It’s ‘Animal Fun’ theme this month at Choo Choo Train! Young children are fascinated by animals. They are silly, noisy, cute, and fun to imitate. Try these animal activities at home to support your toddler’s enthusiasm about their furry or feathered friends.
Eat like animals. Snack time can be educational too and hilarious. Prepare a picture book of animals and fill a muffin tin with animal-friendly snacks: baby carrots for rabbits, sliced bananas for monkeys, pumpkin seeds for birds, and berries for bears. As your toddler (and you) munch, have her guess which animal prefers each food. Include a sneaky snack like mini marshmallows, your toddler will giggle to learn that raccoons love junk food.
Speak the language of animals. Quack, meow, oink, moo – your toddler probably already knows which animal makes which noise. Teach her that animals make these noises to communicate and play a game of guessing. First, you make the noises and have her guess, then you ask her to make the sound. What does the lion say?
Build a zoo. Does your toddler have toy animals at home? Make use of each one to DIY a zoo. Group them into similar places: sea creatures in one corner, farm animals in another. Refer to a picture book to build the habitat of each animal. Use blue coloured paper to make a pool and brown coloured paper to make a mud puddle. When you’re done, take a tour with a doll human!
Move like animals. Get physically active with your toddler by imitating the movement of animals. The two of you can slither like a snake, waddle like a penguin, lumber like a bear, or prance like a deer. Throw on some challenge and see if both of you can tiptoe like a giraffe or balance on one leg like a flamingo.
Do you realize the importance of animals as part of a learning environment for children? When you give your child the opportunities to spend time with animals, you are stimulating their senses by experiencing the different ways that animals look, eat, move, sound, and feel. Research shows that animal interactions can actually improve children’s social interaction, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase motivation and learning. Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/classroom-pets-arent-just-for-fun-new-research-reveals-animals-positive-impact-on-students-300510881.html
While Choo Choo Train doesn’t have classroom pets yet, we are constantly exposing our students to a variety of animals through illustrations, videos, and of course toys during our lessons. Looking at the current condition where we have to observe social distancing and avoid crowding public places, it is going to take a while before our children can visit the pet shops and the pet shelters again. When time allows it, let’s make sure to do it!