10 Ways to Teach Children About Animals
Exploring God’s creation with children is so fascinating. They notice some of the smallest details that often as adults, we miss all together. A few of our best memories in our homeschool have come from either exploring the zoo, taking nature walks, and finding creatures in our very own backyard to observe.
“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:25 KJV
Our Creator has designed a world full of beauty that’s just waiting for little minds to take it all in. I would encourage you to allow your children the time to just simply explore His creation outdoors as much as possible.
“Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, until they learn something of the habits and history of bee, ant, wasp, spider, hairy caterpillar, dragon-fly, and whatever of larger growth comes in their way.”
As much as we would all love to be outdoors all day, sometimes we have to bring homeschool indoors. It’s not always possible to go on a walk or take an adventure at your local zoo. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of ways you can teach your children about animals right in the comfort of your home and homeschool!
10 Ways to Teach Animals to Kids
1. Animal Matching Game
This helps children recognize similarities and differences between each of the animals you are teaching. Matching games also helps children develop a higher level of concentration as well as simulates their short-term memory.
This particular matching game is played by placing the cards face-down on the table in a grid pattern. By taking turns flipping 2 cards over at a time, each player can try matching the animal cards. If the cards don’t match, you can simply turn them back over. This game is played until all of the cards are matched up. Print this game and laminate each of the game cards for longevity. The cards will all need to be individually cut out (and laminated, if desired).
2. I-Spy Game
I-Spy is another game that helps improve concentration as well as helps them to build a vocabulary. This is a great game to help children learn to count. Have them count each of the animals listed and help them write the number on the line.
3. Phonics/Animal Match Game
When each of our children reach about 9 months of age, I normally pull out our animals and flashcards to help them recognize each creature. I will of course start with small, soft animals and then as they get older, I will give them smaller animals to help build those fine motor skills. You can pick cards up like this from the dollar store or the Target Dollar Spot. These cards will not only help toddlers and preschoolers learn their letters and beginning phonics but animal names as well.
4. Sensory Bins
If you know me, you know I’m a huge believer in sensory bins! There are countless benefits from fine motor skills to language development, from problem solving to building nerve connections in the brain. I can go on and on but this is one of my favorite indoor learning activities to do with our children when they're young learners.
5. Flashcard and Animal Match
These flashcards are a perfect way of introducing phonics to your young learner. A strong foundation of phonics prior to teaching your children to read, will help them have confidence as they begin to blend word sounds.
6. Animal Track Hunt
Your children will love learning how to identify what type of animal has been present by simply looking at the tracks they’ve left behind. By starting off with these flashcards, you can teach your children the basic track shapes of some animals.
7. Animal Movement Cards
Do you have a kinesthetic learner? Having 3 boys myself, I’ve learned that keeping little ones moving is important not only for their health, but for their mental development as well. All of our children thrive when they’re able to get up and run around or stretch their bodies throughout our homeschool day. If you feel your children are getting a bit antsy, play a quick game of animal movement to get those wiggles out.
8. Animal Books
As homeschool parents, we’re constantly seeking new books to teach our children, aren’t we? You will help a blast teaching your children about animals if you grab yourself a few beautifully illustrated books. Below are a few that we've truly enjoyed in our home.
The World of Animals
9. Animal Sorting Game
Grab a basket and have your children sort animals by a few categories. You can start off with the sizes of the animal figures and for your older learners, you can have them sort by habitats.
10. Animal Puzzles
Puzzles are a hands-on way of teaching your children. We keep a lot of puzzles on hand for read aloud time. It keeps focused as well as teaches concentration and shape recognition. This is a photo of our favorite Melissa and Doug Animal Train puzzle that teaches not only animals, but additionally it teaches the alphabet and phonics.
11. Pin the Pattern on the Animal Mat
Use this page to teach your child their letters, the basics of handwriting, and animal prints for each of the creatures provided. With various patterns, your child will learn the physical characteristics of some very distinct animals that God has designed.
What a blessing it is as home educators to teach our children about God's creation and the beauty in every creature. I hope this list has given you some ideas for your very own homeschool.
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