May 18, 2014

Squirrel Preschool Theme for an Early Childhood Setting

Squirrels are tree animals that fall effectively into an autumn season curriculum, along with other preschool lesson plans. Including a theme day all around squirrels is fun and educational. Following are some facts and ideas for setting up a squirrel theme day for any early childhood environment.

Squirrel Theme at Group Circle

Begin, by asking children at group circle what they know about squirrels. Allow the young children in a preschool or daycare setting to be their own educators. Add more information to the group's collection of knowledge. Facts to teach children about squirrels are:

•there are over 200 species of squirrels
•squirrels can be found all around the world
•squirrels are mammals with bushy tails, sharp teeth, and flexible paws
•they are fast tree climbers
•squirrels are mostly vegetarian, eating nuts and seeds
•they hide nuts for later use, and find warm homes to burrow in during winter
•squirrels communicate with chirps

Some questions to expand on are:

•"How do squirrels open the nuts?"
•"Where do you think they store the nuts?"
•" Why do they store the nuts? "

Song and Poem for a Squirrel Theme

A fun action poem for the children to participate in begins with giving each child a nut. Collect a hazelnut, chestnut or even a store bought shelled peanut to give to each child at group circle. Start by acting like a squirrel and dig a hole in the "ground" to place the nut. Pretend to cover it up with dirt. Have the children act alongside your actions, then pop up and say:

I'm a busy little squirrel, searching all around
Searching for a nut that simply can't be found
Is it behind me? Is it in my backpack?
Is it in my pocket? Is it in the ground?
I'm a busy little squirrel, looking all around
Digging, digging, digging. Look what I found! (show the nut)

Another great song to sing is:

Grey Squirrel Grey Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
Grey Squirrel Grey Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
Wrinkle up your little nose
Put it down between your toes
Grey Squirrel Grey Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
(each time gets faster and faster!)

Squirrel Arts and Crafts

Cut out a squirrel shape for each child. Older children could draw their own squirrel or cut out the image to practise fine motor skill development. Choose from the following list of material for children to glue onto the squirrel's big bushy tail and/or body:

•brown wool
•construction paper (have children tear into pieces)
•tissue paper
•shredded wheat (allow children to shred themselves)
•coffee grinds
•dryer lint

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