When you introduce a preschool woodpecker theme, preschoolers will learn about woodpeckers and their habitat and participate in related art, writing, reading, science, and math activities. The point is to make the children more aware of the environment as well as to foster creativity and articulateness.
- Drawing sheets
- Colors – markers, water-color
- Photos and videos of woodpeckers
- Books about woodpeckers
Note to Teacher
Here are some facts about woodpeckers that you will need to know for teaching this theme:
- A woodpecker has a hard, pointed beak, a long and sticky tongue, a stiff tail, and feet with two claws pointed in opposite directions.
- Woodpeckers belong to the Picidae family of birds, and over 200 species are found everywhere in the world except Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, the Oceanic Islands and the Polar regions.
- Woodpeckers are found in woodlands, hillsides and deserts.
- Woodpeckers eat carpenter ants, beetle larvae, fruit and nuts.
- Woodpeckers are generally monogamous and the parents take turns in incubating the eggs.
- Woodpeckers lay around four eggs at a time, which hatch in about two weeks. The young birds are ready to fly in about a month after hatching.
- The lifespan of woodpeckers is generally 4-11 years.
- Woodpeckers are threatened by climate change, pollution, pesticides and threats to their habitats.
Tell the preschoolers that they are going to learn about woodpeckers. Have they ever heard of them or seen a Woody Woodpecker cartoon? Woody, incidentally, was a Pileated Woodpecker. Show them photographs and pictures of real woodpeckers.
Explain that the woodpecker has a long, hard bill so it can easily pound into tree trunks and branches. The birds do this to look for food, to communicate with other woodpeckers, and to announce their territorial rights. The woodpecker's stiff tail and claws help it to balance its weight on a tree trunk as it hammers into the wood. By picking off wood-boring insects with its long, sticky tongue, the woodpecker ensures that the woodlands stay healthy.
Where does a woodpecker live? Well, in a hole made in a tree trunk or branch. The woodpecker lays its eggs in there and both parents care for the young.
Talk about how necessary woodlands are for woodpeckers. Without them, the woodpeckers would be left homeless. So they are important to preserve our woodlands.
Draw a woodpecker in its natural habitat, in the process of making a hole in a tree, or flying. Note and identify the colors of a woodpecker. Have plenty of woodpecker photographs around for the preschoolers to refer to. Color with brush or with fingers. Try a collage from colored paper. Preschoolers can also imagine and paint other bird varieties.
Observe woodpeckers in the wild or in a natural history museum. See videos of woodpeckers. Encourage the preschoolers to talk about what they have observed. What does a woodpecker look like? What are its notable features? What does a woodpecker do? What bird activities have the preschoolers noticed? What does it eat? Where does it live?
Learn about the letter W. Show the preschoolers how to write W. Trace with a marker or finger-paint. Show them how to write woodpecker. Come up with other words starting with W. For example, Writing, Work, Wish, Want, Will, Wash and Warm. Think of other birds that have names starting with a W. For example, Wren, Willow Warbler, Woodcock, Woodlark, Woodpigeon and Waxwing.
Sing a song about a woodpecker. The children can pretend to be woodpeckers, and knock on a door or a desk to communicate with each other, three knocks for Yes, and two knocks for No. Have the children tell a number of 'Knock, Knock' jokes. Here are some:
- Knock Knock Who's there? Lettuce. Lettuce who? Lettuce in, it's cold out here.
- Knock Knock Who's there? Who. Who who? Are you an owl?
- Knock Knock! Who's there? Arch. Arch Who? Bless You!
- Knock knock! Who's there? Boo. Boo who? Don't cry, it's only a joke!
Make a number of cards showing woodpecker outlines in red, blue and yellow, and have the preschoolers separate the cards by color. Have them count the number of cards in each color.
What Else to Do
See a video of Woody Woodpecker in The Barber of Seville – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jv3lL6imzU
As part of the preschool woodpecker bird theme reading, here's a book to check out:
- The Owl and the Woodpecker, By Brian Wildsmith, Star Bright Books: 1595720502