Toddler Programs Chapter

On the Loose in the Zoo

Books to Share

  • New at the Zoo by Frank B. Edwards.
  • Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Smile If You’re Human by Neal Layton.
  • Watch Us Play! by Miela Ford.

Books to Show and Booktalk

  • Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch.
  • Inside a Zoo in the City: A Rebus Read-Along Story by Alyssa Satin Capucilli.
  • 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle.
  • Zoo Animals (Baby Genius, Level 2).
  • Zoo Parade by Harriet Ziefert.


Polar Bear

(Adapted by Shelly Lane)

Polar bear, polar bear,

Turn around, (Turn around)

Polar bear, polar bear,

Touch the ground (Touch the ground)

Polar bear, polar bear,

Dance on your toes, (Dance on tip toes)

Polar bear, polar bear,

Touch your nose (Touch your nose)

Polar bear, polar bear,

Give a little clap, (Clap)

Polar bear, polar bear,

Take a nap (Lay head on hands)

(Repeat and substitute different animals for each verse.)

Five Birds

(Adapted by Shelly Lane. Copy the bird pattern to make this into a flannel board rhyme.)

This little bird has small, round eyes. (Wiggle one finger and point at your eyes)

This little bird is of very small size. (Wiggle little finger)

This little bird can sing a song. (Wiggle one finger and say chirp chirp)

This little bird likes worms, she said. (Wiggle one finger)

This little bird flies all around, (Wiggle one finger and let it fly around)

And her wings make hardly a single sound!


Sing “Take Me Out to the Zoo” to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The words are available in Animal Piggyback Songs by Jean Warren.

Action Chants

Do Like the Animals

Hop, hop, hop, hop, hop like a bunny.

Run, run, run like a dog.

Walk, walk, walk like an elephant.

Jump, jump, jump like a kangaroo.

Fly, fly, fly, fly like a bird.

Going to the Zoo

Come along children, we’re going to the zoo

Come along children, we’re going to the zoo

Come along children, we’re going to the zoo

Going to the zoo today!

Audio Recordings

“Going to the Zoo” on The Singable Songs Collection by Raffi.

Flannel Boards

Animal Counting

(Adapted by Shelly Lane. Make this rhyme into a flannel board, or present it as a finger play, performing the indicated actions. Animal patterns of a lion, penguin, elephant, panda, and snake are provided to make the flannel board.)

One lion, one lion, who’s with you? (Wiggle pointer finger)

Two silly penguins in the zoo. (Wiggle two fingers)

Penguins, penguins, who’s with you? (Hold hands up, palms out, to express a question)

Three enormous elephants in the zoo. (Wiggle three fingers)

Elephants, elephants, who’s with you? (Hold hands up, palms out, to express a question)

Four pandas in the zoo. (Wiggle four fingers)

Pandas, pandas, who’s with you? (Hold hands up, palms out, to express a question)

Five slithering snakes in the zoo. (Wiggle five fingers)

Snakes, snakes, who’s with you? (Hold hands up, palms out, to express a question)

Visiting children -- just like you! (Wiggle fingers on both hands)

I’m a…

(Cut out pictures of zoo animals and glue them to craft sticks to hold up as you mention each animal. Use clip art or pictures from magazines. Alternately, prepare the pictures for a flannel board by gluing a small piece of flannel or sand paper to the back of the picture. Be sure to allow time for the children to make the sounds! Hold up an animal and let the children make the sound of the animal.)

I’m a monkey. Hear me…

I’m an elephant. Hear me…

I’m a lion. Hear me…


Animal Rubbings

  • Patterns of zoo animals (Page 1, 2, 3)
  • Poster board
  • White drawing paper
  • Unwrapped crayons

Using the patterns provided, pre-cut the shapes of elephants, penguins, birds, giraffes, and other zoo animals from lightweight poster board. Remove the paper from the crayons so that the children can use the side of the crayon for the rubbing. Demonstrate how to create an animal rubbing by placing a piece of white drawing paper over the pattern and gently rubbing over it with the side of an unwrapped crayon. Give one sheet of white drawing paper to each child and let them create a menagerie of animals using various colors of crayons.

Colorful Butterflies

  • Butterfly pattern
  • Poster board
  • Crayons
  • Scraps of tissue paper, construction paper, or wallpaper samples (optional)
  • Craft sticks
  • Glue sticks

In advance, cut out butterflies for each child from poster board using the pattern provided. Tear the tissue paper, construction paper, or wallpaper samples into small pieces. Let the children color their butterflies with crayons or glue tiny scraps of bright colored paper to the butterfly. Attach the butterfly to a craft stick and let them “fly” their butterflies around the room.

Guest Speakers

Invite someone from a local animal park, zoo, or pet shop to bring animals for the children to see. If possible, ask them to bring an appropriate animal for the children to touch. Ask the guest to provide simple facts about the animals.


Display these videos for home use or show short segments if you have public performance rights.

  • Baby Genius: A Trip to the San Diego Zoo. (39 minutes)
  • Baby Songs: Animals. (32 minutes) Show the segments for Hap Palmer’s songs, “What’s Bigger than a Bear” or “The Elephant.”
  • Barney: Let’s Go To The Zoo. (50 minutes) Show the segment with the song “What Will We See at the Zoo?”

Professional Resources

Animal Piggyback Songs by Jean Warren.


Texas Reading Club 2005 Programming Manual / Go Wild...Read!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011