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Preschool Themes and Activities About Turtles

written by: Tracey Bleakley • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 6/6/2012

Turtles are a fun topic for a preschool theme. These turtle activities and book connections will add some math and reading to your theme.

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    These preschool turtles activities can be used with a turtles theme or with themes about reptiles, pets or even the letter T. Students can work on math, reading comprehension and science skills while learning about these favorite reptiles.

    Use this turtle poem during circle time. Write each line on a sentence strip and add a small picture to the end of the lines to help the children remember the words. Read over it with your preschoolers several times, inviting them to join in when they feel comfortable. Encourage the children to snap their fingers like turtles as they read the poem.

    I have a little turtle,

    He lives in a box.

    He swims in the water

    And he climbs on the rocks.

    He snapped at a minnow.

    He snapped at a flea.

    He snapped at a mosquito

    And he snapped at me.

    He caught the minnow,

    He caught the flea,

    He caught the mosquito,

    But he didn't catch me!

    by: Vachel Lindsay

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    Franklin In The Dark

    Franklin in the Dark by Paulette Bourgeois is a great book to use as a literature component in your turtle theme. The first book in the series about Franklin the turtle finds Franklin afraid to go into his shell because it is too dark. Instead he drags his shell behind him. One day he takes a walk looking for help and along the way he meets many animals who share the ways they conquer their own fears. That night Franklin sleeps in his dark shell with the help of a night light.

    Share and discuss this book with your preschool students. Ask the children to think of some things that make this story make-believe - talking animals, Franklin dragging his shell behind him, duck swimming with water wings, etc.

    Ask the children what else Franklin might do to be less afraid. Make a list of their ideas. Then give each child paper and crayons to draw a picture of something that he is afraid of.

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    Math

    Here are some preschool turtle activities to add some math practice to your turtle theme.

    For a fun counting activity, read the book Turtle Splash!: Countdown at the Pond by Catherine Falwell. This cute, rhyming story depicts ten timid turtles relaxing on a log until one by one each turtle is startled by another animal and jumps into the water. Read the book again giving each student ten green snap cubes or other small counters to use as turtles. You can also make mats with a sheet of blue construction paper with a brown strip of paper for the log glued on. Laminate them and you can use them year after year. Have the students use their counters to follow the action in the story, subtracting one turtle and counting how many are left each time a turtle in the story is startled.

    For an easy math center activity make ten turtle shapes and write the numbers 1 to 10 on the shells of the turtles. Then make another set and use colored dot stickers to make the corresponding number of dots on their shells. The students can then count the dots and match each turtle with the turtle that has the matching number on its shell.

    These fun activities will have your students wishing for turtles of their own. You can also use these fun turtle facts and book recommendations to add some science to your unit about turtles.