Preschool Playdate: Australian Animals

Australian Animals
Play date: January 28, 2016

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: used our MAPS book by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski, plus some postcards I had picked up when I visited Australia in 1998.
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree


I could not find the kind of book I wanted for today, so I “wrote” one and presented it to the children on PowerPoint.  Inspired by the MAPS drawing of Australia, I tried to imagine what we would see if traveled around the edge of the country. In order to make the book more vocabulary rich, I also incorporated different words synonymous with walking and swimming.

Here it is on YouTube :


With two “K” animals in the Australian Animal Toob, I naturally gravitated towards the “K” sound for today.  We picked up items from around the house and put them on the tray.  The Sweet Peas had to find the other items that started with the “k” sound, and put them in our “K Sound Box”. I leave it flexible, so that whether they are spelled with a K or sound like a K, they can go in the sound box.  Some of the older Sweet Peas knew the difference between the “c” words and the “k” words, so they were encouraged to play however their Sweet Pea led.



For this we pulled out some older toys of Puma’s from her toddler years, plus some of the animals from The Australian Animal Toob.  The numbered cards are also from Puma’s preschool days. They were a great tie-in for the Great Barrier Reef!  All three levels of play allow for parents to also work on the concept of even and odd numbers

Level 1: Count the animals

Level 2: Match the amount of animals to the number on the card

Level 3: Place the cards is oder



Some animals, some sand…the Sweet Peas really enjoyed today’s center. I picked some red sand as well as some tan sand to use in the center.  I had showed the children pictures of the red rock in Central Australia, so this was a fun way to incorporate it into the morning.



ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
Inspired by the images on a scarf I bought in Australia, I thought that stipple art would be a good project for the Sweet Peas.  It’s actually framed and hanging in the hallway near our art area, so Puma walked the Sweet Peas over to it to show and inspire them before they worked on the art project.  We also used the four basic colors most often used in Aboriginal art: brown, yellow, white and red.


We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  This morning, the discovery table and the art project got the most mentions.

We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.

Come back next week as we peek into our “Very Hungry Caterpillar” play date that we are doing today!