Four “Put Me in the Zoo” Learning Activities that Enhance Cognitive and Language Development

 Four “Put Me in the Zoo” Learning Activities that Enhance Cognitive and Language Development

As my son is growing older, I am creating educational activities based around his interests. Put Me in the Zoo has been one of his favorite books for some time now; so I created four activities based around the creature that is featured in this book with the purpose of teaching him:

1. to recognize the colors red, blue, orange, green and purple

2. the word of each color

Materials:

Preparation:

In the book, the creature is depicted standing in many different positions; I chose the stance below because it was the easiest for me to sketch out and copy. I used nine pieces of yellow construction paper to create the creature. I cut out, arranged, and taped each piece on the wall. Then I taped the contact paper over it.


The creatures spots changes colors in the book, so I traced the top of a mug to create circles on red, blue, green, purple and orange construction paper. I also traced a separate batch of circles in each color and wrote out the word of each color within the circles. I cut the circles out and laminated them. As a teacher, I have found that laminated material has a much longer life span than those that are not; and it works especially well with contact paper. Laminated material can easily be placed and removed from contact paper without damaging any of the material.

I also created word cards for each color. I wrote out the name of each color using a crayon in the appropriate color. Next to the word, I traced an outline of a circle in the same color.


 These word cards can be differentiated by:

1. eliminating the outline of the circle all together

2. shading in the rest of the circle with the appropriate color

3. tracing an outline of a circle in the appropriate color (as depicted above)

4. writing the word of the color within the outline

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Activity 1: Matching Color to Color

Pictured below is the completed activity:

Ask the child to point to or say the color of the spots depicted on the creature on the specific page in the book. Then, ask him to pick the appropriate color circle (as seen on the creature on the specific page in the book) and match it to the spots already placed on the creature. Do this every time the creature’s spots change in the book.

Activity 2: Matching Color to Word

Pictured below is the completed activity:

Ask the child to point to or say the color of the spots depicted on the creature on the specific page in the book. Then ask him to pick the appropriate color circle (as seen on the creature on the specific page in the book) and match it to the word that represents the color. Do this every time the creature’s spots change in the book.

Activity 3: Matching Word to Color

Ask the child to point to or say the color of the spots depicted on the creature on the specific page in the book. Then ask him to pick the word that represents the color (as seen on the creature on the specific page in the book) and match it to the appropriate color. Do this every time the creature’s spots change in the book.

Activity 4: Color Selection

Ask the child to point to or say the color of the spots depicted on the creature on the specific page in the book. Then ask child to pick the appropriate color from a selection of two or three colors before putting them on the creature. Do this every time the creature’s spots change in the book.

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I hope you enjoyed reading about the four super fun Put Me in the Zoo learning activities that I created for my son. Please comment and let me know if you tried any of these activities and how it turned out! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Activity of the Day: Object Permanence and Memorization Fun

Activity of the Day: Object Permanence and Memorization Fun

Good evening and happy Monday! Today, Paulie had so much fun engaging in an activity that really enhances his cognitive development. The activity involves placing an item underneath a bowl and asking the child to find the item. This is not a new activity for Paul; when he was younger, I used to place an object under one of two bowls. Now that he is older, I use three bowls. Paul watches me place the object under one of the bowls, and then he watches me mix them. The way I line them up varies. After I mix them, I ask him, “where did the (for example) ball go?” and then he looks for it. After we engage in the activity for a while, I add another object; so now he has to remember where two objects are. He watches me place one object under one bowl, the other object under another bowl, watches me mix the bowls, and then looks for the item that I ask him to find. This activity offers a great opportunity to enhance language development. Use as much language as possible. Explain what you are doing; what he is doing; and use as many descriptive words as possible. The language that we used during this activity was: yellow, ball, under, red, bowl, red, triangle, smaller, larger, bigger, mix, mixing, mixed, round, circle, over, in, out, ridges, bumpy, smooth, watch, lift, find, etc.

Here are some pictures! =D

Thank you so much for reading! I hope that you have a happy day! =D

Activity of the Day: Playing with Chick Peas and a Coke Bottle

Activity of the Day: Playing with Chick Peas and a Coke Bottle

Happy happy happy Monday! Today, Paulie strengthened his fine motor, sensory, language and cognitive skills while playing with chick peas and a coke bottle.

Fine Motor Development

  • The activity required Paul to pick up one chick pea at a time using his pointer grip.

Sensory Development

  • Paulie manipulated the chickpeas by squeezing them, pinching them, and rolling them in between his hands or one of his hands and another surface.
  • He also felt the bottle.

Language Development

  • The following words were used during this activity: bumpy, hard, rough, small, many, loud, shake, turn, right side up, upside down, smooth, thick, long.

Cognitive Development

  • Requires Paul to understand that only one chick pea fits through the opening to the coke bottle.
  • Requires hand eye coordination.

Here are some pictures!

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy day! =D

Activity of the Day: Watering Plants

Activity of the Day: Watering Plants

Good evening and happy Tuesday! Paul’s responsibility to take care of his plants is enhancing his cognitive development, sensory development, gross motor and fine motor development, and language development. 

Cognitive Development 

  • This activity teaches Paul that he needs to pick up his watering pot, fill it with water, walk over to the plants, kneel next to them, pour water in one plant, and then repeat for the additional plants. 
  • He is learning about how plants grow and sustain life. We talk about how plants need oxygen, carbon dioxide (and that we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide), water, and sunlight to survive and grow. 
  • He is learning about the parts of plants and trees. 

Sensory development

  • This activity requires that Paul touches a variety of textures. We talk about everything that he touches and their attributes.  

