Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Activities with Animal Props in World Language Classes

ANIMAL PROPS, like food props, are a fun, hands on way to bring imaginative play, content based learning, and more to world language classes. Not only that, but printable props allow us, as teachers, to inexpensively make multiples of beloved animals and those that are not so familiar to kids! Here are some ideas to use my printable animal props in class:

Click here to grab our Animals of the Caribbean!

*SORTING/CATEGORIZING: One of the easiest ways to use animal props, and gives you multiple lessons!, is to have kids sort them-they can be sorted by color, size, how they move, where they live (either place or habitat), what they eat, whether they are a mammal, bird, fish, etc-you get the idea! What I love about this is this provides opportunities for kids to work on the category words, which often are more high frequency (though not always!) than the names of the animals. So, for example, sorting by color or size focuses on those category words-you don’t need to know how to say animal names to place the animals beneath category cards with color words on them. This can also be a great activity for heritage learners, especially with categories that tap into science based information, such as herbivore/carnivore/ omnivore, or mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, etc. 

And don’t forget you can get out a big map of the world and place them where they live right on the continent or region!

Click here to grab our Galápagos Islands Set!

*LIST THEIR ATTRIBUTES: novice learners are working at the one-word/ short phrase stage, so listing is right at their proficiency level. Choose an animal yourself, or have kids choose one, and then list words that relate to the animal-this could be colors, size words, etc. This makes a great centers activity, too!

*SHAPE POEMS: I love these poems for all age groups! Students choose an animal, draw the outline (and color if they want to) and write words/ phrases/ sentences around the outside of the drawing, in the shape of the animal. For heritage learners and kids with greater proficiency, they could do some short research on the animal they choose to be able to add more information to their shape poem, such as where it lives, what it eats, etc.

*MAKE AN ‘I SPY’ ACTIVITY: Again, working with those category and action words, put a bunch of animals up on the board and play ‘I spy’-to avoid having to teach the names of unfamiliar animals, give your kids a pointer to show what animal they think is the one being ‘spied’-this is a great listening activity with an element of surprise and mystery!

*PLAY TINGO TINGO TANGO: My rainforest props are PERFECT for playing the authentic Colombian game Tingo Tingo Tango! Click here to watch a video with instructions.

Click here to grab our Rainforest Props!

*BULLETIN BOARD DISPLAYS: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, of course, these props are also fantastic for bulletin board displays, whether to showcase a particular habitat or region, add connections to culture, or just for fun!

Grab all our sets!