Spring time is the perfect time to teach about bunnies in the classroom, although any time of the year will do. Try some of these rabbit themed activities and ideas for a comprehensive unit.
Ask the following questions for discussion:
- Do you have a rabbit?
- Have you ever seen a rabbit?
- Have you held a rabbit before?
- Have you ever had a rabbit for a pet?
- What do rabbits look like?
- What do rabbits eat?
- Where do rabbits live?
- How do rabbits move?
- Can rabbits be different colors? If so, which ones?
- Do rabbits have long ears or short ears?
These are important questions to ask and discuss with your students in order to find out what they may already know about rabbits and rabbit care, so you can then build on what they know. Theories and predictions are an important part of reading/ comprehension/ and language learning.
Stories for Circle Time:
Here is a list of great rabbit themed stories to read to the children:
- Benjamin Bunny
- Peter Cotton Tail
- Peter Rabbit are all by Beatrix Potter
- The Velveteen Rabbit is by Margery Williams
- Knuffle Bunny is by Mo Williams
- Runaway Bunny is by Margaret Wise-Brown
At the end of each story, you could ask them what bunny characteristics they recall from your question and answer session. You could talk about what happened to the rabbit in the story, etc. Again this is part of language/ literacy and skills the kids need to learn to be successful readers.
Music/ Movement for Circle Time:
Little Bunny Foo Foo (composer unknown), is a cute song for physical exercise and gross motor skills. Adding a bunny puppet and making a goon out of a small paper lunch bag for a puppet, can add to the excitement and enjoyment of this activity as well. There is also a book for this song by Paul Brett Johnson.
For a language activity, read another rabbit themed story to the children (you could choose from the list above). Then discuss the story asking questions about what happened in the story: What was their favorite part? Using chart paper, ask the children what some of the vocabulary words were used in the story that they may recall (i.e. rabbit, hopping, camouflage, habitat etc.) Then ask the children to draw a picture of their favorite part from the story and have them label the picture and put their name on it to display in the room.
In a Parent newsletter, ask to see if anyone can bring in a live rabbit for the class to see and touch. This will help in learning about having a rabbit for a pet and the care it would need. If this is not an option, you could see if the class can borrow a rabbit from another teacher or faculty member to keep in the classroom for a while to give the children a taste of the responsibility of having a rabbit for a pet.
Some of the things children can learn from temporarily caring for a rabbit in the room would be feeding the rabbit, giving it water, cleaning the cage, etc. Making a class chart is a good way to keep a record of who took care of the rabbit and what day in order for everyone to get a turn taking care of it. As a small science experiment, you could also have the children feed the rabbit various food items that it may enjoy, giving him one item per week (depending on how long you are "allowed" keep him in the class). Some of these may include; carrots, lettuce, alfalfa, food pellets, etc. Chart or record what the rabbit eats to find out which food the rabbit likes and doesn't like and compare the results. Your students will get a kick out of this!
Note: Prior to this experiment, check to make sure no one in your class is allergic to animal fur, pet dander, etc.
Using cards that are setup bingo style with carrots on them for an example; one square on a card may have two carrots and another square may have four carrots in another square. Give each child at least 10 rabbit-shaped manipulatives ("chips" to cover the spaces on bingo cards). The students will then use these "rabbit" bingo chips to cover each carrot space. Whoever covers their card first wins! Have the children count the rabbits as they cover the carrots on the card.
These cards can be found on the Internet at http://www.prekinders.com and the manipulative's can be bought at the Bright Futures Education store and any dollar store or big lots store that carries them. Playing games such as this one helps build critical thinking skills, fine motor skills as well as problem-solving and counting skills. To save money, you could try making the carrot counting cards on your own. First make boxes using your computer (You can make charts in Word) to look like a bingo card, then find a carrot picture and in each box put a certain amount of carrots in each box, then print up as many as you need. To preserve the cards have them laminated and you and the kids can have fun! Another option would be to take large index cards or card stock and use carrot stickers or stamps with the carrots on them and still laminate them so they will last longer.
Arts and crafts:
Find printable coloring pictures of rabbits and have the children color them the colors that were discussed during circle time. Then have the children glue cotton balls on the picture to represent their tails. These types of activities are great for building your students' fine motor skills.
- Rabbit pictures
- Cotton balls
In the library area of your preschool classroom, have rabbit themed books, videos and posters displayed and available for further student exploration and learning.
Upon completion of these activities, your rabbit lesson plans will meet both your administration's requirements and will surely make your little ones very "hoppy"! Have fun!
Introduce some healthy snack ideas during this bunny theme by having carrots for snack time use a dip such as a ranch dip or a french dressing to dip the carrots in. A veggie dip try could be used giving the students a choice of dips and veggies to eat at snack time.