Get on the Safari Bus. Let’s take a jungle tour in the preschool classroom. It is going to be a lot of fun for the kids and I guarantee they will enjoy it.
Here are some ideas on how to start your jungle lesson plan and some ideas to keep it going as long as your preschoolers are interested in the activity.
Here’s how to present the topic:
Day 1. Ask the children if they know what the word “jungle” means. Explain what a jungle is to those who might not know, and have a picture of a jungle so they can associate your description with the image.
Day 2. Have books * in the library about rainforests and animals that live in the jungle. They can be a mix of cartoon-type children’s books and real children’s books. (Your local library should be able to help you find books.)
Day 3. Find pictures * of jungle animals in magazines, books, the Internet, calendars, or anywhere you can find them, laminate them, and post them on the walls around the classroom.
Day 4. Put jungle themed toys on the toy rack and put some jungle themed puzzles in the puzzle area
Day 5. Find a jungle-themed music CD and play it during playtime after talking about the jungle.
* If you have pictures or books showing some kind of tribal people, you can make tribal masks for a creative art activity and the children can use them in the drama center.
You can also put some paper towel tubes, pipe cleaners, markers, googly eyes, etc. on the art rack and see what animals they create.
Here are some examples of animals that you can present through books and pictures:
Feel free to have an open discussion with the children. Talk about the colors of the animals, their teeth, their eyes, which animal each child likes the most, etc.
You can also mention what the animals eat if you like, but be sure to keep it simple. Children at this stage of life do not need to start learning about the words carnivores, herbivores, etc. Just keep things simple like saying, a panther eats meat, a monkey eats fruit, a giraffe eats leaves from tall trees, etc.
Children will probably want to know where the animal houses are in the jungle. This information should be easy to find through the books and pictures you have. Otherwise, the library will have books about the individual animals you are talking about, which will give you the information you need.
Here are some examples to get you started:
Animals will find homes within their habitat (the jungle) that they will make a home for themselves and their animal families.
Animal houses in the jungle can be a nest, a den, a burrow, under a rock, in the trunk of a hollow tree, high up in trees, etc.
Then you can talk about which animal could live in a tree, which would live under a rock, etc.
To incorporate this topic in the different areas of classroom programming, some examples could be:
Creation of a jungle-themed dramatic play center:
Make a jungle jeep, safari jeep or car out of a box or put 4 chairs together with a steering wheel standing in front of a chair.
Get some safari-looking hats.
Binoculars for children.
Put pictures of jungle animals on the wall and watch your preschoolers go crazy over this theme. 🙂
Here’s a gritty sensory idea:
Put some sand in the sensory container.
Find some small rubber or plastic * sand animals that you would find in the jungle. (Snakes, beetles, insects, etc.)
Place these items in the sensory container and you’re done.
* I have had great success finding almost everything I need at dollar stores. Look for them, I am sure you will find what you are looking for.
Be as creative as you can with this theme. The possibilities are endless if you put your mind to it. When you listen to jungle music, you can incorporate creative movement into this. Have the children choose an animal that they would like to pretend to be and move to the music like that animal. There is no right or wrong move, kids will have a lot of fun.
You can also carry this topic into gross motor outdoor play. You can take some of the dramatic play items outside, such as hats, binoculars, cameras, etc. Put some stuffed toys here and there around the playground (make sure they are washed when you bring them in for the day) and go on an outdoor safari hunt.
Kids can ride their bikes and go on their own tour, they can go on a “lion / bear hunt”, you can run away from animals that “scare you”, you can tiptoe and walk around animals that are “sleeping “.
Remember to use your imagination and expand what children do and say.
Enjoy a wonderful jungle themed lesson and go wild with adventure.