Jungle Themed Home Learning – Activities based on Giraffe’s Can’t Dance

by thenibecamemum

Don’t forget to visit our main Home Learning page to find out all about our series and find other activity ideas. This Week’s book is Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. We explored a range of animal and jungle themed activities which I have tried to put under each of the 7 areas of the EYFS framework below:

Understanding the World

Throughout the week, we watched some YouTube Videos and Disney + documentaries about animals found in a jungle. This set the theme and piqued T’s curiosity. We also explored some webcam feeds where we could see the same animals in a zoo environment and compare those environments to their natural environments. Country Living has a list of animal webcams , which we used as our basis, but you can find many more throughout the internet.

One of the jungle themed activities we completed was labelling the parts of African animals which I found on Twinkl (Twinkl are allowing you to sign up for a free month using the code ‘UKTWINKLHELPS’!). We discussed the purpose of the features and T was able to make comparisons between his own features and the animals he was exploring. 

Expressive Arts & Design

Every week, I try to include some singing and movement that matches the theme. Here are some of the jungle themed songs we used:

Jungle song list

We saved our jungle song list to Spotify

We loved making our own little jungle and it was so easy to do.

Arts and crafts jungle scene with toddler drawn lion and elephant.All you need is a piece of blue and green card, white paper, scissors, glue and some coloured pencils/pens. Blue and green cardT practised his scissor skills by helping me cut the grass then we curled the edges with a pencil (adult help might be needed here).

We stuck the grass to the blue card, leaving a gap to insert our animals later. Then using the white paper, we sketched, coloured and cut out our animals and sun. Easy peasy!

Another activity we loved was making our binoculars for seeking out our wild animals!

Green binoculars made with toilet roll tubes
You will need: Two toilet roll tubes, tissue paper, glue, scissors,  string/ribbon and an assortment of decorative pieces.

Collection of arts and craftsGreen collaged toilet roll tubesCollage the two toilet roll tubes with tissue paper. Then, stick the tubes together with glue and add your decoration and string (or ribbon in our case as we didn’t have string to hand!). So simple!

Finally, even our baking was jungle themed. This week we baked some giraffe cupcakes…or giraffe pigs since T is convinced they’re pigs!

Giraffe cupcakesYou can find our tutorial for how to make giraffe cupcakes here.

Communication and Language

Throughout the week we revisited our focus book Giraffes Can’t Dance (this was on top of our daily stories – story time and bedtime – and not instead of). T enjoys joining in with parts of the story which develops his listening skills. To check his understanding we ask questions throughout such as predicting what might happen next or explaining ‘why’ something is happening. T was able to express his own feelings about how the other animals were treating Gerald the giraffe.

Some of our activities required T to follow a simple set of instructions such as drawing the animals and creating his binoculars (see above).

Small child drawing jungle animals

Physical

From a general point of view, we always work on basic hygiene and personal needs such as going to the toilet independently, hand washing (so important right now!), getting dressed independently and brushing our teeth.

However, we also worked on our co-ordination and control by taking part in Cosmic Yoga which can be found on YouTube. If you have never used it before, it’s fantastic! This week was jungle themed. Of course, all of T’s vehicles needed to take part too!

Small child joining in cosmic yogaWe also tried some Joe Wicks but admittedly, I think Mummy did more exercise than little one! He lost interest very quickly. Sorry Joe!

We also tried to dance like the animals, creating shapes and movement for each animal, but I wasn’t able to get any decent photos for this since a certain little boy decided to do the opposite every time I got the camera out!

Our scissor control (as above) would also fit into this area of the curriculum.

PS&ED

Again, there are general things that we work on daily such as encouraging him to try new things, teaching him to ask for help when he needs it, turn taking and following rules, just to name a few.

We looked at Gerald’s feelings when the other animals laughed at him and discussed how this is inappropriate behaviour. We considered the consequences of his actions and how we could have behaved better.

As well as this, we tried an ‘I can’ activity. I love a bit of Growth Mindset so this focussed on ‘I can’t…yet!’. We thought about three things we can do well and then thought about what we can’t quite do yet. For a Toby, his was being able to ride his bike without stabilises which he came up with all on his own.

Literacy

As T is only 3, I feel like we are only at the early stages of this area so at this point it’s a lot of letter and sound recognition, and writing our own name. We investigated our phonemes by trying to work out the starting sound of the animals’ names. We also practiced writing his name on the pictures he had drawn (definitely an ongoing process!). Other than this, we didn’t really focus on this area for this week.

We do, however, complete Reading Eggs every couple of days which is an online learning resource for phonics. This can be accessed on a tablet. It is a paid subscription which is around £6 a month. However, they usually offer free trials and discounts (not an ad!). It’s repetitive but T enjoys it.

Maths

We completed lots of counting of animals and also tried to write the numbers.

counting jungle animals

Counting jungle animals worksheet from Twinkl

As well as this, we also added our own spots to the giraffes by recognising the numbers first. I just sketched these myself to save printing!

Small child drawing spots on a giraffe
And that’s that! Our first week of home learning completed.

Don’t forget to check out our other home learning activities aimed at EYFS. Why not bookmark the page for later or pin us to Pinterest?

Words to parents/carers: Don’t beat yourself up if your activities don’t go to plan or your child just doesn’t want to take part. What you don’t see here is the constant stopping and starting, the losing concentration, the tantrums and the arts and crafts that didn’t make the cut because they weren’t in keeping with the theme (and that’s okay because we should be following our kid’s lead!). All in all, these activities took about a week to complete and were complete in 10-15 minute bursts.

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