Zoo Week

Zoo week, like all the weeks of summer camp so far, was phenomenal!  Read below to learn about the fun that was had!

Monday began with a rather long-necked animal craft!  Before learning which animal they would be creating, the children shared a ton of shares relating to the theme of the week, zoo!  Everything from red pandas, tigers, penguins, books about the zoo, and more came to camp!  After all the shares had been discussed, the teachers began hinting at which animal the children would be making to kick off zoo week!

Can you figure out which animal the students made from the following three clues?

1.  This animal lives in Africa but can be found in BIG zoos!
2.  This animal is not a horse but when it runs it looks like a rocking horse like this… (visual aid compliments of Miss Justine).
3.  This animal eats leaves way up high in trees – it has one body part that is particularly LONG that helps it reach that high!

After hearing the third clue, the children filled with excitement as they realized that the animal they would be making was a …
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GIRAFFE!

Using Q-tips to create the appearance of spots on the giraffes body, the children crafted their giraffes.  After adding some green paint for grass, they then glued and stuck the giraffe onto the construction paper background.

In the afternoon, the children brainstormed a list of animals that they wanted to learn about throughout the remainder of zoo week.  Here is the list they came up with.  The circled ones reveal which animals the students voted as the most popular choices.

Taking a hint from Monday’s list, the teachers decided that a craft involving one of the big cats would be a good idea.  When the children entered camp on Tuesday, the teachers informed them that there was a big problem!  Dating themselves a bit, the teachers informed the students that the lions at the Park Prep Zoo did not have any bars on their cages!  Someone had to cage in the lions to keep everyone at the zoo safe!  Some of the students were confused by this concept as many zoos have replaced the steel bar animal cages with glass-walled cages, as a way to be animal and photographer friendly.  Fortunately the teachers found a zoo book that showed pictures of the once standard look.

The students got right to work coloring in the first part of their lion art project! Using fettuccini noodles as cage bars, the children locked up those lions and kept the zoo patrons safe!  Here is the completed project.

On Tuesday afternoon, the students had their faces painted!  Here are some of the paintings the students requested.  Zoo week surely influenced their choices! Clearly some children had last week’s theme on the brain!  Butterfly was the most popular request.

Wednesday was Pajama Day and the children did not disappoint!  Here are some of the children in their jammies! Later in the day, the children created another animal craft from Monday’s list – a Panda!

After learning that pandas spend a lot of their time in trees, munching on leaves, the children used brown paint to create the tree trunk and green paint and a sponge to paint the treetop which proved to be the perfect backdrop for the panda craft!  Here is how the “Panda in a Tree” craft turned out!

Thursday was a field trip day – a bus trip to the Turtle Back Zoo!  The children could hardly contain their excitment as they headed into the zoo!

Once the entire group was inside the zoo, the fun began!  The adults on the field trip were a bit nervous about the gloomy looking weather.  Just to be safe, the teachers led the students around to some of the larger zoo attractions first!  The children started by touring some of the animal exhbits including: the alligator exhibit, as well as the gibbon exhibit where the students learned just why the playground equipment is called the monkey bars!

They also met an extremely impressive raven!  Watch the video below to hear the raven “speak” or mimic a hello from the children and teachers!

Shortly after arriving, the Park Prep group headed to the zoo’s amphitheater to observe a very informative lesson all about reptiles!

During the presentation, the children got an upclose and personal look at different types of turtles, an old tortoise shell, and even a real snake!

After the presentation had concluded, the teachers led to the children over to the zoo’s train station!  After a few minutes, the train pulled into the station and the children boarded the train – ready for their ride!

During the ride, the train chugged through the beautiful wilderness surrounding the zoo!  Much to the surprise of the everyone, the children shortly after pulling out of the station, spotted a dear running through the woods!  On the way back around the large loop, the children had their eyes peeled and sure enough – the deer was there again!  This time he was nibbling on some grass!  Watch below!

The train pulled into the station and the children jumped off – of course, thanking the conductor before leaving the station! After the train ride, the children headed straight to the restrooms to wash up before lunch!  After enjoying their lunch, they headed straight for the prairie dog exhibit!  There were so many prairie dogs!  They were racing around, playing with each other, popping in and out of holes in the ground, and eating!  Watch below to see some prairie dogs in action!

The children even took turns popping their heads up out of the “dirt” just like actual prairie dogs.  After everyone had a turn “popping up”, the group trekked onward to the really LARGE animal areas!  Animals such as horses, bison, and bears – oh my!

Thursday was such a wonderful day that it is hard to pinpoint exactly what the best moment from the trip was.  Perhaps it was howling at the wolf?

Perhaps it was seeing a leopard only a few feet away? It is so hard to decide!  What do you think was the best part of the field trip?

During morning meeting on Friday, the teachers informed the children that there would be a technology presentation all about animals in the afternoon.  Rather than creating it in advance, the teachers decided to ask the children what questions they had about animals and what they wanted to learn more about?  After making a rather extensive list, the children voted and narrowed it down to the top two questions!
After creating their list, the children headed outside to enjoy a morning of outdoor fun – Field Day!  They were so excited to play games with the parachute.

They also loved the hopscotch-inspired agility loops! Of course, the balls were a huge hit! When they returned to school, they charted which field day station they liked the best!  Balls won out with 14 votes.

Later in the afternoon, the teachers used photographs and informative computer clips like these to help answer the questions about animals from the morning.

Why do penguins slide on their bellies?

After watching the clip, the children learned that penguins waddle when they walk on ice because it is slippery and difficult for them to walk.  The penguin slide, although appearing to be silly and fun, actually is just an easier way for them to move around on ice!  The children all noted that they would like to have a silly way to get around like that too!  Speaking of silly, here is a BBC animated clip that plays on how these penguins slide – or “tobagin”- around the ice!

After learning about penguins, the children learned about elephants and how they bathe.  What they noticed was that the bathing style really depended greatly upon where the elephant lived – or rather, who the elephant lived with!  If an elephant lived in the wild with only other elephants.

An elephant that lives in places where people are, bathes quite luxuriously!  Watch below to see for yourself!  This elephant sure looks relaxed!  Be sure to keep an eye out for a HUGE smile towards the middle!

The children found the second clip to not only be funny but shockingly familiar!  A lot of, “My mommy/daddy does that for me too” were heard as the elephants were scrubbed and splashed.

For fun, the teachers showed the children what happens when an elephant decides to take a shower – while a person is on top!  They really loved this one!

Since their curiosity had been peaked, the children asked if they could find out the answers to the remaining questions.  Fortunately, the teachers anticipated this and were prepared with the answers and photographs to boot!  What the teachers did not anticipate was the shocking story that one three year old child told while discussing why lions have manes.   Pointing to the wound below, he informed the entire group about the time he was bitten by a lion!

It was quite a shocking story but what was most shocking was how many of the children at Park Prep had also been bitten by lions! Who knew so many of the PPA preschoolers had traveled the world and had encounters with such wild animals?  The teachers thoroughly enjoyed this part of the discussion – particularly their conviction and requests for band-aids!

Once the presentation had concluded, the children took off to their afternoon stations before heading home for the weekend.  What a great week!

Well, that is all for Zoo Week!  As always, thank you for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

-PPA