Teaching preschoolers about elephants can be a huge amount of fun. Usually the only time students come into contact with these enormous animals is when they are at the zoo. Now you can bring the excitement to them by singing and making elephant crafts while learning about this enormous creature.
Developing Skills Through Learning
Preschoolers will be developing learning skills throughout all of these elephant activities. They will use their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills when manipulating objects to make elephant crafts. They will also be using their social skills while singing songs and presenting their projects to their peers. Other skills they will use throughout these elephant preschool activities include letter, number and word recognition during the feed the elephant and Ellie the Elephant activities.
Feed the Elephant
This activity centers on the student's ability to recognize letters and numbers and to create sight words.
• Hand out a picture of an elephant and cut a hole where its mouth would be.
• Next, have students cut out all the letters of the alphabet and numbers one through ten.
• Have students partner up and take turns feeding the elephant each letter as they say it aloud to one another.
• Another idea would be to do the same thing with numbers.
Students can even learn to create sight words together or as a whole class.
Ellie the Elephant
Have students create a character called Ellie the Elephant out of the letter E. Give each student a sheet of paper with a huge letter E on it. Also give them two circles (used for ears) and one circle (used for the head). Have the students glue these shapes onto the letter E to create Ellie the Elephant. Provide additional art supplies for the students to decorate as they like. Next have them show off their work to their peers and display them on a bulletin board titled "Ellie the Elephant."
Here is a cute idea for creating an elephant mask. Hand out two small pink circles and two medium gray circles and one large gray circle for students to trace and cut out. Then have them glue the shapes onto a paper plate and decorate. They can add the eyes or anything to make it unique. Next, staple an old white tube sock for the truck. Finally, with a whole punch, create two small holes on each side of the plate and thread a string through them so the students can wear their masterpieces.
Create an Elephant Out of Shapes
This activity will not only reinforce learning about shapes, but it will help them practice their fine motor skills by using scissors. To begin, print out the template called "Elephant Shapes" by clicking the link. Next have students cut out all of the shapes and color them, then glue them together to create an elephant out of shapes.
Enormous Elephant Song
Here is a cute song that will preschoolers will enjoy singing. While singing the song have students act out the actions and feel free to add-on to the song.
One enormous elephant marching down the street (put one finger up and march in place)
Swinging his truck to the marching band's beat (swing your arm back and forth while marching in place)
He had two big ears and four big feet (hold your ears and stomp your feet)
Swinging his trunk to the marching band's beat (swing your arm back and forth and march in place)
(Repeat with more elephants)
Elephant books are a great way for preschoolers to learn about elephants. Some great books to read to the students include The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff, The Saggy Baggy Elephant by Kathryn and Byron Jackson, The Elephants Can't Dance by Mo Wilems, or An Elephant in the Living Room by Jill M. Hastings and Marion H. Typpo. For an extension activity to any of these books, have the students draw a picture of their favorite part or character in the story. For another option, together as a class, have students create their own ending to the story.
Horton Hears a Who
Horton Hears a Who is a spectacular book and movie that will have your preschoolers in a roar. They will learn important lessons such as teamwork, forgiveness, respect and compassion for people who are different from them.
Plan a movie day when students get to view the movie in their pajamas. Provide popcorn and juice and make a day of it.
A great extension activity after the movie is to have students play a game that focuses on teamwork and team spirit. Divide students into two teams and have them stand in a relay line. One team can be named the "Hortons" and the other the "Whos." The object of the game is to have teams move through an obstacle to get to the end. Ideas for the obstacles are hula- hoops, boxes, jumping over pillows etc. This activity is one of my favorites--have fun!
Creative Playing Equals Learning
All of these activities will work well with any lesson plan on elephants. Students will enjoy creating, playing and learning throughout all of these elephant preschool activities. They will develop important learning skills that will help them be a success in the future.