Language development

  • During this activity, the following words are used: gentle, rough, soft, hard, green, blue, yellow, first, second, then, watering pot, water, full, empty, pour, slow, slowly, fast, walk, run, careful, carefully, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, rain, clouds, rain clouds, sunlight, hot, cold, liquid, solid, etc

Gross motor development

  • Paul has to walk on an uneven surface and keep his balance while carefully bringing a watering pot to the plants. 
  • He needs to climb up and down a high step. 

Fine motor development 

  • Paul has to use his hand and fingers to hold the tools needed for the activity. 

I love doing ongoing activities with Paul. Every time he engages in the activity, his language development, sensory development, cognitive developmeny, gross motor development, and fine motor development are strengthened. Thank you for reading, I hope you have a very happy Tuesday!! 

Activity of the Day: Playing with Water

Activity of the Day: Playing with Water

Good evening and happy Friday! Paulie had a blast playing with water, especially learning about why some items sink and why some items float =)

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Activity of the Day: Playing with Cantaloupe

Activity of the Day: Playing with Cantaloupe

Good morning and happy Thursday! Today’s learning activity was learning about cantaloupe; and Paul had so much fun =D

Fine Motor Development:

  • Paul picked up seeds with his fingers.
  • He scooped out the innards with a scooper.

Sensory Development:

  • He felt the hard, small seeds.
  • He felt the sticky and stringy innards.
  • He felt the cold and moist fruit.

Language Development:

  • During the activity, we used the following words: sticky, innards, seeds, hard, small, stringy, moist, cold, orange, etc.

Cognitive Development:

  • He scooped the innards into a garbage so we could cut the fruit.

Here are some pictures:

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy Thursday! =D

Activity of the Day: Playing with Snow

Activity of the Day: Playing with Snow

Good evening and happy Wednesday! I hope everyone enjoyed that beautiful Nor’easter; whether it was by playing in the snow, snuggling up in your homes, or both =D Paul had so much fun learning about snow =)

Sensory Development:

  • He manipulated the snow with his hands and felt that it was cold and fluffy; and when we made a snowball he felt that it was cold and hard.

Language Development:

  • The following vocabulary was used during the activity: cold, snow, white, fluffy, hard, solid, liquid, melt, water, freeze, frozen, cold temperature, warm temperature, precipitation, etc.

Fine Motor Development:

  • He manipulated the snow with his hands and with scoops.

Cognitive Development:

  • Paul learned about and played with both the solid and liquid form of water. He watched the snow melt when we brought it into a warm temperature. We talked how it needs to be a cold temperature for the snow to remain in snow form.

 Here are some pictures:

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy Wednesday =D

Activity of the Day: Organic Planting with Mama and Papa!

Activity of the Day: Organic Planting with Mama and Papa!

Good evening and happy Wednesday =D Today, Paul had an enriching learning experience while planting with mama and papa.

  • Language Development:
    • He learned the following words: dirt, shovel, planting, seeds, oregano, parsley, chives, cilantro, thyme, organic, ants, worms, insects, holes, planting pot, dirty, crumbly, cold, windy, small, large, tiny, big, etc.
  • Sensory Development:
    • Paulie manipulated the dirt and gardening tools as we spoke about the attributes.
  • Motor Development:
    • Paulie used a scooper, hands, and fingers to scoop out the dirt from the dirt bag and put it in the planting pot.
    • He placed the seeds in the dirt with the pincer grip.
  • Cognitive Development:
    • He learned that we were scooping dirt in the pot and helped us with the task.
    • He learned that we were putting seeds in the holes in the dirt and helped us.

The learning activity will be ongoing because he will water the herbs everyday and watch them grow. We will talk about the necessities that plants need to survive (oxygen, water, and sunlight); as well as why plants need these necessities to survive. We we also talk about the parts of the herb plants.

Here are some pictures from today’s activity =D

 

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy day! =D

Activity of the Day: Sensory Play with Uncooked and Cooked Pasta

Activity of the Day: Sensory Play with Uncooked and Cooked Pasta

Good afternoon and happy Tuesday =D Paul is 13 months old, and he is such a little ray of sunshine =D I am so excited to start sharing some fun educational activities that I do with Paul to enhance all of the areas of his development. I love being an early childhood educator because I believe that foundational skills (and the lack of) are one of the contributing factors that determine academic success. There are many contributing factors that determine academic success, but I will save that for a very detailed and opinionated post. =D Today, we had fun learning while playing with and talking about pasta.

  • Sensory Development:
    • He was exploring the difference between hard, dry, uncooked pasta versus cooked, sticky, and squishy pasta.
    • He used different grips to pick up the dry pasta and the cooked pasta.
    • He manipulated the dry pasta and cooked pasta differently. With the uncooked pasta, he picked them up and put them in different bowls and boxes. With the cooked pasta, he picked them up and squished it by squeezing his hands and stuck the pasta to surfaces and waited for them to fall.
  • Language Development
    • A lot of language was introduced during this activity. Paul was playing with two bowls that had different amounts of pasta in it. We talked about heavy versus light. In versus out. On top versus under.
    • We talked about the attributes of the cooked and uncooked pasta. He was introduced to the words squishy, sticky, wet, dry, hard, soft, gooey, cooked, uncooked, raw, etc.
  • Fine Motor Development
    • Paul practiced using different grips to pick up and manipulate the cooked and uncooked pasta.
  • Cognitive Development
    • This activity strengthened Paul’s hand-eye coordination. He was placing the pasta in boxes, bowls, measuring cups, and spoons.

Here are some pictures!

 Thank you for reading! =D Comment to let me know if you tried this activity and to tell me how it went <3 I hope you have a happy day! =D