Hop on the Safari Bus. We are going on a Jungle Tour in the Preschool Classroom. It's going to be so much fun for the children, and I guarantee you are going to enjoy yourself.
Here are some ideas on how to get your jungle theme lesson plan started and some ideas to keep it going for as long as your preschoolers are interested in the activity.
Here's how to introduce the theme:
Day 1. Ask the children if they know what the word ‘jungle' means. Explain what a jungle is for those who may not know, and have a picture of a jungle so they can associate your description with the picture.
Day 2. Have books* in the library on jungles and animals that live in the jungle. They can be a mix of cartoon type kids books and real-to-life kids books. (Your local library should be able to help you out with finding books.)
Day 3. Find pictures* of jungle animals from magazines, books, the internet, calendars, or anywhere you can find them, laminate them, and post them on the walls around the classroom.
Day 4. Place jungle themed toys on the toy shelf and place a few jungle themed puzzles in the puzzle area
Day 5. Find a CD with jungle themed music and play that throughout playtime after you talk about the jungle.
*If any pictures or books you have, show any sort of tribal people, you could make tribal masks for a creative art activity and the children can wear them in the dramatic play centre.
You can also place some paper towel tubes, pipe cleaners, markers, googly eyes, etc., on the art shelf and see which animals they create.
Here are some examples of animals you can introduce 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 does each child like best, etc.
If you want, you can also touch on what the animals eat but make sure you keep it simple. The children at this stage in life don't 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 leave from tall trees, etc.
The children will probably want to know where the animals homes are in the jungle. This information should be easy to find through the books and pictures you have. If not, the library will have books on the individual animals you are talking about which will give you the information you need.
Here are some examples to get you started:
The animals will find homes within their habitat (the jungle) which they make into a home for them and their animal families.
Animals homes in the jungle could be a nest, a den, a burrow, under a rock, in a hollow tree trunk, up high in trees, etc.
You can then talk about which animal might live in a tree, which one would live under a rock, etc.
To incorporate this theme into the different programming areas of the classroom, some examples could be:
Creating a jungle themed dramatic play center:
Make a jungle jeep, safari jeep or car out of a box or, place 4 chairs together with a stand up steering wheel in front of one chair.
Get some safari looking hats.
Post jungle animal pictures on the wall and watch your preschool children go wild over this theme. 🙂
Here is a sandy sensory idea:
Place some sand in the sensory bin.
Find some small rubber or plastic sand animals* you would find in the jungle. (Snakes, beetles, insects, etc.)
Place these items in the sensory bin and your done.
*I have had great success finding almost everything I need at dollar stores. Search them out, I am sure you will find what you are looking for.
Just be as creative as you can with this theme. The possibilities are endless if you put your mind to it. When you are listening to the jungle music you can incorporate creative movement into this. Ask the children to pick an animal they would like to pretend to be and move to the music like that animal. There is no right or wrong movement, the children will have so much fun.
You could also move this theme into outdoor gross motor play. You could bring some of the dramatic play items outside like the hats, binoculars, cameras etc. Place some stuffed toys here and there around the play yard (make sure they get washed when you bring them in for the day) and go on an outdoor safari hunt.
The children can ride their bikes and go on their own tour, they can go on a “lion/bear hunt,” you can run from animals ‘scare' you, you can tip toe and walk around animals that are ‘sleeping'.
Remember to use your imagination and expand on what the children are doing and saying.
Have a wonderful Jungle Themed Lesson and go wild with adventure.