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Preschool students love learning about animals. A forest animal theme provides students with the opportunity to learn about another group of animals besides farm animals and pets. You can easily integrate a forest animal unit into all subjects.
- Read an assortment of books about forest animals both fiction and nonfiction. Some to include are Karma Wilson's Bear series, Old Bear by Kevin Henkes, Who Lives Here? Forest Animals by Deborah Hodge and Life in the Forest by Eileen Curren.
- Create a chart with the names of forest animals and a picture of each for students to use when writing about them. Some animals to include are rabbits, bears, skunks, deer, foxes, raccoons, turtles and birds.
- Make a class book about forest animals. Use the sentence frame "A __________lives in the forest." Have each student draw a different animal and fill in its name. Combine the pages into a book to put into your reading center.
- Find pictures of different animals that live in the woods and use them to practice sorting. You can sort by color, animal covering, number of legs, etc.
- Read counting books about forest animals. Two good choices are At the Edge of the Woods by Cynthia Cotten and Ten in a Den by John Butler. Give students counters and let them practice counting the different numbers with you.
- Provide pictures of different groups of forest animals for more counting practice.
- Teach students what a forest is. Talk about not only the animals you might find there but also the plants (trees and shrubs) and bodies of water (ponds, streams, creeks).
- Talk about safety around forest animals. Teach the students that the animals should be observed and protected. They shouldn't try to catch turtles, frogs, rabbits, etc because they need to be in their natural habitat to survive. Animals that in the woods are wild and not meant to be caught and kept as pets.
- Teach students about animal hibernation. Read The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss or Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson. Give each student a piece of brown paper shaped like a cave and a smaller white circle. Have them draw a picture of an animal that hibernates on the white paper and then glue it to the center of the cave. Provide a brown circle with the words "Who sleeps here?" on it and have them glue or tape it over the their animal to make a flap. Hang the flap pictures on a bulletin board about hibernation.
- Talk about camouflage and how different animals use it to stay safe in the forest. Look at pictures of different forest animals and talk about where the animals might blend in best in the woods.
- Learn about the duties and responsibilities of a forest ranger.
- Talk about fire safety when in the forest.
- Make forest animal paper bag puppets.
- Make turtle collages. Give students pre cut turtle shape and small squares of green, brown and black tissue paper to glue on to make the pattern on the turtle shell.
- Let students draw or paint forest animals.
Try these other fun ideas for teaching about hibernation right here at Bright Hub.
You can find most of the books mentioned and other forest animal books at Amazon.