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.
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.
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.