Preschool Programs Chapter

By Heather Coleson

Deserts

Books to Share

Bedtime in the Southwest by Mona Hodgson.

Count on Culebra by Ann Whitford Paul.

Dig Wait Listen: A Desert Toad’s Tale by April Pulley Sayre.

Way Out in the Desert by T.J. Ward.

Who Grows up in the Desert? by Theresa Longenecker.

Books to Show or Booktalk

Coyotes All Around by Stuart Murphy.

Danny Diamondback by Berry Jackson.

Deserts by Gail Gibbons.

Jackalope by Janet Stevens.

Bulletin Board

Warm Up With a Book!

Cut out yellow or sand colored butcher paper in the shape of sand dunes. Paint a mixture of glue and water on the dunes. Sprinkle sand on the glue. Dry and then tape the dunes to the bulletin board to resemble desert sand dunes. Add a cut out of a green saguaro cactus and a coyote, camel, or other desert animal. Add a large sun made out of yellow construction paper in one of the corners.

Nametag

Cactus

Use the pattern from Jean Warren’s Preschool Express at www.preschoolexpress.com/pattern_station02/cactus_patterns_jul02.pdf to make cactus nametags.

Displays

Use a mixture of water and glue to paint large sheets of sand colored paper. Sprinkle sand onto the glue. Allow it to dry, and then lay the sandy sheets on the bottom of the display. Add books about deserts and desert animals. Arrange bottles of sand art, dried wood, and other desert items among the books.

Incentives

Plastic segmented “Wiggle Snakes” are available from Oriental Trading Company, www.orientaltrading.com.

Refreshments

Serve graham crackers, with sand-like texture, and lemonade, to remind us of the hot yellow sun.

Introductory Flannel Board Activity

In advance, make a Texas Traveler out of flannel using the template from Making Friends at www.makingfriends.com/friends/f_pick_freinds_outliness.htm. Also in advance, use the patterns Making Friends, http://www.makingfriends.com/ friends/b_white.htm, to make desert clothing. Place the “Texas Traveler” on the flannel board. Talk to the children about deserts. Explain to the children what a desert is and show them pictures of what a desert looks like. Show some deserts on a globe or map. Lay out the desert clothes for your “Texas Traveler.” Talk to the children about how even though the desert is hot, and about how people typically wear lots of clothes when they are in the desert because it protects them from the sun. Have the children come up and dress your traveler for a trek in the desert.

doll with tan arab headpiece and outfit, belt is darker brown

Songs

In the Desert

(Adapted by Heather Coleson. Sing to “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”)

If you’re a coyote in the desert howl real loud! (howl loudly)

If you’re a coyote in the desert howl real loud! (howl loudly)

If you’re a coyote in the desert, and you like to howl with your family,

If you’re a coyote in the desert howl real loud! (howl loudly)

If you’re a rattlesnake in the desert rattle your tail! (make the ch-ch-ch sound while shaking your bottom)

If you’re a rattlesnake in the desert rattle your tail! (make the ch-ch-ch sound while shaking your bottom)

If you’re a rattlesnake in the desert, and you don’t want to be bothered,

If you’re a rattlesnake in the desert rattle your tail! (make the ch-ch-ch sound while shaking your bottom)

If you’re a cactus in the desert strike a pose! (stand straight and still, holding your arms in various positions)

If you’re a cactus in the desert strike a pose! (stand straight and still, holding your arms in various positions)

If you’re a cactus in the desert, and you like the hot weather,

If you’re a cactus in the desert strike a pose! (stand straight and still, holding your arms in various positions)

If you’re a lizard in the desert stick out your tongue! (stick out your tongue)

If you’re a lizard in the desert stick out your tongue! (stick out your tongue)

If you’re a lizard in the desert and you like the hot weather,

If you’re a lizard in the desert stick out your tongue! (stick out your tongue)

If you’re hot in the desert shout for water! (shout “water”)

If you’re hot in the desert shout for water! (shout “water”)

If you’re hot in the desert and you need some cooler weather,

If you’re hot in the desert shout for water! (shout “water”)

Alice the Camel

(Traditional. Have the children form a circle with their arms over their neighbor’s shoulders. When the word “humps” is spoken everyone bends their knees and dips down. When the words “Boom, boom, boom, boom!” are spoken everyone swings their hips from side to side. View a short video of children performing this song at Love to Sing, http://www.childrenlovetosing.com/Free+Music/ Alice+the+Camel.html.)

