A Zoo Day Is a Great Day!
Spring is a good time for your children and you to go visit a zoo if you happen to have a zoo in your community. But if you do not have a zoo available, or even if you do, you can always find one around your house and neighborhood! Teachers and librarians can use these ideas in the classroom or library. Let's start gathering a few things and see what sort of zoo you can discover!
(Look for these books at your library, requesting them through interlibrary loan services if necessary. Add whatever other zoo or zoo-like books you have around the house.)
My Visit to the Zoo by Aliki
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle
May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk deRegniers
If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo by Mary Jean Hendrick
Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand
A Children's Zoo by Tana Hoban
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr.
The Baby Beebee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie, illustrated by Steven Kellogg
We're Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton
Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Start the day with a zoo book or two so that everybody knows what a zoo is all about!
Take a zoo book break anytime during the day when someone feels like a story.
Give everyone a chance to chose a book and sit in a difference place each time you read.
Create your own ZOO AROUND THE HOUSE. Find as many stuffed animals as you can and place each one somewhere special: on a chair, under a chair, on a sofa, on a table or under a table, on the floor in a corner, on a pillow, behind a curtain, wherever you think that animal would like to live for the day. Include your zoo animals in book breaks and activities.
Sharing ACTION RHYMES is a wonderful way to connect visually, aurally and physically. They are a creative combination of building attention span and getting the wiggles out! As I mentioned in the Have a Bear Day! post, even if a child doesn't do the actions at first, the brain's mirror cells are registering all movements and will be ready to make it all happen when the child is ready.
For the ZOO HAND JIVE, sit facing your child or stand before a mirror together. Show your child how to keep a rhythm going by using your hands to SLAP SLAP on your knees and then CLAP CLAP in front of your body. You and everyone in the room will keep up that action and rhythm throughout the following rhyme. Be sure to read with lots of bounce in your voice. Read fairly slowly so everyone can maintain the rhythm. Repeat enough times so that you can work up to going faster. It works best to do a SLAP SLAP, CLAP CLAP on each of the first four and last four lines. On each of the longer middle lines, do SLAP SLAP, CLAP CLAP, SLAP SLAP, CLAP CLAP.
ZOO HAND JIVE
Zoo zoo zee boo,
Hippa potta mee goo,
Monka skunka tee noo ,
Kanga wanga coo moo!
I walked to the zoo at half-past one,
just to see a zebra sleeping in the sun.
I skipped to the zoo at half-past two,
just to see a baboon with a face so blue.
I danced to the zoo at half-past three,
just to see a tiger climbing up a tree.
I ran to the zoo at half-past four,
just to see a lion roar and roar.
I rode to the zoo at half-past five,
just to see a monkey do a wild hand jive!
Zoo zoo zee boo,
Hippa potta mee goo,
Monka skunka tee noo,
Kanga wanga coo moo!!
by Jane Willis Johnston
For TEN MONKEYS, make sure everyone is standing up and ready to be very active monkeys.
Hold your hands up next to your face, then bend your elbows and pull your hands down to your sides, That is the movement to do each time you hear "monkey" or "monkeys" in the rhyme. For "jump," jump as high as you can! For "swing," hold your hands together and swing as far as you can to the left, right, left, right. For "race up a tree," reach up,moving your arms and legs as if you are climbing. For "wave," make the biggest wave you can with one arm. For "laugh," point to yourself and laugh as loudly as you can!!
One monkey, two monkeys,
three monkeys, four
jump right through
the big zoo door.
Five monkeys, six monkeys,
seven monkeys, eight
swing right on
the big zoo gate.
Nine monkeys, ten monkeys
race up a tree,
wave their tails
and laugh at me!!
by Jane Willis Johnston
If you set up a ZOO AROUND THE HOUSE or room, go on a tour and talk about each animal you find. If you have a globe or a world map, take that along and locate where in the world each animal lives in its natural habitat. If you know what each animal eats, be the zookeeper and feed each animal lunch.
Let's call this zoo activity the ZOO PARK SONG. Start by holding hands in a circle and singing and moving to the song Ring Around the Rosy. (If you don't know the tune, look it up on the internet.) Gather up all of your animals and put them in the middle of the circle. And be sure to "all fall down" in the silliest way you know how at the end of the song. Now that you are sure everyone knows the song, sit down together and think of a story that might sound like this:
Once upon a time there was a very silly zoo full of very silly animals who always watched carefully for a night when the moon was full. Because whenever the moon was full, all the locks on the doors of all the cages at Zoo Park Hill would fall open, and all the animals were free for one full night.
Well, sure enough, one night the lion looked up and said in his special lion voice:
"The stars are bright,
the night is still,
the moon is full
over Zoo Park Hill.
Animals, get ready
for the Zoo Park Song.
If you're feeling really silly,
you can sing along!"
Soon the animals came singing, just as silly as can be, dancing in a silly circle all around the old oak tree. Yes, they sang and danced and they all fell down 'til the morning showed its sunny face and woke the silly town!
(This is the part of the story were you fit in. Chose an animal and practice making your animal's sound. When everyone is ready, form a circle and using only your animal sound, sing Ring Around the Rosy and be sure to fall down!! You could also chose one animal sound at a time and have everyone sing with that sound and then try another sound. If you were a lion, you would sing like this: Roar roar-roar roar roar roar. Roar roar-roar roar roar roar. Roar-roar. Roar-roar. Roar ROAR ROAR ROAR!! The important thing is to be really silly!! Each time you sing again, make sure you repeat the lion's words.)
And they say that is what happens every night there is a full moon over Zoo Park Hill.
I hope you had a great ZOO DAY!