A teacher asked me for a picture of a zoo after she had wasted hours of lesson preparation time looking for one online. She wanted to do an activity that would work on people, prepositions, and revise animals. Her idea was to have kids place animals and people about the zoo. That is a great idea, however, I prefer safari parks to zoos since the animals have more space, and sometimes are in the wild. So here’s an idea for that.
Have you spent hours on lesson preparation?
Rather than spend your evening searching the internet, do something fun with your free time instead! You don’t need the perfect, ready-made prop to satisfy your students. Children are always ready to use their imaginations, and they can transform a pencil into a magic wand in an instant.
How to make a safari park
Here are some ideas for creating a zoo or safari park, even if you can’t draw.
Make the park in the classroom from pieces of paper. Each piece is an enclosure. First, kids draw fences around the edge of the paper and then draw or glue an animal picture in the middle. There are lots of cool animal pictures in my downloadable flashcards pack, and the small-sized ones would be perfect for this activity. However, if you have toy animals to play with, that’s even better.
Next, have kids decorate and colour the enclosures, draw trees, or stick on pictures from magazines. Spread those about the classroom and you have a safari or national park. Kids can then play a listening game, following your instructions. For example, “put the small yellow person near the elephants.” Or, “Fabrice please draw a tree in the lion park.” If your park doesn’t look like the annoyingly brilliant ones from Blue Peter don’t worry, the kids enjoy this sort of thing and it’ll be their creation.
This craft project could take an entire lesson or continue over several classes if you have enough space. For example, take some artist’s paper and start by drawing the entrance. Kids then stick animal pictures on the paper, draw circles for the enclosures and add paths between them. Add a kiosk to buy drinks. To make this, draw a rectangle, colour it in and stick a water bottle on it cut out from a magazine.
Since it’s beneficial to include TPR and movement in an English lesson, play some miming games. For example, have kids move the classroom and stand next to an enclosure. This activity is convenient if you have stuck those on the walls. Then each child mimes the animal nearby.
Continue to give instructions to other pupils, such as “Jaime please go to the elephant/s.” They could count, feed or move them from one enclosure to another. You could even initiate small conversations such as “I’m hungry.” So the feeder replies, “Here are some bananas.” Through this activity, children can learn about what animals eat, but make sure it’s safe to feed them first!
Let me know what you think. There is nearly always a way to invent what you need from very little rather than spending your free evening looking for it.
Feel free to ask me for ideas! To see all my teaching resources, please visit this page: Shelley Ann Vernon’s teaching resources.
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