This post was contributed by Jaimi of The Stay-At-Home-Mom Survival Guide.
A Fun Activity for Learning Animal Names
It can be so entertaining to watch children in a pretend play scenario. They practice the use of so much expressive language; navigating emotions and sharing just through their play. I discovered a fun way to expose my children to the print behind the language using the names of their toy animals. This is a simple activity to prepare, and it was fun for both my kindergartner and toddler to play together. Here are the steps to create your own animal name tags to engage your children in a little animal scavenger hunt to help them with learning animal names and words.
Learning Animal Names with Animal Name Tags
First, I cut out some small rectangles from a foam sheet. (I had some left over from my teaching days, but you can substitute pieces of cardboard, cut up a cereal box, or use index cards. The tougher the material you use the longer this game will last.)
Second, I cut some pieces of yarn. (Use ribbon if that is what you have on hand.) Cut the lengths to fit over the animals’ heads. You are creating the string that will hold the name tag on each animal, so lengths will vary if you are using different-sized toys.
Third, attach the yarn pieces to the cut out rectangles. I used staples, but I would recommend that you use hot glue, regular glue, or tape. The yarn kept pulling out of the staples on a few name tags, so I had to do some repair. Glue would be much sturdier! (I will be re-making mine!)
Fourth, write one animal name on each piece of foam or cardboard. I used quite a few since both of my children were participating. If you only have a few toy animals that is great! If you want to label every toy animal in the house, go for it!
Lastly, gather the animal toys and the name tags. When your children are ready to play, hold up a name tag and point to the word as you say it. Invite your child(ren) to look for the animal that matches the name tag. Hang the name tag on the animal and continue for each animal and name tag.
Older children can try to identify the first letter and its sound or even sound out the word in order to begin reading it on their own. This game is a little animal-name match to expose young ones to animal names and older ones to print. Enjoy learning animal names with your children!
Jaimi is the mom of a 5-year old son and a 2-year old daughter. She also has twins on the way! She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, taught preschool and cared for infants, toddlers and preschoolers while working in child care before having her own children. Her main mission is to motivate moms! On her blog, The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide, she shares simple activities that teach, faith-based mom motivation, information about child development and quick tips all to help moms find the joy in motherhood.
I love the way Jaimi made the little names tags have strings to go around their neck. I think it encourages the imaginative play even more! I can just see all of the zoo animals gathering for a conference with their name tags. Ha! Thanks so much for this awesome idea, Jaimi!
Do your kids know their animal names? Can they recognize the print words yet? How do you help them with learning animal names?
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