The temperature rose to a whopping 35-37° this week! As Alaskan kids will do when the Winter cold starts to loosen its tight grip, storytime regulars showed up in sun hats, t-shirts, and even capri pants. Everyone was in the mood to be hot so it was time to explore the jungle!
Thanks to the internet and lots of creative librarians out there in cyberspace, I came up with a fun program that I did at the library and on the road. The program, especially the book choice, was most appreciated by the preschool crowd, but the songs and activities equally appealed to most of the younger ones.
Alaska is a long way from any jungle, aka tropical rainforest, although we do have areas of temperate rainforest in the South East part of the state. To get ourselves in the mood for the fun stories ahead we took a trip with the globe and figured out where we might find a jungle, how we could get there, and then what we might find there. We found Alaska, the Equator, and several continents including Africa and South America.
Jungle Animals, part of the series Picturepedia, gives a great overview of the variety of animals that inhabit the canopy, understory, and rivers of the hot and wet tropical rainforest. We spent some time trying to imagine what it might look and feel like in the jungle. For many families, non-fiction books do not seem very approachable for preschoolers, but using books like the Jungle Animals in storytime is great for modeling how to read non-fiction with young children.
Since we were very excited by all of the amazing creatures, we then sang this fun song. As we sang, I placed an animal card on the felt board. I pointed to the text printed at the bottom of the card as we sang the name to support print awareness. The lions roared loudly, the monkeys were silly, and frogs were hopping all over the room!
Song: ”I Went to the Jungle One Day” (London Bridge)
I went to the jungle one day,
jungle one day, jungle one day.
I saw a lion on the way
And this is what he said, “ROAR!”
(Other animals: snake, monkey, elephant, frog, etc.)
Credit: Perry Public Library
We talked about what each animal might eat and where they might live in the dynamic jungle environment. (I found the animal images online, made the cards, and then laminated them to endure the attention of the storytime kids who like to get to know the items I use on the felt board. I made several copies of each so I could use the same animals with the jungle box- see below.)
teasing Mr. Alligator can’t catch me….can’t catch me
along came Mr. Alligator quiet as can be
and snapped that monkey out that tree
Right before craft time, I introduced the group to the jungle box I found on Abby the Librarian’s site. We practiced the “J” sound while I passed out animal cards to each child. I sang Abby’s song using the names of animals found on the cards and the child(ren) with the appropriate animal card came up and put the card in the box.
If you have a lion, a lion, a lion,
If you have a lion, put him in the jungle!
We made this simple lion I found on Pinterest using:
1 sheet of brown paper for the mane
1/2 sheet of yellow paper for the face which caregivers and kids cut into various shapes
black paper (pre-cut into circles for the bottom layer of the eyes)
additional colored paper scraps big enough for the top layer of the eyes
black strips (about 4 in. long)
Light brown paper scraps to cut ear shapes
Red paper strips for the tongue (curled around a pencil to give it shape)
Brown paper scraps to make the moth/nose
Glue and scrissors are necessary
black marker or crayon is nice to have for the whisker marks
Families got creative and few lions matched my rough sample!