Friday, May 30, 2014

Animals sorting activity

Xue loves animals. You should see how he will do his 'happy dance' whenever he sees the cats and dogs in the park or the animals in the zoo. He was a happy boy in Australia because we were checking out some zoo, farm or safari every other day! I think the trip probably spark his interest in animals.

And when we were back in SG, we got him this animal picture book which he love to bits. For a good one week or so, he would pick out this book everyday, flip through the pages and point at the animals in the book. As we read the book with him everyday, we realised he was making a lot of association with the pictures of animals and all the other toy animals around the house and their names. It was an exciting discovery for us that he could recognise animals at so many different levels and do links between pictures to pictures, pictures to objects (his toys), objects to pictures, objects to objects and even names and animal sounds to pictures and objects.

Xue is so happy whenever he can recognise any animals. And for that week, we did a lot of animal sorting activities at home and paid a visit to the zoo (yes, with his little animal book!).

The materials used here were
1) his safari animal figurines ($9.90 from 7-11, I know right, what a weird place to buy toys. Or you can try Kiddy Palace) and
2) picture cards (Ok, I must admit that I shamelessly scanned these pictures from a book that I borrowed from the library. I laminated the cards so that they can survive rough handling by Xue). Check out this post to see how this mummy made her own picture cards! There are some pretty good free downloads like this for farm animals and this for forest animals.

There are so many ways to use these materials depending on the objectives. To teach Xue link picture to object, I will place the picture cards on the floor, take an animal, example a lion, say to him "Xue, this is an lion" and put the lion on the card. Then I will say to him while pointing to another picture card "This is an elephant. Can you pick out the elephant and put it on the card?" And he will follow what I do, pick out the elephant and placed it on the card. This activity got his attention for around 10 minutes. I won't stop him if he decides that he just wanted to play with the cards or the figurines. I will encourage him by showing him what I want him to do again. Sometimes he will get back sorting the animals again and sometimes he will just walk off and I know he's done with the activity.

On another day, we will change the objective and do a picture to picture link. I will pick out a card and ask him to look for the animal in his book or art board. By consciously saying the names of the animals, he could point out the animals when we say the names or animal sounds too. Or I point at the picture and asked him to look for the animal in his toy box.

You can adapt the whole thing to what your kid likes now, like vehicles, dinosaurs or sports! Every kid is different. And you know your kid best! Go have fun!

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