I can’t believe it… we’ve finally reached the end of the alphabet! When you’re singing the alphabet song it doesn’t seem that long, but when you’re teaching one letter a week – with review weeks every now and then – it takes forever.
Granted, in comparison to a traditional school schedule, we’ve finished early. But we’re not a traditional school and – technically – Gwen is pre-pre-K. So I’m trying not to worry about it, but I am wondering what to do next time around. Any ideas for an advanced preschooler who’s not quite ready for K-level stuff?
After Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day – the story during Easter week – He said goodbye to His friends and family and ascended to Heaven. Jesus’ return to Heaven was our story for the week; our Bible verse was John 14:2 – In my father’s house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you.
Ironically, all the times we’ve been to the zoo with our membership, we don’t even make it to the zoo when it’s our theme for the week! I printed out Oopsey Daisy’s Zoo Check-Off List just in case but we didn’t get around to using it. No worries – we’ll go again this Summer!
Instead, the kids made their own playdough and popsicle stick zoo cages.
Playdough is always a big hit and it always evolves into more creative play – and of course a mess. I didn’t get a chance to make a batch of homemade play dough, but the kids did get a container in an Easter basket from their Meme, one of only a couple non-candy items I didn’t give away!
Since we were already settled at the table I brought out a few printables I had prepared. Montessori for Everyone has Animal Families cards in their Zoology section; I printed them on cardstock and had the kiddos match the mommies, daddies and babies. There are only four types of animals and it’s pretty easy, but we also talked about how each member in an animal family has a different name.
In their zoo theme, KidSparkz has animal skin patterns so I printed them out smaller and had the kiddos match them to the correct animals. We didn’t have a snake so we made one from playdough!
Throughout the week we used some of the zoo-themed printables from 2 Teaching Mommies. I helped Gwen categorize plant-eaters and meat-eaters; she had to think back to the times we’ve seen what animals were eating, like the giraffes pulling leaves from the trees or seeing pictures of lions with their catch.
I’ve used them before, like in our water unit (though I think I forgot to mention them), and the kids love playing with water beads. I guess they’re all the rage, so I decided to order some from Amazon. They’re pretty cheap and afford hours of play, but I was surprised how delicate they are. If they get squished – or dropped on the floor – they break into a gel-y mess. We pretended this was the aquarium part of the zoo.
Gwen put the whole Little People A-Z Learning Playset together by herself.
We watched “The Zoo Train” Signing Time DVD and afterwards the kids pretended to be camels – it was the silliest thing!
And since I’m all about the food, I just had to make these giraffe and elephant sandwiches for the kiddos – even though they’re rather laborious to put together. Phil just kisses my forehead and tells me how cute I am, trying to make them happy.
No surprise here, our word for the week was zebra. Many of the things we did involved zebras, like Gwen’s Do-A-Dot page, color-by-number, letter hunt and tracing page (the latter from Oopsey Daisy’s Z is for Zoo Mommy Packet).
The kiddos had fun making their zebra Zs and putting big, googly eyes on them. Josiah doesn’t care that they’re only supposed to have two eyes.
The next popular zoo animal? Giraffe. These are from dry-erase and alphabet dot-to-dot books.
Since Gwen love mazes, we did a letter Z maze; she almost always starts from both ends and meets in the middle.
Gwen did the pre-writer tracing pages from the zoo unit, some pages in one of her workbooks (look at the zebra she drew!), a zoo train hidden picture in her Highlights’ Hidden Puzzles magazine and letter Z matching that I put in a page protector for dry erase.
For dessert one day I got this great idea to make a zebra cake! I turned it into more of a banana bread and the stripes were really pretty. It tasted pretty plain but I would love to make it again, maybe more chocolate-y this time.
We worked on counting with the number clip cards from the zoo unit along with some number dot-to-dot.
Our color of the week was red, and it just so happened that Gwen picked an all-red outfit on our color day. In addition to reading a bunch of books about the color red, Gwen did a page from one of her workbooks and we made sure to munch on strawberries during the week.
Since I didn’t already have a rhyme picked out for our last week, I resorted to education.com’s alphabet nursery rhymes. Their Letter Z: Fuzzy Wuzzy was a big hit! It has lots of Z sounds and the kiddos got a kick out of it.
*See my Zoo Pinterest board for more inspiration.
Animal Strike at the Zoo
Never, EVER Shout in a Zoo
Good Night, Gorilla
Spots – Counting Creatures from Sky to Sea
A Horse Lover’s Alphabet – Appaloosa Zebra
My Heart is Like a Zoo
Curious George Visits the Zoo
The Z Was Zapped
Berlioz the Bear
The Fairies’ Alphabet Book
Zero the Hero
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo
A Pair of Red Clogs
The Red Book
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Signing Time – The Zoo Train