This block about baby animals will stimulate learning about animal life cycles and growing up. Be inspired by stories and first-hand observations. Think about physical changes and discuss why they occur. Match baby animals to their adults and create dances about how animals learn by copying. There will be maths too; compare sizes and start to use the language of measuring.

Session 1 Baby animal puzzle

Objectives

Early learning goals

  • Listen attentively in a range of situations.
  • Listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what is heard with relevant comments, questions or actions.
  • Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
  • Make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. Select and use technology for particular purposes.

Teaching and Activities

Read Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and think about how animal babies are sometimes different from their parents. Make first hand observations of caterpillars growing and turning into butterflies. Re-unite and match baby animals to their grown-ups. Play an animal match memory game, order life cycles, go on a caterpillar hunt and create their own butterflies using ICT and symmetry painting.

Teaching Outcomes
To understand that not all baby animals look like the adult animals.

Children will:

  • Understand that not all baby animals look like the adult.
  • Match baby and adult animals and talk about what is the same and what is different about the two.
  • Talk about and explain their observations and thoughts based on their own experiences.

Provided Resources

  • Baby and adult animal pictures
  • Life cycle of a butterfly
  • Pictures of caterpillars
  • Butterfly outlines

You Will Need

  • Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson
  • Props for role-playing the story
  • Live caterpillars in a tank or net to observe
  • Laptops or computers
  • Magnifying glasses and clipboards
  • Tuff spot
  • Sawdust or sand

Session 2 Dance of the hungry caterpillar

Objectives

Early learning goals

  • Make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements.
  • Move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space.
  • Sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them.
  • Represent ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.

Teaching and Activities

Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar book and talk about the life cycle of a butterfly. Listen to music and begin to create movements that fit with the music. Use different levels of dance to create their own life cycles. Children potato print their own hungry caterpillars, order the story and make caterpillars from playdough.

Teaching Outcomes
Create a dance about the life cycle of a butterfly, moving rhythmically and in time with the music.

Children will:

  • Understand the life cycle of a butterfly.
  • Create movements to represent a caterpillar and a butterfly.
  • Use different spaces in their dance, e.g. high, medium and low.
  • Listen to the music and adjust their movement accordingly.

Provided Resources

  • Images from the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Potato printing images

You Will Need

  • Potato for printing
  • Post-it notes
  • Playdough
  • Leaves, either real or green paper
  • Hall space
  • Computer with speakers or CD player

Session 3 Baby animal: measure and compare!

Objectives

Early learning goals

  • Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
  • Make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Use everyday language to talk about size and weight to compare objects and to solve problems.
  • Recognise, create and describe patterns.
  • Explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.
  • Express self effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs.
  • Develop narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Teaching and Activities

Children talk about the size of different animals and compare which ones are taller or shorter. They make estimates of how tall they think a baby animal is and compare this to themselves and their friends. They begin to use standard measures as well as non-standard. They order animals according to their size, find hidden animals in the sand tray and measure objects using their foot as a measurement.

Teaching Outcomes
To order and compare different sizes of baby animals.

Children will:

  • Compare different animals and make estimates and predictions based on their knowledge.
  • Begin to use mathematical vocabulary to describe and compare different heights.
  • Use non-standard and standard units of measurement.

You Will Need

  • Roll of backing paper or wallpaper
  • Metre stick
  • Cubes
  • Small world animals
  • Sand tray.

Session 4 Animal names

Objectives

Early learning goals

  • Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
  • Make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Try new activities confidently, and say why some activities are liked more than others.
  • Speak confidently in a familiar group, and talk about ideas.
  • Choose the resources needed for chosen activities.

EAD ELG 16 EUM&M: Sing songs.

Teaching and Activities

Learn different names for baby animals, play a quick fire game to help remember some of these names. Collect counters when a correct name is matched to the baby animal. Make a baby animal book and match adult animals to their babies.

Teaching Outcomes
To learn different baby animal names.

Children will:

  • Know that baby animals have different names from the adult animal.
  • Remember some of the baby animal names.
  • Attempt new activities and explain their reasoning.

Provided Resources

  • Baby animals to display
  • Baby animals to cut out
  • Baby animals with their adults

You Will Need

  • Plastic splatter
  • Small world animals
  • Bubble bath and muddy animals in tuff spot
  • Toothbrushes

Session 5 Changes

Objectives

Early learning goals

  • Follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.
  • Answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about experiences and in response to stories or events.
  • Express self effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs.
  • Use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future.
  • Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
  • Talk about the features of the immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.
  • Make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe.

Teaching and Activities

Look at changes the children have gone through in their lives. Discuss the things that they can do now, that they couldn’t do when they were a baby. Observe changes in themselves and their friends. Look at how baby animals change as they get older and think about why they need to change. Explore the life cycle of a frog, order the stages of an animal’s life by looking at changes and use a writing frame to sound out noises that a baby animal might make.

Teaching Outcomes
To observe how animals and humans change as they get older and think about reasons for these changes.

Children will:

  • Learn that animals and human babies change as they get older.
  • Observe and discuss these changes and why they might need to happen.
  • Begin to understand the life cycle of some animals.

Provided Resources

  • Pictures of baby animals
  • Life cycle of a frog
  • Life cycle of other animals
  • Baby and adult animal pictures
  • Baby animal speech bubbles

You Will Need

  • Baby photos of the class
  • Baby photo of the teacher
  • Strips of paper
  • Caterpillars from first session
  • Small world animals

Session 6 I wanna be like you!

Objectives

Early learning goals

  • Show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements.
  • Move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space.
  • Play co-operatively, taking turns with others.
  • Take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity.
  • Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
  • Talk about the features of the immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.
  • Make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Represent ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance.

Teaching and Activities

Talk about how adults have helped us to learn new things. Discuss how we learn new skills and copy a simple rhythm. Use copying technique in dance to explore what baby animals need to learn from adults. Take it in turns to be the leader and then the follower in the dance. Make animals from playdough, copy patterns using the peg boards and use a writing frame to write about what a baby animal needs to learn.

Teaching Outcomes
To understand how baby animals and humans learn through watching, playing and copying.

Children will:

  • Learn that animals, including themselves, learn from the adults around them.
  • Create movements of different animals and copy these movements to form a dance.
  • Learn to listen to each other’s suggestions and take it in turns to take the lead.

You Will Need

  • Hall space
  • Music
  • Playdough
  • Peg-boards or multilink with pattern cards