One of the main interests of my son in this period is to learn about animals. He asks a lot of questions about them, wants to go to the zoo or to the farm to see the animals and he enjoys every activity that includes them! This is why I created some Montessori animal cards and they were really great for our activities! If your kids like learning about animals too, I think they will enjoy them!
You can download the animal cards using the instructions at the end of the article. I am also sharing with you 3 activities you can do with them that are great for toddlers and preschoolers and are a wonderful way to teach them about animals.
Ever since he was a toddler, Bogdan enjoyed all the sorting activities and he still likes them now! So we use the animals cards in different sorting activities and I use this opportunity to discuss with him about each animal and give him more information about each species.
Here are our favorite sorting activities:
– sorting the animals into 3 main categories based on where they live: farm animals, safari animals and forest animals (on page 2 of the printable you will find a page dedicated to this activity)
– sorting the animals into mammals or birds (I use this opportunity to explain him the differences)
– sorting the animals into herbivorous, carnivorous, and omnivorous animals.
(For toddlers you could also try to sort animals into 2-leg animals and 4-leg animals)
This Montessori activity focuses on matching miniature plastic animals to their realistic photo cards. For this activity, you will need the animal cards and some plastic animals (you can find a lot of models here – we have the ones from Learning Resources). You place all the animal cards on the floor and you invite the child to put the plastic animals on the matching picture. For toddlers, you can start with only a few animals and increase the number as they learn the activity.
I use this activity to practice language skills too because we say the names of the animals as we match them.
We use to go often to the zoo because we have a membership, so we use the cards for transforming the visit into a learning opportunity. The zoo has also a farm section, so we get to see a lot of the animals on the cards.
Here is how you can do this activity: At the beginning of the visit, the child receives the cards. If during the visit he sees one of the animals, he should show the correct card and give it to the parent. This moment is a great opportunity to observe the animal and to provide him some information about the species. The activity is a nice way to keep the kids involved in the visit and more willing to discover the animals and to learn about them. The goal is to identify all the animals on the cards, so at the end, the child shouldn’t have any pictures in his hands.
The visit to the zoo or to a farm is a wonderful way to get a close look at the animals and to answer the child’s questions about them.
We recently invented an activity that is really useful for teaching the child more details about the animals. It’s called “What do you know about..” and it is really simple!
Here is how it goes: You put all the cards on the floor, then the child chooses one of them and names the animal (e.g. an elephant). Then he asks the parent: “What do you know about the elephant?” and the parent must answer with 3 simple facts about that animal. The facts should be easy to remember and suitable for the child’s age (e.g. it is a safari animal, it has a long trunk, it is a mammal and so on). After some time you switch roles and the parent is the one choosing an animal and asking the child to say 3 facts about it. (For toddlers you can say only one fact for each animal to make it easier to remember)
This activity is allowing kids to find details about each animal in a playful way and it really encourages them to remember the information so that they will be able to answer the questions when it’s their turn.
To download the printable you just need to enter your email address below. This would give you access to the Playful Notes community, so you will find there a lot of other ideas and our full printable collection. I hope you will enjoy it!
To use this printable, simply print and cut out the 3 category labels and the 24 animal cards. I recommend printing them on cardstock or laminating them. For the sorting activity, ask your child to sort the animal cards into groups under the appropriate category label from page 2.