An elephant's towering size and easily recognizable trunk bring many preschoolers to a state of wide-eyed wonder and awe. A trip to the zoo or the circus can leave a lasting impression on your young animal lover and create an opportunity to relive the fun through elephant games. His excitement over elephants provides fodder for natural conversation that develops language and active games that strengthen motor skills.
Dramatic play channels your little elephant lover's abundant energy and excitement into creative movement activities. Make up silly elephant songs or rhymes that involve lumbering or stomping like an elephant and swinging clasped hands like the trunk. Try an elephant workout for a little elephant-themed fitness, pretending that the elephants have come to your house to jump, bend, spin, do pushups or situps or any other exercises your preschooler would like to try. You can add music to your workout with Child Fun's elephant exercise song to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell." "The elephants are here! The elephants are here! Look at all the elephants! The elephants are here! They're exercising now. They're exercising now. Look at all the elephants! They're exercising now. They're jumping up and down! They're jumping up and down! Look at all the elephants! They're jumping up and down!" Repeat with any exercise until your little one loses interest or wears out.
A group elephant activity during a play date or party allows your tyke to share his enthusiasm for elephants with his friends while entertaining the whole crowd of little munchkins and teaching balance skills. Use a floor-level preschool balance beam if you have one, but the raised edge of a sidewalk or patio or wooden border at the park or around your landscaping or garden will work just as well. In a pinch, a tape or chalk line will suffice. Start with one child balancing on the beam or line while everyone chants, "One elephant went out to play on a tightrope string one day. He had such enormous fun, he called for another elephant to come." The child calls out another child's name who joins him on the beam and the chant starts again with "Two elephants..." The cycle repeats until all the children are balancing together. End the last round with, "The tightrope broke and they all fell down!" while the children collapse on the floor giggling and laughing.
Throwing and aiming practice lend themselves to allowing your junior zoophile to feed the elephant. Cut an elephant face with a wide open mouth out of poster board. Attach it to the top edge of a large box or bucket and set the elephant container on a low table or chair. Let your preschooler try to throw peanuts through the mouth opening to serve the elephant lunch. If peanut allergies are a concern in your home, let your child toss grapes, gummi bears, jelly beans or chunks of granola.
Spark your preschooler's curiosity by wondering out loud how elephants can feel things when they don't have fingers and toes. Enthusiastically propose, "Hey, let's see if we can guess what things are with an elephant trunk." Have a sealed box of familiar objects prepared with a hole cut in one side and ask your child to put both hands together while you place a sock over her hands to make a trunk. Your little elephant then sticks her "trunk" through the hole in the box and tries to feel and identify the hidden objects. Let your child fill the box with objects for you to guess or take turns trying to stump siblings or friends.
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