From Head to Toe by Eric CarleWhen we read From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, the kids really liked acting out the animals. And, honestly, they thought of better ways to portray the animal. Like instead of wiggling your hips like a crocodile, they made big snapping teeth with their arms. I told them they could make their own book and they got all giggly. This is a great book to pair with the old school song “Animal Action” (a big favorite from my gymnastics coach days).

Then we sang the fingerplay 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, except the kids also got to jump up and down to get their crazies out. They thought it was hilarious. I kept counting fingers and asking them to guess how many monkeys were left. You know, early math lessons and all.

Two at the Zoo by Danna SmithThen we read Two at the Zoo by Danna Smith. I usually save this for my younger group, but as I said, my kindergarteners this session like the younger books more for some reason. They loved shouting out the animals names and counting them. They especially liked the page with the chameleons because they didn’t see them all right away and we talked about camouflage and what color they would turn into if they could (mostly pink and sparkly of course). It’s also nice that the number of animals rhyme with the previous sentence so kids that are a little behind counting can make an educated guess.

Our flannel was “Zoo Bingo” like the song, not the game.

There was a zoo who had a guest,

And [hippo] was his/her name, oh! (child who has that animal comes up)

H-I-P-P-O, H-I-P-P-O, H-I-P-P-O,

And [hippo] was his/her name, oh! (The trick is finding all the animals that have only 5 letters)

Bison, Camel, Cobra, Crane, Gator, Gecko, Hyena, Llama, Otter, Panda, Rhino, Snake, Tiger, Whale, Zebra

My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael HallLast we quickly run through My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall. I like telling the kids that they can make all of these animals at home out of heart shaped construction paper. And at first they like finding the hearts, but just the first couple. The words are so abstract, because it’s a calming poem, that you have to go quickly or they get squirmy and the words don’t flow as much.

This week the themed books I put on the back counter were very popular. Who doesn’t love zoo animals?