Teaching animals

teaching animals

Teaching animals is an excellent way to introduce English to kids because they are usually fascinated by them. Maybe it’s because they look so cute and curious! Either way, it’s no coincidence that lots of kids toys are stuffed animals.

Predictably, so many course books for young beginners learning English start with “Talking about myself” and the alphabet. “What’s your name” is a mouthful for a 6-year-old beginner. Unfortunately, the alphabet is abstract and unexciting. But, however, you might get your pupils’ attention with a safari park of stuffed toys! Through teaching animal vocabulary children can learn their first syllables in English.

Develop with:

What are their names?
How old are they?
What colour are they?
How many are there?
Are they big or small?
What do they like to eat?
Where do they live?

Teaching animals to preschool children

Play listening games to introduce animal vocabulary. Please see my preschool games book for ideas. Play miming games using sounds and actions. Play guessing games. Pay musical games where kids mime the animal you name when you stop the music. Hide animals about the classroom. Children search and touch the one you name. Sort animals into groups of colours, sizes, those that eat grass, those that eat other animals, those that live in the cold, those that live in the heat…those that are pets, those that are dangerous. Have an animal tea party or make a cute library scene as in the image below.

teaching animals - a teddy bear taking a book from a shelf

Cute library scene with stuffed animals.


Teaching kids should be hands on. Make scenes with objects, toys and props to bring learning English alive.

Teaching animals to primary school children


Teach adjectives with animals and play Find the Pairs Memory Games in small groups with animals and adjectives. (It’s a big brown bear. It’s a long thin snake.) Do an animal quiz. Team one have 30 seconds to describe an animal to team two, (or mime it for beginners). Team two try to name the animal. If team two is successful, both teams get a point.


This post has ideas on making a giant safari park, but, of course, you can have your animals in the wild too.

one act play by Shelley Ann Vernon

There’s a cute animal skit in my book of role-plays and skits for children.

Great fun resources for teaching animals

3 thoughts on “Teaching animals”

  1. Ernesto in Cuba is doing this and he says: It’s very helpful and inspirating. I’m doing that myself with my grandaughter. Thanks a lot.

  2. Hi Shelley,

    I really needed these ideas. Teaching toddlers as old as 1.5 years old seems impossible. Then seeing their responses to my acting during the class I assess and address my class to their responses. It’s an ongoing adjusting and sort of giving-taking négociation in order for them to keep them alight and interested. These ideas will add more interest and value for the best of their progress in the learning of English. Some they don’t even speak their own language, the native one, hardly a word here and there. Amazing how quickly they pick up at least on the vowel sounds of the words of the animals! Thank you for these ideas and keeping us on spot.

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