Zoo Books

by beagoodmom on June 10, 2007

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The last few times we have visited the zoo, I made what the kids call their “zoo books.” The design varies, but the point is to have a little booklet full of simple worksheets that the kids can fill out as they visit the different animals. I make them on PrintShop and they are quite simple. Geetle’s favorite one had a dozen or so pages, each with a picture of an animal. Under the picture it said “I saw a __________. It was ___________.” When we found that animal, we would fill in the blanks. In the beginning, the kids were not able to come up with very original setences. But they improved. We got sentences like:

I saw a penguin. It was a penguin.
I saw a camel. It was big.
I saw a giraffe. It was way up.
I saw a bear. It was sleeping.
I saw an elephant. It was looking at me.

Our last zoo books were more advanced (word to picture matching, circling 2 striped animals, etc).

When we get back from the zoo, we print out the photos we took and glue them into the books with our ticket stubs and maps, adding a brief narrative. I meant these books to be more of a keepsake, but Pookie and Geetle often request them at storytime.

A note about Pookie: I started making these books, and other simple, narrative books showing photos of places we had visited, at the recommendation of Pookie’s teacher. She said that repetition and visual aids are important for him. She said that it helps him understand where he has been and where he is going. When she offered this advice, she meant for me to take a picture of Wal-Mart and when we were going to Wal-Mart, show him the picture. But, already he is beyond that point. Now, my books help him understand that we are there to enjoy the zoo and look at the animals, not run from fence to fence like crazy primates. I made a book for the county fair we visited in Fall 2006, Pookie reads that book often; he has parts of it memorized. When we go back to the fair this year, I hope it helps him remember and understand the things to do at the fair. Hopefully, this will keep him from being upset when we leave the carnival area or the petting zoo. I think it will. When we give him the right tools, he does great.

A note about Geetle: she loves zoo books and expects one every time we go. She is a great student and loves these type of educational games. She thinks very hard to come up with the answers on each page. The county fair book is especially fun for her too. That book has pictures of Grandma, Papa, Aunt Kel, Aunt Bean, Uncle JB, T-man and Baby Belaina with us at the fair. That is her favorite part.

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