Ever thought what you can do with animal figurines? You can use them to teach new words! Children love learning with such concrete, three-dimensional objects, and using these toy-like materials make learning a lot more fun and interactive!
For this post, I am teaching Rae zoo animals. To introduce your child to zoo animals, you can choose a few picture books that feature such animals. You can read up on my book picks in this previous post.
Matching Animal Figurines to the New Words
For this activity, I first read the sight words to Rae, and demonstrated how to match the animal figurines to the sight words. I started with 3 animals, and gradually progressed to 6, then 8 animals in the next consecutive days. To help her to recognise the words, I also sounded the beginning sound of the words, like /z/, Zebra (Since she knows her phonics sounds). This also helps her practice using her phonics skills to decode the words for reading.
Rae takes a keen interest in learning the new words, because the figurines help her visualise, and internalize the new vocabulary. Whenever I find ways to tap on her interest, she is able to learn new things quickly. In a matter of two days, she is able to recognise and does the matching herself. The process of learning is just as, if not even more important than the product.
Book-based Activity: Arranging the Zoo Animals In Sequence
This also evolved into a follow-up activity to the thematic picture books on zoo animals that I had previously read to her. I read “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear” again with Rae.
While re-reading the book, we arranged the animal figurines in sequence, first the lion polar bear, then the lion.. Rae had so much fun picking up the next animal and lining them up in the correct order. When it came to the last character in the story which was the zoo-keeper, Rae immediately sprang into action to get her Lego figurine from the Duplo box in excitement! Ah… now the story is complete! 🙂
There are many categories of figurines out at the stores; farm animals, vehicles, insects, birds, and so on. Try this play-based approach to teaching new words to your child!