Sometimes life throws you a curve ball or a season of, “What am I going to do with these kids today?” Sick kids? Summer or extended school break or long weekend? Are your kids bouncing off the walls but can’t go outside? Need an independent learning activity that is adaptable to virtually any age group? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this Days of the Week Animal Book is for you! (También disponible en español aquí.)
Through this fun activity, students are introduced to the following in a fun way:
- Animal Vocabulary
- Days of the Week
- Singular Versus Plural
As an added bonus, this activity is flexible enough to work with virtually any age or learning group to achieve some of the following learning goals:
- Identifying and categorizing into groups
- (Optional) Writing numbers or tallies
- (Western Tradition) Identifying and naming the five “working” or “school days” of the week
- (Optional) Writing singular versus plural animal names
- (Optional) Writing animal names
- (Older kids) Writing short, concise sentences
If you’re like us, the weather doesn’t always cooperate where you live. Some days it’s the kind of cold that makes you crave carbs and cocoa, and other days it’s so hot you regret coming outside. Enter live cams! Live cams are “creature cams” provided by zoos, aquariums, rescue organizations, and other groups all over the world, and they are so fun, especially for young students. This printable book is designed to pair with live cameras or to be taken to a zoo or other live animal exhibits for an interactive adventure.
Live “Creature Cams”*
This printable days of the week animal book pairs best with the San Diego Zoo’s Live Animal Cams. However, there are also blank pages where your learners can draw the creatures that most interest them. For example, one of my learners chose an alligator and a dog. And, you’ll also notice that your more artistically inclined students can’t help but add extra details (pictured).
As another fun idea, try some of the other live “creature cams” around the world to compare and contrast things like time zones and weather. For example, Edinburgh Zoo is five hours ahead of the San Diego Zoo, so when the animals haven’t woken up yet in San Diego or when you can’t find a nocturnal animal, you might be able to find them in Edinburgh.
Zoos and Animal Parks
- Most aligned cam: San Diego Zoo (here)
- Edinburgh Zoo (here)
- National Zoo (here)
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo (here)
Marine and Ocean Life
Other Live Cameras
- Africam (here)
- Cornell Bird Lab (here)
- Save the Manatees Club (here)
- Warrior Canine Connection (here)
*Disclaimer: Professor Pepper / this website is in no way affiliated with any of the aforementioned organizations, zoos, aquariums, or other groups. The links provided here are for convenience and lead to third-party websites. Although all appropriate diligence has been exercised in selecting safe, educationally appropriate links, Professor Pepper LLC is not responsible for the content or safety of third-party websites.
Adapting to Different Ages and Abilities
Check out the below pictures to see how to easily assemble this cute Days of the Week Animal Book, or skip ahead to read ideas for your group of learners.
Preschoolers and Kindergartners
Fine motor skills are the name of the game, so if your learners show interest, it’s fun to watch them assemble the books themselves. Kids are especially fond of stapling things, whether you have a small, kid-sized stapler or a large one. To practice fine-motor skills, students might also be interested in coloring the colorable version of the book.
For the singular versus plural sections and page, a natural transition to identifying letter sounds and, later, words, is singing one of the many letter sounds songs available on YouTube. When learners are ready, they can write or attempt to write the first letter of each animal’s name. For example, a preschooler might write, G in the box since she may not be ready to spell out the whole word giraffe.
An alternate activity is to ask students to practice writing the numerals “1” and “2” with a plus sign for “2” (i.e., “2+”). This will help them practice fine motor skills for straight and curved figures and also to develop a concept of groups, which will be reinforced when they see animal cameras with one animal versus groups of animals.
Since very young learners may be most comfortable writing or attempting to write familiar shapes or letters for each day, they can pick their favorites. Letters “X,” “S,” and “O” are popular, as are zeros and check marks.
Slightly older children may enjoy writing the number of animals they see or “yes” or “no” in the boxes. You can see an example of the work of a late kindergartener in the picture.
For young elementary students, you can try the above recommendations or asking more advanced students to write simple constructions, such as: “I see five owls” or “No koala today.”
Elementary and Beyond
The sky is the limit! Students can perform tasks such as those above or expand their learning by writing longer sentences. For example, on Monday, a first-grade student might write, “Today, I see two elephants.” Then, on Tuesday, the student might write, “Yesterday, I saw two elephants” on the back of the page.