Friday, April 3, 2015

Petting Zoo Fun!

This week, my Pre-Kindergarteners took a field trip to a local petting zoo. The high school students involved in FFA were hosting a petting zoo at the local high school. Knowing that the kiddos would be getting up close a personal with various farm animals, I decided to create some fun farm animal activities. I got a list of the animals that would be at the petting zoo ahead of time. Then I created this book, which is available in my teacherspayteachers store, to help familiarize the students with the animals we would be seeing. 

While the book was designed for our petting zoo field trip, it would be PERFECT to accompany your farm animals unit. There is no reference made to the petting zoo in the book. Each page included a description of an animal. The students could guess the animal based on the description and velcro that animal symbol onto the barn. Once they made their guess, they could flip the page (which revealed the correct answer) to check their work. I loved the self-checking component!

The book was great for expanding their vocabulary. Many of the kids could guess the horse, cow, chicken, etc. But many of them were unfamiliar with animals like the mouse, goat, donkey, turkey, etc. This book was a great way to introduce those animals. We also targeted inferring, descriptive concepts, and overall language expansion.

After we were done reading the book, we did a quick activity. The students told me what animal they were hoping to see and why. The students told me their answers as I filled in the blanks on the worksheets. Then they drew a picture of themselves with that animal on the bottom. This activity elicited language quite easily. It was a great day to reinforce the vocabulary and animal characteristics they had just learned in the book. It could also be used to work on future tense verbs.

Some of my favorites were:
"I hope to see a unicorn horse at the petting zoo because I've never seen one before. If I see the unicorn horse, I want to take it's unicorn."

"I hope to see a cat at the petting zoo because I have one at home. If I see the cat, I will take it home with me."

"I hope to see a cow at the petting zoo because they have milk. If I see the cow, I want to milk it."

Kids are great! :)

Parents were encouraged to attend the field trip with their pre-kindergartener. So for my students who had parents there with them, I gave them an animal "checklist" to fill out and gave some quick strategies to the parents to help elicit language from their little ones during the trip. I grabbed a couple kids that did not have parents with them and accompanied them through the petting zoo. 

Clipboards made our "checklists" much easier and the students loved being "animal detectives." I was really surprised with how much ownership they took over their checklists. Each time they found an animal, we talked about that animal and described it. We discussed animal specific characteristics (ex. chickens lay eggs, etc).

Once we returned to school, I helped the kids fill out the following worksheets about what they saw at the petting zoo. 
Again, I was surprised at how much language these worksheets were able to elicit from my kids. They were still so excited from just returning from the petting zoo and LOVED telling me all the things they saw. I sent these home with the kids so their parents had some conversation points to work with them at home. I also told the kids to color the animals to look like the ones they saw at the petting zoo. We were able to work on grammar, sentence construction, descriptive concepts, animal characteristics, among other things.

There is also a petting zoo packet of worksheets available in my teacherspayteachers store. This packet includes other worksheets that we weren't able to do due to time constraints, as well as the interactive book (If you just want the book, you can get it here). If you have a trip to a petting zoo coming up - check them out! These worksheets would also work great with your farm animals unit!

What fun field trips do you have coming up?
Thanks for stopping by!

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