Preschool Animal Habitats using Sensorial Materials

Saturday, October 1, 2016

We were reading a lot of animal books lately that I decided to introduce Vito to animal habitats.  I have no idea how to do it first, but then I realised that I have kinetic sand, some synthetic grass and unused ice in the fridge… enough materials to present three animal habitats of the world.  Take note that there was no serious “lesson” in here.  Everything was spontaneous, like a storytelling of animal homes.  The concept was introduced as Vito and I played along.  Much of the time was spent playing pretend, feeling and touching the grass, sand and ice!

Preschool Animal Habitats using Sensorial Materials
It’s so easy to set-up!  I would place the the grass in our trays and take out our Safari Ltd Toob animals to go along with it.  Here you can see, we have elephant, giraffe, zebra, rhino and lion from Schleich.  I told Vito that these animals live and thrive in the grass.  No, I didn’t mention “savannah” or “grassland” yet.

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Next day, we moved on to the animals that live in the desert.  Here we used our Safari Toob Desert animals.  I placed our kinetic sand in a baking tray, added some rocks on it to add details.  He is not yet familiar of the animals in the desert, so there were lots of “what’s this” from him during this time.  The only animal he can name here was the snake.

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Then he asked if we can get the “animal grass” that’s what he called it, so I took out a smaller version of the our grass and placed it on the same baking tray.  Because the Schleich animals were too big for the tray, we used the Safari Toob Wild instead.  He played with this for awhile, and as I observed, he’s pretending that the animals are talking to each other, that they are friends and that after playing, they’re going home to sleep.

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I suddenly remembered that we still have ice in the freezer so I took them out for a little Artic and Antarctic presentation.  When he saw me putting ice on the tray, much to my surprise he hurriedly took out the Schleich polar bear.  I know that he’s familiar with polar bears, but I didn’t expect that he was able to grasp the concept that a polar bear lives in ice! He could have taken the polar bear when I was preparing the grass and sand, but no… it was only when I prepared the ice that he associated the polar bear with it.  So by this time, I also told him that not only polar bears live in ice but penguins too!  This made me realise that I should include animal activities at least once a month to touch on habitats, animal parts, classifications and more of pretend play.

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And of course he did this! Whenever he played with animals, he liked it when there’s a Mommy and a baby.  He said “Mommy, take a look”, and I hurriedly took my camera to snap this precious moment!  He showed me a baby polar bear kissing the mommy.  Even in play, my little one shows me his love!

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Animal Habitats

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