Preschool Programs Chapter

By Heather Coleson

Wilds of Africa

Books to Share

Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock by Eric Kimmel.

Catch that Goat! by Polly Alakija.

Head, Body, Legs by Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret H. Lippert.

We’re Going on a Lion Hunt by David Axtell.

Books to Show or Booktalk

I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakite.

One Child, One Seed: A South African Counting Book by Kathryn Cave.

The Talking Vegetables by Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret H. Lippert.

Zomo the Rabbit by Gerald McDermott.

Bulletin Board

Travel to Africa

Decorate the bulletin board with African style masks. Printable templates are available from Paper and Scissor Crafts for Children at



Use the pattern in the program to make lion nametags for each child.

Find the lion nametag pattern at the end of this program.


Ask a local museum to display African artifacts or ask your local zoo if you can borrow some African animal items from its gift shop to display. Pier 1 Imports or other local stores may also have items that can be borrowed or a patron may have a collection of times to display.


Small “Animal Chalkboards” can be purchased from US Toy at


Serve animal crackers or create “zebra cookies” by purchasing a mixture of black and white cookies, such as Oreos and vanilla cookies. Serve with milk or “jungle juice” (fruit punch).

Introductory Flannel Board Activity

In advance, make a Texas Traveler out of flannel using the template from Making Friends at Also make an assortment of African style clothing for the traveler. Patterns for African style clothes can be found at Making Friends in color http://www.making or black and whiteat http://www.making

Place the Texas Traveler on the flannel board. Talk to the children about Africa. Show pictures of people from Africa and animals that are native to Africa. Show where Africa is on a globe or map. Lay out the clothes for your “Texas Traveler.” Let the children come up and dress your traveler for Africa.

doll with red and black checkered hat


Itsy Bitsy Monkey

Sing the “Itsy Bitsy Monkey” to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Lyrics are available from Preschool Education at Make up additional songs for other animals, if desired.

I Know a Giraffe

Sing “I Know a Giraffe” to the tune of “On top of Old Smokey.” Lyrics are available from Preschool Education at

Rhymes and Poetry

An Elephant Goes


An elephant

Goes like this and that (walk in place kicking legs out)

He's terrible wide (hold arms out at side)

And terrible fat (blow out cheeks and hold arms at side)

He has two fingers (wiggle index fingers)

He has two toes (wiggle feet)

But, goodness gracious, what a nose! (pretend to pull on a trunk in front of your nose)

Have You Seen?

(By Heather Coleson. Sing to the tune of “The Muffin Man”)

Have you seen a lion, a lion, a lion?

Have you seen a lion? He lives in Africa. (roar like a lion every time you say the word lion)

(Repeat substituting other African animals)

Giraffe (stretch your neck),

Elephant (make an elephants nose with arm)

Crocodile (open and shut arms)

Monkey (make monkey noises and motions)

Down in the Jungle

Chant “Down in the Jungle” adding animals and actions for each repetition. If possible, have someone keep the beat on a drum. Words for the chant are available found at Theme Parties ‘N More, http://www.themeparties

Audio Recordings

“Wimoweh” on Whaddaya Think of That? by Laurie Berkner.

“Anansi” on Raffi the Singable Songs Collection? by Raffi.

Puppet Plays

Perform the puppet show, “The Lion and the Mouse” found on pages 31-33 in One Person Puppet Plays by Denise Wright (Available through NetLibrary, a TexShare database.)


We’re Going on a Lion Hunt

Tell the story “We’re Going on a Lion Hunt” found on pages 65-67 in Once Upon a Time: Using Storytelling, Creative Drama, and Reader’s Theater with Children in Grades Pre-K -6 by Judy Freeman or use another retelling of this story. An online video of a live action performance, with captioning to follow along, is available at Love to Sing, a+Lion+Hunt.html.


Kente Cloth

  • Black construction paper (9” x 12” sheets)
  • Construction paper in various colors (9” x 12” sheets)
  • Stick glue
  • Precut paper geometric shapes (optional)
  • Markers (optional)

In advance, fold a sheet of black construction paper lengthwise in half. Beginning at the fold, cut the paper following the pattern provided in this program. Be careful not to cut all the way to the end. Also in advance, cut the colored construction paper into 1” x 9” strip. Distribute the black construction paper and the colored strips. Weave the colored strips through the black paper. Glue down the ends of each strip. Decorate the mats with markers or, alternately, glue geometric shapes cut from construction paper on to the colored strips.

Find the Kente cloth pattern at the end of this program.

Kente Clothe Pattern - red, green, and yellow decorated squares

African Drum

Make an “African Drum” out of coffee cans. Directions are available from Making Friends at

African Elephant

Make an African elephant out of paper plates and brads. Instructions and patterns are on pages 11-13 of At the Zoo: Explore the Animal World with Craft Fun by Judy Press.

Games and Activities

African Animal Signs

Teach the children signs for some African animals. Instructions and diagrams are available from Lesson Tutor at After the children have practiced the sign several times, perform the sign and let the children guess which animal you are signing.

Guess the Animals

Play “Guess the Animals” using animal cookies. Instructions for this activity can be found at Preschool Rainbow at

Rhythm Game

Play the rhythm game. Bang out a rhythm on a drum or other musical instrument. Have the children copy your rhythm by clapping their hands or playing their own musical instruments.

Guest Speakers

Invite a local yoga instructor to come out and teach the children some of the many yoga moves patterned after animals.


Is Your Mama a Llama and More Stories About Growing Up. (52 minutes)

Tikki Tikki Tembo and More Favorite Tales. (52 minutes)

Web Sites

Time for Kids: Around the World

Time Magazine offers interesting facts, simple phrases, and other information about countries from around the world.

Program Materials

Wilds of Africa – Lion Nametag Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (22 KB)

Lion Nametag Pattern - 6 lions on sheet

Wilds of Africa – Kente Cloth Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (11 KB)

Kente Cloth Pattern - one pattern square with 8 evenly divided sections

Texas Reading Club 2010 Programming Manual / Catch the Reading Express!

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

Page last modified: June 14, 2011