Z is for Zoo Preschool Lesson

This lesson is part of a weekly series of home preschool lessons I do for 2 and 3 year olds.  Click to see all the other Letter of the Week lessons we’ve done.


We always start our lessons by watching the clip from the Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD for the featured letter and then making a letter craft.


The idea for the letter craft came from here



The first book we read was Two at the Zoo by Danna Smith.



Then we sang “Animals at the Zoo” using finger puppets.  I started out wearing them as we sang and and then the kids really wanted to wear them so we sang the song two more times for the kids to each have a turn.




The next book we read was The Star of the Zoo by Virginie Zurcher



We did a couple worksheets and puzzles:

Dot the Zs in the zoo using Do a Dot Markers (LI

Zoo Pre-writing Practice Sheet

2 piece Z puzzles



Then we made our own zoos by using a piece of playdough and popsicle sticks as cages for little plastic animals (inspiration from here ).  I used our TOOB animal sets for this lesson and I use them in many other lessons as well.




Next we read Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.  This is one my daughters favorite books and it was the inspiration for her second birthday party, so of course we had to include it in the lesson!


I used these free Dear Zoo props to do some fun activities with the kids.  I had the packages with the animals underneath hidden around the room and in the order of the book they found the right box and revealed what was inside.  I asked them if we were going to keep the animal and they said “No, it’s too ______” until the dog one at the end.  After we did the unveiling game a couple times I asked them other questions like “Which animal is too fierce?  Which animal is too tall?”


Afterward we made our own flap sheet like the book of an animal they wanted the zoo to send them and why they didn’t keep it.  I made my own sheets modeled after this picture.


We took a snack break to eat some animal crackers and the kids sorted them and made up stories with them.



Then we read The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom.


I chose to read it at this point in the lesson because it included a zookeeper and we were about to do a zookeeper activity.

Another book that has an even bigger zookeeper role and is really sweet is A Sick Day for Amos McGhee by Phillip Stead.  We didn’t end up using it this time, because I thought the kids were in the mood for a more active book, but I love the story!




After reading the book I talked about what a zookeeper is and gave each kid their own zookeeper badge for our pretend zoo.  I already had all the materials prepared and the stations planned out since this was an activity I created for my daughter’s birthday party and I saved the supplies.


Each little zookeeper got to choose an animal to take care and then they went through various care stations.


Give your animal a bath.


Comb your animal’s fur.


Check to see if your animal is healthy.


Feed your animal a snack.


Help your animal drink from the bottle.


Help your animal get some exercise.


The activity was a hit and the kids were so cute caring for their animals so well!  After they were done they wanted to start over again with another animal!



We always end our lesson with reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and adding the letter to our coconut tree.  This was our last letter!  I thought the kids might get bored of reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom every lesson, but it was actually a highlight for them and the boy in my preschool can now read the book to me because he has it memorized!



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