Alice the camel has five humps. (bends knees and dips down)

Alice the camel has five humps. (bends knees and dips down)

Alice the camel has five humps. (bends knees and dips down)

So ride, Alice, ride.

Boom, boom, boom, boom! (swing hips from side to side)

(Repeat counting down with four, three, two, and one hump.)

Last verse:

Alice the camel has no humps. (bends knees and dips down)

Alice the camel has no humps. (bends knees and dips down)

Alice the camel has no humps. (bends knees and dips down)

'Cause Alice is a horse, of course.

Rhymes and Poetry

Recite “Five Little Coyotes” on pages 110-111 from Ready-To-Go Storytimes by Gail Benton. Patterns to create flannel board pieces to use with this rhyme are on pages 124-125.

Recite “Five Gila Monsters” using the words available from Preschool Express at www.preschoolexpress.com/music_station05/music_station_aug05.shtml.

Audio Recordings

“Sally the Camel” on Barney’s Favorites by Barney.

“Way Out” on Way Out by Justin Roberts.

Puppet Plays

El coyote que se olvido

Use the script provided in the 2005 Texas Reading Club manual, http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2005/manual/wildinthedesert.html, to present this puppet play about a forgetful coyote and his friends.

Stories to Tell

Tell “The Rattlesnake, the Mouse and the Coyote” on pages 213-214 in The Flannel Board Storytelling Book by Judy Sierra. Patterns to make this a flannel board story can be found on pages 214-216.

Crafts

Cactus Friend

Materials
  • Green construction paper (12” x 18”)
  • Pink construction paper
  • Giant wiggle eyes
  • Glue sticks
  • Black markers
  • Black circle stickers (optional)
Directions

In advance, enlarge the pattern from Preschool Express at www.preschoolexpress.com/pattern_station02/cactus_patterns_jul02.pdf on a photocopier. Also in advance, trace the cactus onto the green construction paper. Using the pattern provided in this program, in advance trace and cut out several pink flowers for every child. Distribute the green construction paper and have the children cut out their cactus. Glue giant wiggle eyes on the cactus and draw a mouth with the marker. Glue the pink flowers onto the cactus. Use the black marker to make small black marks all over the cactus to resemble prickly spines.

Alternately, apply small black self-adhesive circles to create the prickly spines. Black dots can be purchased from Latitudes, http://www.latitudesmapstore.net, or Demco, www.Demco.com.

Find the cactus friend flower pattern at the end of this program.

cactus friend flower friend, the cactus has three trunks, on middle trunk it has face, and it is decorated with pink flowers

Paper Plate Gerbil

Instructions for making a paper plate gerbil and other desert animal crafts can be found in Crafts for Kids Who are Wild About Deserts by Kathy Ross.

Springy Spiral Snake

Instructions and patterns for a simple springy spiral snake cut from paper can be found at DLTK, www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mspiralsnake.htm.

Games and Activities

Desert Match Game

Prepare the “Desert Matching Activity” found on pages 113 and 144-145 in Ready-To-Go Storytimes by Gail Benton. Desert Matching consists of four cards with four different desert animals on them. The cards are cut in half and put in a laminated pouch. The children remove the cards and match up the animal pieces. If possible, make enough sets for each child. As a group, with you in the lead, match one card at a time. Wait for all of the children to catch up. Talk about the animal they just put together and then go on to the next card. Let the children take their card set home.

Discovery Sands

Fill a plastic tub with sand. Hide plastic animal figures in the sand and let each child take a turn discovering an object in the sand.

Guest Speakers

Invite a local horticulturist to bring a wide variety of succulents to show the children.

If funds permit, invite the Texas Camel Corps, www.texascamelcorps.com, to present an educational and cultural program on how camels were used settling the West. This Waco-based organization also presents programs on how camels are used in various desert cultures around the world.

Web Sites

Enchanted Learning: Deserts

www.zoomschool.com/coloring/desert.shtml

Learn about desert life on this site. Printable coloring sheets on desert plants and animals are also available.

Professional Resources

Go Wild…Read!

http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2005/manual/wildinthedesert.html

This 2005 Texas Reading Club manual includes a variety of bilingual activities related to the desert.

Program Materials

Deserts – Cactus Friend Flower Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (13 KB)

Cactus Flower



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