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The Bengal tiger is a magnificent, regal animal found on the Indian subcontinent. The national animal of India, it was once found across the length and breadth of the country. Now it is endangered and is restricted to protected wildlife sanctuaries.
Long the subject of folktales and songs, tigers have fascinated children and adults alike for centuries. Most preschoolers will love hearing about them. In this preschool craft tiger lesson plan, we will learn about the Bengal tiger and will make a preschool craft tiger from cardboard and paper.
- Toilet roll tube or any cardboard tube
- Thin cardboard
- Thin craft paper
- Colors - gouache, water-color or markers
- Photographs of tigers
- Googly eyes
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Take a cardboard tube. This will be the tiger's body. Paint it in orange or orange-yellow. If you want a white tiger, you can paint it white. Let the paint dry and then paint on the tiger stripes in black or a very dark brown. Refer to photographs of tigers to see how the stripes are formed. The tiger's belly will be white.
If the cardboard tube is around 6 inches long, make the tiger's legs around 2.5 inches tall. To make the legs, cut a cardboard strip of 1 by 2.5 inches and fold it lengthwise into three folds. Join the open lengths together with glue so the cardboard strip now stands in a triangular tube form. Make three more legs this way. Let the glue dry and then color them with the same color used for the tiger body and add the tiger stripes. Then glue the tiger legs to the tiger body.
Now make the tiger head by cutting a cardboard circle. Make the circle larger than the tube hole. Cut two small circles and stick them on the larger circle to make the tiger's ears. When seen from the front you should see the ears only as half-circles.
Stick the google eyes on the large circle to make the tiger's eyes. Paint in the tiger's features. Again, refer to tiger photographs to see how a tiger's face looks like. Once the face is painted, stick the back of the circle to the hole rim of the tiger body tube.
Cut a smaller cardboard circle approximately the same size as the tube rim, paint it in tiger color and stripes and glue it to close the other end of the tube.
Make the tiger's tail by tight-rolling thin craft paper. Color it orange or yellow-orange and paint black rings at the end. Glue one end of the tail to the tiger's behind.
Stand up the tiger and add a bit more paint here and there if required. Your preschool craft tiger is ready to roar.
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Tell the preschoolers about the Bengal tiger. You might talk about:
- Where does the Bengal tiger live? On the Indian subcontinent - this includes India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar.
- In what kinds of habitats do Bengal tigers live? In tropical and subtropical rain forests, deciduous forests, scrub forests, mangroves and grasslands.
- How do its color and stripes help it with camouflage in its habitat? They help the tiger to meld with grasses and tree shadows.
- What does it eat? The Bengal tiger is a carnivorous animal. It hunts other animals like deer, buffalo, boars, hares, birds, etc.
- Does the Bengal tiger live with its family or alone? The Bengal tiger, in the wild, is a solitary animal. It is territorial and does not like other tigers to intrude on its chosen territory.
- How many cubs does it have? The Bengal tiger can have two to five cubs generally. They live with their mother until they are about 1.5 years old, by which time they are grown enough to go off on their own.
- How big and heavy is a Bengal tiger? Bengal tigers can measure around 240-310 cm in length and can weigh up to 235 kg. Since preschoolers won't understand these numbers, it's a good idea to show an object of comparative size and length and say, "That's how big a tiger is."
- What kind of a noise does a Bengal tiger make? The Bengal tiger roars and so loudly it can be heard at least two miles away.
- Who is a Bengal tiger related to? The Bengal tiger is related to domestic cats, lions, panthers and leopards.
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Take the preschoolers to a zoo to see a real Bengal tiger. You might ask the tiger caretaker at the zoo, if he or she has the time, to talk to the preschoolers about the tiger. Where it came from, how old it is, what it likes or dislikes, what it does daily, what it eats and so on.
Look at photographs of tigers. You can find some excellent ones by doing a Google image search and also on the National Geographic website.
Show the preschoolers videos and movies featuring tigers. Recommended -
- Movie - "Two Brothers". See - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Brothers
- YouTube video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-wURb1HX2s
Read William Blake's poem "Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright" to the preschoolers - http://www.poetry-online.org/blake_the_tiger.htm
Read stories of tigers to the preschoolers. See -
- Project Tiger - http://projecttiger.nic.in/tigerstories.htm
- Save the Tiger Fund - http://www.savethetigerfund.org/Content/NavigationMenu2/Community/KidsandTeachers/TigerStories/default.htm
- Tibetan Folktales - The Tiger and the Frog - http://sacred-texts.com/asia/tft/tft05.htm
Ask the preschoolers to make up tiger stories of their own.
For other preschool animal crafts, hand out drawing sheets and colors and ask the preschooler to draw a tiger in its natural habitat. Talk about how it's important to protect habitats so a tiger will always have home.