Fun with animals – Playgroup
Did you know?
Animals are regarded differently in different cultures. It can be fun to explore the way animal noises are said in different languages e.g. in English a rooster says “-a-doodle-doo”, in a number of European languages a rooster says “kee-ker-ree-kee”.
Animals at playgroup stimulate discussion. You could draw children’s attention to how animals are the same and different – size, colour, skin coverings, where they live etc. Other ideas include how they move, what noises they make and what animals need i.e. food, water, shelter.
Animals are great for helping less outgoing children to become involved at playgroup. The presence of animals is a great motivator for social connection and physical activity.
Why not meet at the zoo or a farm; or invite a reptile or bird handler to playgroup? Photos of the day can be made into a book to share. Play props like puppets, toy animals, farm sets etc., can be introduced over several weeks so children can act out their experiences.
Safety and health
It is best to have licensed businesses such as baby animal farms to bring animals to playgroup. This is important from as a risk management and insurance issue.
Even well-known animals and young children can be unpredictable. Close adult supervision reduces health and safety risks to both the children and the animals.
After playing with animals is a good opportunity for children to learn about hand washing and why it is important.
Activities listed under ‘playgroup” are suitable for groups of children of various ages. They provide opportunities for early learning and social play.