Animal Action song by Greg and Steve
I LOVE this CD! There are two Animal Action tracks on it that include all kinds of animals for the children to act out and sing along with! This is also a favorite transition CD!
Going on a Bear Hunt!
Play any version of this song and go on a bear hunt during this woodland animals theme! My favorite is Dr. Jean's because you go through a jello river!!
These two CD's are listed below! Click on the links to see what deals Amazon has on them!
The Woods in Playdough
Make a large batch of different colors of playdough.
Place it in your sand/water table with craft sticks, plastic animals and bugs, rocks, leaves, etc.
The children create their own Woods and add animals. The sticks can be used as tree trunks!
Add rocks, leaves, sticks, twigs, toy frogs and animals to your water table today. Talk about the woodland animals that live in or need the river.
Provide paper plates and precut pieces of animal faces for the children to create a woodland animal or to create their own.
They glue these pieces onto paper plates to make masks.
Materials needed: plaster of paris, water, thick ziplock sandwich baggies (get the GOOD ones!), measuring cups,
Have each child measure 1 cup of plaster of paris intotheir paggie.
Have each child measure 1/2 cup of water into the baggie.
Seal their bag well.
The children then squish, knead, roll, etc the bag to mix the mixture. As they do this, the mixture will begin to set and get hard.
Let sit. When hardened, remove baggies.
The children then look at the shape and turn it into a woodland animal of their choice.
These can be painted with tempera paint and then add googly eyes, feathers, etc.!
In your science center, place real birds nests (you can find them abandoned in the winter). Provide feathers, pine cones and leaves for the children to explore with magnifying glasses.
EXTENSION: Provide empty wreaths and let the children use twigs, feathers and leaves to make a nest with the wreaths.
Here's a song about birds and nests.
It is sung to the tune of Farmer in the Dell
The birds are building nests,
The birds are building nests.
With twigs and grass and mud and string
They use everything!
And when the nests are done,
And when the nests are done,
The mother lays eggs then sits on them to keep them warm
And safe from any harm.
Inside a Tree
If someone you know has recently had trees removed, see if you can get a slice of the tree!
Have the children check out the rings of the trees; do bark rubbings on the outside of it; remove a piece of bark and place it here also. Provide magnifying glasses and journals!
Provide paper, woodland stickers (or stamps and stamp pads) and crayons.
In advance, place one sticker (or press a stamp) of each animal on an index card and print the name of the animal. Leave these in your center for children who may want to try printing the words onto their pictures.
(I recommend laminating these cards to use again each year).
The children create an animal scene and tell you a story.
Print their story, in their own words, and display with their picture OR use all the pictures and stories to make a class book!
Squirrel to Acorn Maze
Create a maze on paper with paths to get a squirrel from the start point to an acorn.
*Be aware that you should NOT use REAL acorns in a classroom if you have a child with a tree-nut allergy.
Moose (or Elk) Antlers
Develop your children's writing skills by having them practice tracing!
On a large (11 X 18) piece of brown construction paper, fold the bottom (of a long side) up about 3 inches.
Now flip it over so the fold is not facing up.
Have the children trace their hands on the paper.
Have them, or help them, cut out along the fold and around the hands.
Tape in place for a head band.
EXTENSION: Make some muffins for snack and read If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff during snack!