Kids seem to have an intrinsic curiosity about animals. From a neighbor's pet dogs to grazing white-tailed deer, I've noticed my kids always come running when given the opportunity to see and hopefully "say Hi to" a new animal.
I often try to utilize their love of animals to entice my kids to play learning games. The animal theme can be applied to many games. Here are a few games you may enjoy playing with your kids while practicing basic skills and learning more about animals around us.
- Animal scavenger hunt: this is a great game to play with kids at the zoo of course, but can also be played in your own backyard. Kids will use a digital camera or a nature journal to "capture" as many animals as they can find. Look for bugs in the garden, birds in the trees, and pets in nearby backyards. ***Remind kids that no animals should be touched without permission from an adult.***
- Animal ABCs: The idea of this game is to name an animal for each letter of the alphabet starting with A. Older kids may enjoy an additional memory element, listing each previous animal in alphabetical order before adding their own animal for the next letter of the alphabet.
- Animal charades: children will take turns acting as a chosen or assigned animal without providing any verbal or written cues while other players try to guess the animal being acted out.
- Animal sound match: this large group game is fun for parties or summer camps. Each child is assigned an animal sound and each sound is assigned to two players. When the round begins, children begin making their assigned animal sounds continuously until they can identify their match by listening. Matched animals sit quietly together until all the other animals find their match.