Roar! Squawk! Hiss! Animals of all kinds fascinate preschoolers, so a zoo animal theme will never disappoint. These zoo animal activities for preschool are perfect for an animal-loving classroom.
These free zoo animals preschool lesson plans are filled with arts and crafts, literacy, and math options, plus fun playful learning activities that engage and excite. Find all this and more bundled up in a free preschool lesson plans download at the end of this post!
Easy Zoo Animal Activities for Preschool
Preschoolers are obsessed with the zoo. Ok, maybe that’s just in my house…but the zoo really is a fascinating place full of unusual and exotic animals, with the added bonus of yummy food, fun rides, and outdoor adventure.
Whether a trip to the zoo is in your plans or not, a zoo animals theme is great for learning about animal habitats, animal types and characteristics, as well as animal homes and movement. With all that in mind, I’m sharing over sixteen engaging and super fun activities perfect for a zoo animal theme.
FAQ About a Zoo Animals Preschool Theme
So much animal learning can happen within a zoo animals theme! Here are some frequently asked questions about how to teach your preschoolers about zoo animals.
There are so many different types of zoo animals with varying habitats. Engage preschoolers’ senses with hands-on activities, including plenty of zoo animal toys. Create habitats with various natural or artistic materials to replicate the natural environment. Sing lots of songs and read loads of animal books.
Here are some educational zoo animals activities you can do at home.
A preschool zoo animals theme is full of learning options. You might want to include these concepts in your zoo animals lesson plans: animal coverings, animal movement and speed, habitats, diet and characteristics, how animals protect themselves, and conservation status.
It’s a natural occurrence for children to express interest in animals, especially zoo animals. Young toddlers can begin to learn animal names and the sounds they make, while preschoolers can begin to learn about the different habitats of each animal.
Hands-on Preschool Zoo Animals Activities
When learning about something less tangible like zoo animals, it’s especially important to make your zoo animals activities hands-on. That’s why my Learn At Home Preschool Lesson Plans are filled with arts and crafts, literacy, and math options, plus fun and playful learning activities that engage and excite.
And that’s exactly what you will get with these free zoo animals lesson plans for preschoolers!
Literacy Activities for a Zoo Animals Preschool Theme
Animal Alphabet Puzzles – Print as many animal alphabet puzzles as you like! Invite your preschooler to match the animal picture card with the corresponding letter.
You can take this activity up a notch and use the puzzle pieces to sort the animals in various ways: animals that you might see at the zoo, animals that are pets, animals that live in the forest, etc. Or, encourage your preschooler to find the letters in their names and find the animals that begin with those same letters!
Put Me in the Zoo! – Go to YouTube and listen to the story Put Me in the Zoo! by Dr. Seuss. After reading, ask your preschooler if they agree with the ending…should the animal live at the zoo or be a part of the circus? This is excellent oral language development!
Then invite your preschooler to make their very own spotted animal! Using a paper plate and colorful pom-poms or markers, this animal will be very colorful just like the animal in the book. Encourage your preschooler to share their reasons why their animal will live in the zoo or at the circus.
Don’t Forget Picture Books About the Zoo!
One of the best ways to help children understand new concepts is by reading to them. Choose books that have fluid storylines and exceptional pictures. Here is a zoo animals book list I created for you. They are my recommendations based on the picture books I use with my own preschoolers.
Math and Science Activities for a Zoo Animals Preschool Theme
It’s a Zoo Counting and Graphing Game – This is a fun printable board game that teaches one-to-one correspondence and graphing. Print the template here and roll the die as you identify and count the zoo animals! There are three different ways to win the game, and endless amounts of fun!
Animal Cracker Counting – Grab some animal crackers and sort/count all the animals into categories. Get creative with the categories: animals that fly, animals that have feathers or fur, animals that are brown, etc. Help your preschooler determine the categories, plus have them re-sort and change it up!
Giraffe Science Experiment – Using watercolor paints, paintbrushes, and paper towels, re-create giraffe spots! It’s simple to set up and your preschooler will want to do it again and again! Remind your preschoolers that each giraffe is unique and special just like each one of us. No two giraffes have the same pattern!
Build a Zoo STEM Activity – Using paper towel tubes and some creativity, this building activity is great for challenging your little one to make interesting habitats, cages, paths, and plans for their animals. Encourage your budding engineer with this clever activity with endless possibilities and imagination!
Amp Up Your Zoo Theme for Preschool
Adding some zoo themed manipulatives or zoo themed counters makes learning all the more fun. Don’t forget about animal puppets and stuffed animals, too.
Playful Learning Activity for a Zoo Animals Preschool Theme
Sponge Squeeze – Grab some sponges of all sizes, washcloths/towels, and two buckets – one filled with water and one empty. Practice squeezing and transferring the water to the other bucket. This is great for hand coordination and building strength! Add some plastic zoo animals and pretend to wash them.
Paper Tunnels – Make paper tunnels in a snap with this simple activity! Use zoo animals, cars, or Legos to make it even more interesting. Encourage your preschooler to drive their cars through the tunnels and head to the zoo!
Animal Dance and Freeze – Play this Animal Dance and Freeze song and copy the movements and dance along! After the song is over, make animal sounds and practice being in a zoo. Are you in a cage? Are you slithering like a snake? Are you splashing in the water like a hippo?
Social-Emotional Activities for a Zoo Animals Preschool Theme
My Heart is Like a Zoo – Go to YouTube and listen to the book My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall. As you’re listening, talk about some of the big, new words in this story. What does it mean to be bothered? Snappy? Thoughtful? We feel all those emotions often and sometimes in big ways. It helps to know that others feel the same way that we feel and they are just emotions/feelings that pass and change.
Animal Emotion Clip Cards – Interact with all sorts of emotions with these animal emotion clip cards. Simply print and clip! You will need a clothespin for your preschooler to clip the matching animal that is feeling the same emotion. These clip cards a great way to encourage conversation around some of these overwhelming feelings like worry and anger. Role-playing scenarios and possible strategies/solutions to these feelings is a helpful way to teach your preschooler how to manage these emotions more independently. Plus it’s fun to practice with these zany zoo animals!
Just Plain Fun Activities for a Zoo Animals Preschool Theme
Zoo Dramatic Play – Grab some play animals (stuffed or plastic) and set up your very own zoo. As the zookeeper, it’s your job to feed, wash, and care for the animals. Encourage problem solving like when an animal is sick and needs care, or all the animals need dinner. Great job, zookeeper!
Zoo Snack Activity – Make a zoo-themed snack! From elephants to giraffes, monkeys to zebras, these fun snack ideas are a hit that will build your preschooler’s confidence in the kitchen and have them taste-testing new things!
Feed the Polar Bears – Upcycle that old tissue box and feed the bears! Print these shape cards and practice your colors and shapes as you feed that hungry polar bear. Use the bear for counting goldfish or candy fish, too!
Get Online Activities for a Zoo Animals Preschool Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the book Never Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson. After reading this story, ask your preschooler to tell you what happens at the beginning of the story. Once the little girl shouts, ruckus ensues! What happens at the end of the story when she shouts again? Using pictures as clues is a great way to figure out what is happening in the story.
Visit the Zoo – Can’t get to the zoo? No problem! Take a virtual field trip and join a group of preschoolers for a day at the zoo.
Let’s Go to the Zoo Video – Learn about all the animals of the zoo and move like they do!
Get Your FREE Zoo Animals Lesson Plans Here
Want to include these zoo animals activities in your lesson plans? No problem. I’ve made a printable for you. Just click the image below!
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I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.