Raccoon-themed Lesson Plan and Activity for Preschoolers
Raccoon Craft Introduction
Raccoons are enchanting animals, especially to preschool children who are often fascinated by their elusive and cheeky nature. They are a great animal to study, being different to the usual, and link in well with the themes on the letter 'R'. Continue reading for raccoon craft ideas and other activities. The crafts are from my classroom experience, and the children always loved making them!
To introduce the theme, read There's A Raccoon In My House! by Penelope Dean, and in the Raccoons Animal Fact Series by Elizabeth Russell-Arnot. The first book is a funny and gripping story involving raccoons, while the second is a factual look at where raccoons like to live, and what they like to eat. The pictures are very good too, and together the books make an excellent topic introduction.
You could also teach your class The Raccoon Song, which is sung to the theme of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".
"Raccoon, raccoon, climbing a tree;
Wearing a mask, you can't fool me;
Hiding there so I can't see;
What you're doing, in that tree;
Raccoon, raccoon, climbing a tree;
Wearing a mask, you can't fool me!"
The next song is sung to the theme of "Kookaburra".
"Raccoon sleeps in a hollow tree;
While the sun shines on you and me;
Warm and cozily.
In the darkest part of the night;
Raccoon has the best eyesight;
My, your eyes are bright.
Raccoon hardly makes a sound;
When he prowls all around;
Find food on the ground."
Make A Raccoon Mask
To prepare, cut out some face shapes in grey. These do not need to have ears. You will also need large, medium and small hearts cut out of black paper along with a permanent marker.
Give each child one mask, two large hearts, two medium hearts and one small heart. Show the children how to lie the large hearts horizontally to make a mask shape across its face, and place the small heart as a nose underneath the mask. The medium sized hearts go upside down at either side of the head, to make ears.
Cut out the eyes for the children, and draw a mouth underneath the nose to finish the mask. You could ask the children to hold the mask to their faces, punch holes in each side and attach elastic or attach each mask to a stick with tape.
Once everyone has a mask to wear, sit in a circle and sing your raccoon songs together!
Paper Bag Puppets
Make cute paper bag puppets using small brown bags (ensure they are big enough to fit over a child's hand but not big enough to go over a head) and some white and black construction paper. You will also need a permanent marker, and stick-on eyes.
Leaving the bag folded, pick up the bottom of the bag. Fold the two corners under, to create a face shape.
Glue a white rectangle shape onto the 'tummy' of the bag, and cut out three white circles, three slightly smaller black circles, two white triangles and two slightly smaller black triangles.
Attach the smaller black circles onto the larger white circles with glue, and repeat the process with the triangles. Glue the triangles to the top of the bag as ears. Stick two of the circles into eye positions under the ears. Attach stick-on eyes to the middle of these circles. The last circle goes underneath the eyes, as a nose.
Once you've completed making any of these raccoon craft projects with your children, finish by sitting in a circle and singing some of the raccoon songs again. Allow each child to show off which raccoon craft they made, and end the topic with a story about raccoons. I love Exploring the World of Raccoons by Tracy C Read, and Raccoon On His Own by Jim Arnosky, which is a great picture book to finish the theme.