If you’re look­ing for ani­mal activ­i­ties for preschool­ers, you’ve come to the right place! Preschool­ers are often fas­ci­nat­ed by ani­mals and love to learn about, imi­tate, and play ani­mal-themed activ­i­ties. Keep read­ing to dis­cov­er fun ani­mal-themed activ­i­ties for preschool­ers that are easy to adapt to the needs of your program.

Preschool Animal Activities

Animal of the day

Select an ani­mal to focus on each day of the week (take sug­ges­tions from the chil­dren!). Each day, select a book on the “ani­mal of the day.” Sing a song with words or sounds relat­ed to the day’s ani­mal. Encour­age children’s ques­tions about the ani­mal. What does it eat? Where does it live? How does it move? Encour­age chil­dren to try imi­tat­ing how the ani­mal moves and sounds. Let chil­dren take the lead and fol­low their interests.

Image of two children playing with toy animals

Animal Sorting

Pro­vide a selec­tion of ani­mal toys from var­i­ous habi­tats (aquat­ic, trop­i­cal, arc­tic, etc.) and lay them out for the chil­dren. Ask chil­dren which habi­tat they think an ani­mal lives in and try to orga­nize the toys by habi­tat. The activ­i­ty can be as sim­ple as “which ani­mals live in the water and which live on land?” Chil­dren can also match baby ani­mals with their moth­ers or group ani­mals togeth­er based on dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics, such as whether or not they have fur or tails, or the num­ber of legs they have.

Sort­ing activ­i­ties pro­mote essen­tial ear­ly lit­er­a­cy and math skills and help chil­dren learn to inter­pret the abun­dance of infor­ma­tion that sur­rounds them. Pro­vide lots of oppor­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren to sort and exper­i­ment. Chil­dren will often start to sort with­out prompting.

Encour­age chil­dren to build habi­tats for the ani­mals with blocks, craft mate­ri­als, and oth­er toys. Don’t wor­ry about keep­ing things accu­rate. Chil­dren can get cre­ative and sil­ly with their ani­mal habitats!

Shapes and Movements Game

Imi­tate var­i­ous ani­mal walks. Add body twists and stretch­es. Include arm move­ments. Alter­nate walk­ing, leap­ing, hop­ping, run­ning, skipping—whatever move­ments all the chil­dren in the group are capa­ble of doing.

Let chil­dren who wish to do so be the leader. Ask chil­dren to sug­gest ani­mal move­ments to imitate.

Phys­i­cal activ­i­ties dur­ing the preschool years pro­mote large-motor skill devel­op­ment and coor­di­na­tion. Fun, engag­ing activ­i­ties that get chil­dren mov­ing are more appro­pri­ate for preschool­ers than orga­nized sports. Encour­age chil­dren to exper­i­ment with how they move and have fun!

Learn More!

Look­ing for more ways to engage chil­dren in phys­i­cal activ­i­ties? Check out our course Fun and Fit­ness: Address­ing Child­hood Obe­si­ty. Inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about the way chil­dren learn and spe­cif­ic activ­i­ties to address chil­dren’s dif­fer­ent learn­ing styles? Check out our course Many Ways to Learn for Tod­dlers and Preschool­ers.

Click here to find more blogs on activ­i­ties for young chil­dren!

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