Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

I Went to the Animal Fair …

on May 16, 2014
Pyramid of Animals

Pyramid of Animals

We wrapped up the week with a Friday Fun Day. After an early morning nature walk, we came home and put on our very own animal fair.

We kicked off the morning’s fun by reading Animal Fair, a cutely-illustrated, slightly-extended, and sanitized version of the traditional folk song. (Monkeys falling out of bunks and consorting with skunks seemed a bit more age-appropriate than an intoxicated primate!) Next up was The Animal Fair, a Hoopla Kidz music video which the girls insisted on watching, singing along with, dancing to, and accompanying with their rhythm instruments several times over.

While the girls sang and danced, I dug out a forgotten bin of  animal finger puppets and Beanie Babies and our Twig Building Blocks. The girls brainstormed feats for their willing animal performers, then entertained Buddy Bear and myself with their performance.

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Chameleon skillfully navigates the balance beam.

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Crab balances perfectly atop Bitty Bear’s head.

Once the girls tired of their creative play, we all piled into the recliner for a couple of chapters of Uncle Wiggily’s Adventures, From Head to Toe, and Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing. Little Bear also squeezed in some grammar practice as she identified nouns and action verbs in From Head to Toe.

Then, the girls were ready to move some more. Drawing inspiration from Bitty Bear’s crab-balancing act, we had a contest to see who could walk the farthest with first the crab, then a hedgehog balanced on her head. Of course, victory celebration called for more dancing, so we cranked up Eric Herman favorite Dance Like an Animal for more rowdy fun.

With noon approaching, Little Bear and I sat down for a bit of formal work. She completed two pages of subtraction strategies review in her Intensive Practice workbook (not the most exciting aspect of Singagpore math …), and I “rewarded” her with a series of animal fair-themed word problems such as …

  • Tiger ate four boxes of popcorn. Elephant ate twice as many boxes of popcorn as tiger. How many boxes did they eat altogether?
  • Sixteen animals stood in line to ride the merry-go-round. Bear was 5th in line. Hyena was 7th from the end of the line. How many animals stood between Bear and Hyena?
  • Puppy had 30 game tokens. Then, he gave some to Duck. Now, puppy has 18 tokens. How many did he give to Duck?

Some kids complain about word problems, but my child begs for them. They’re the “reward” that gets her through the more mundane parts of each lesson. Her passion for stories run deep.

We wrapped up the day’s fun with a game of Spot It Junior Animals, followed by a game of Baby Animals Mix and Match— painless visual discrimination and memory practice coupled with competitive fun.

It wasn’t our most traditional day of school or our most academic, but it was a fun and welcome break from routine … just what Little Bear needed to distract her from her anxiety and excitement over this weekend’s main event, her first dance recital:

Ready to dance!

Ready to dance!


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