One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to visit our local zoo. We are so lucky to live near the Toledo Zoo as it has won many awards and is truly amazing. I have always wanted to do a Zoo Day or week in first grade, and now I can finally make it happen with my End of the Year Zoo Theme Day. This day is filled with learning, review, and memorable activities.
On this day, the children bring in a stuffed animal or two. When the children arrive, they will become zookeepers for the day. I made simple name tags they can wear and a letter that goes home to explain it all. We will sort the animals into different animal groups around the room. Then, the children will get to care for one of the groups. I made 6 different headbands that they can wear for their animal group. There are also fun extensions for zookeeper of the day. Instead of stuffed animals, you could buy these mini zoo animals and they could keep them as a souvenir of Zoo Day.
I wanted to do something a little different for Zoo Day, so I made a deck of Zoo Cards. These cards can be used to play 10 different activities or games. From your standard card games such as Old Maid and Go Fish to practicing comparing numbers, alphabetizing, double-digit addition, ordering numbers, and sorting animal groups. I created them in color and black and white so you could print them whichever way you like. I thought it would be fun to give each child a set of cards to take home and practice over the summer too.
There are loads of writing extension for this day as well. You could have your students pick a zoo animal and do some research on the animal with the report template that is provided. Or you could create a class book for your library about zoo animals. My favorite activity is writing about a mystery zoo animal. After the children write clues about the animal and draw the animal, they could share with the class and see who can guess their animal. I also included a zoo word wall you could display to help support your students during writing.
There are so many zoo books out there to share on this day too. I have loads of them, but I learned quickly that many are out of print. You can click here on my Amazon Affiliate link to grab some of my favorites that are still in print. (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.) Instead of making specific activities for books, I decided it was best to just create templates so you could use the books you already have.
I always like to end my theme days with centers. I explain each center in detail and then we get started right away. I have included tons of phonics, grammar, and math activities. There are lots of math games to work on graphing, addition, and subtraction. There is a grammar scoot to work on turning singular words into plural words along with syllables, punctuation, alphabetizing and more. I also included a fun bingo game that would be perfect for centers.
Zoo day wouldn’t be complete with a little snack and a cute craft activity. We will eat some animal crackers for snack on this day and create a zookeeper craft. To personalize the zookeeper, the children could add a tiny animal in the zookeeper’s hand.
I can’t wait to celebrate Zoo Day with my students. I know they will enjoy it.
You can shop Zoo Day right here on my blog!
You can check out all the End of the Year Theme Days here.