A Pets Theme is fun! Also, pets are fun at home and at school, but they also come with a lot of responsibility! Take your preschoolers love and fascination of pets as an opportunity to teach!
This theme will help you to teach them what is involved in choosing and caring for a pet! This Pets Theme page is filled with some preschool activities and ideas for your classroom.
You'll find more themes to help you with your planning on my preschool themes page.
You can scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme.
You can also click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Have fun, enjoy your preschool lesson planning!
If you become tempted to get a classroom pet, you might want to read my article on what to consider first!
Some classroom pets are higher maintenance than others!
Materials Needed: watercolor paint, brushes, paper
Encourage the children to paint a picture of their pet, a pet they'd like to have or a made up pet!
Write down their dictation of their painting as well!
Rainbow Fish Pet
Materials Needed: Bright paint colors (watercolor paint is perfect!), paper, brushes, googly eyes, glue and one small piece of aluminum foil per child.
After reading Rainbow Fish, the children make their own, complete with a shiny scale!
Pets Theme Collage
In advance, cut out pet shapes from large paper (24" X 24" or larger)--include dogs, cats, etc.
Hang these on the wall at the children's level (I recommend taping a very large piece of paper or thin tablecloth to the wall first!).
Provide markers, crayons and colored pencils for the children to color and design their pets over the week or so of this theme.
Add stuffed animals or plastic animals to your block area for some imaginative pet park building!
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!
I'm thinking of a pet....
This is an I-spy type of guessing game!
I'm thinking of a pet that has 4 legs, ears, and barks (or an moos!), etc.
Who Makes That Sound?
Bring a recording of different animal sounds (either you can record the sounds on a tape with pauses in between or ask a parent or group of parents to collaborate on this project!).
Play the sound and pause the tape as the children guess the animal.
VARIATION: There are many CD's available with animal sounds on them. You could also use one of those "See and Say" toys!
3 Little Kittens
Provide flannel pieces or stuffed animal cats and mittens as props for the children to learn this!
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!
For a snack today, provide animal crackers.
As you all share snack, talk about the crackers and how they would take care of them if they were pets.
What would a lion need? A rhinoceros? A giraffe? Where would they sleep? What do they eat?
Provide stuffed animals, bandages, doctor kits, large white shirts (for doctor coats), clipboards and crayons
More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
Provide a variety of feathers to paint with this week!
If you have a large appliance box, let the children help you decorate it and turn it into a pet house.
Provide stuffed animals and use this inside or outside! The children can take their pets for walks, runs, etc. and then place them in the house to rest (of course, the children will want to be in the house with their pets!).
Guess My Moves!
Let each child take a turn pretending to be an animal and let the other children guess!
THIS CD is my ABSOLUTE favorite for this theme! There are 2 tracks about Animal Actions.
The kids would play this every day at Circle Time, Gross Motor Time or just as a great transition throughout the day!
I highly recommend it! Click the picture to the right to check it out!
Place pillows out and provide beanie baby animals or stuffed animals.
The children practice their tossing skills by trying to get a stuffed animal onto a pillow!
Follow The Leader
Each child has a turn leading the line of their friends. They act like one animal (perhaps barking, trotting like a horse, etc.) and the others follow and copy that child.
That child then goes to the back and the next child is the leader.
Book Suggestions for the Library
Many of the following books are available at your local library. You can also click on the title links to see what Amazon has available.
(I LOVE Amazon, and if you choose to get yours there, they do send me a few cents--which supports my coffee habit!)
LOTS of NON-FICTION pet books!
I saw this as a bulletin board but think it would make a great math center activity!
Cut out 20 fish bowl shapes.
On one set of them list the number word "one" and one dot. Continue for 2-10.
On the second set of fish bowl shapes, cut the tops to look like wavy water and draw fish on them (1-10)
The children match the fish "in the water" to the correct fish bowl.
I think you could also program the backs of the fish in water pieces to have the number word "one" and a dot (repeating 1-10) so the children have 2 ways to use this.
Be sure to laminate before use for long term use!
EXTENSION: Give the children a bowl of goldfish crackers to use to place on the dots or the drawn fish!
Dog or Pet House
Materials needed: small box, magazines, scissors, glue
Encourage the children to cut out pictures of pets from magazines and glue them onto a box for a pet house. Each day, place a different stuffed animal pet in the box as a point of discussion on pet care (How do we take care of a fish? A cat? etc.)
VARIATION: If you have enough boxes, each child can make their own!
This has got to be my FAVORITE animal movement activity! Animal Action part 1 and part 2 are on the Greg and Steve CD called Kids in Motion. It will become your children's FAVORITE Cd in no time! (Click the link to the right to check it out!)
Bird Nesting Cups
In advance, hole punch a hole on each side of a paper cup near the top.
Have the children help to lace string through the holes to make a hangar from the string.
In the sensory table, place fabric, lint from the clothes dryer, yarn and scissors. Encourage the children to cut the fabric and lint and place it in their cups. They can hang the cup outside near their home for birds to take the pieces to make a nest with.
Add plastic fish and small fish nets to the water table along with cups. The children try to catch one fish at a time with the net and place it in a cup.
Materials: Ok, ok, I KNOW this is a stretch for me! However, I have talked to many preschool teachers who LOVE their "hissers" as pets! The cages only need to be cleaned a few times a year; they eat fruit; and the do actually hiss (when scared, they release air from their abdomins to flatten their bodies and to warn off predators). They do not bite and do not move around very fast so the kids can actually...gulp...hold them!
I must admit I've never had one as a pet, but I'll tell you---teachers who have them LOVE them! Just a thought!
REAL Hissing Cockroaches!
Materials Needed: magazines, scissors, glue, markers, large paper
As children come to the writing table, encourage them to draw or write about pets on the paper or to find, cut and glue pictures from the magazines onto the collage paper.
Visit a Pet Store
Call around to different pet stores to plan a visit with the children. When you return, discuss and make a list of all the pets you saw: mice, hamsters, fish, dogs, cats, reptiles, etc.