Playful Literacy: Creating a Zoo

The zookeepers are hard at work.
They washed all of their animals.

They gathered food for their animals.

They created homes for their animals.

Then they gave their animals water.

After creating our zoo, we played with our early literacy skills.

We created signs for all of our animal cages.

  • Before writing the word, we clapped the parts (syllables) of the word. *This builds up phonological awareness- listening to parts of words. It also helps your child to notice that some words are long, some words are short.
  • Then we wrote the word. Logan enjoyed scribbling a “word” on each card. 
  • After he scribbled his word, he wanted me to “write” it. One of my favorite prompts for this is, “Let me show you how this word would look in a book (on a sign, etc.)” This validates the child’s attempt to write yet shows them the correct way to do it.
  • We talked about beginning letter sounds. When we got to lion, he yelled, “Like Logan?” He was SO excited that Lion started the same as Logan!
  • After writing each card, Logan added tape to them and labeled the animal cages. *This strengthens the idea that text carries a message.
  • Of course, you might not follow this exact sequence of activities. Try to think of literacy tasks your child can do easily or do easily with help. Maybe your child is ready to try writing the word or a part of the word. 

    The zookeepers were pleased with a hard days work.

    Curious George Feeds the Animals (Curious George)A great book to go with this activity is Curious George Feeds the Animals. In this story, Curious George learns that feeding the animals at the zoo is a job only for the zookeeper. The wrong foods might make the animals sick! There is even good practice reading signs in this book like, “Don’t Feed the Animals”. Logan loves to tell me, “Only the zookeepers can feed the animals.” He also loves to remind me that he is a zookeeper.

    Here’s where I’ll be sharing this week:
    It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow

    play academy


    1. says

      What fun! I love how you created signs- I would have never thought of most of your ideas (clapping syllables, “writing”, etc.). I really appreciate you sharing your expertise!

    2. says

      I love that you say ‘let me show you how this would look in a book’. So important not to say their first attempts are ‘wrong’. Thanks for sharing with the Play Academy.