We had so much fun learning about animals that live in the desert today! My preschooler loves her newest game! This desert theme animal game for preschoolers is styled after Candyland and easy for all kids to enjoy! The engaging desert habitat and animal pictures are sure to spark questions, while the labelled game cards provide valuable vocabulary! This preschool desert activity is perfect for your desert theme and to jump start further lessons on animal habitats, periods of time, plants and animals, and maybe even a cactus-shaped treat!

– Life Over C's desert animal board game printable for preschool

Recommended Grade Level:

Desert Animal Board Game Supplies:

  • Printer/Ink
  • Laminating Supplies
  • Paper Cutter
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Game Pieces

Desert Animals Activities in Preschool

DESERT ANIMALS PRESCHOOL THEME

STUDYING THE DESERT IN PRESCHOOL CAN COVER A LOT OF GROUND! YOU CAN LEARN ABOUT EVERYTHING FROM GEOGRAPHY AND WILDLIFE TO DRINKING WATER.

Learning about animals is a great introduction to life science. When we narrow our focus to something like desert animals found in North America, we really open up a new world for kids.

This desert themed activity is a fun game that teaches some interesting desert animals.

Animal cards include: meerkat, jackrabbit, eagle, fennec fox, desert tortoise, and cactus.

Use the desert activity for preschool simply to learn some desert animal names, or use it as a jumping-off point for further learning about deserts in other parts of the world, like the Sahara desert in North Africa.

Other topics might include:

  • Learn where other world deserts are located (Gobi desert, Sonoran desert, Mojave desert, Arabian Peninsula)
  • Exotic desert animals: kangaroo rat, dromedary camel, antelope jackrabbit, sand cat
  • Desert animal habitats
  • Animal adaptations
– Life Over C's Match pictures of desert animals with this free printable desert animal game for preschooler. Kids will love playing with fennec foxes, eagles and meerkats!

What Can Preschoolers Learn While Playing a Desert Animal Board Game?

DESERT ANIMAL THEME FOR PRESCHOOL

GAMES ARE A GREAT AVENUE FOR TEACHING CONCEPTS AND SOCIAL SKILLS AT THE SAME TIME.

Learning about desert animals is certainly a goal of this game. However, just the act of playing games with preschoolers is an opportunity to sharpen their social skills:

  • Taking turns
  • Winning/losing gracefully
  • Sharing
  • Problem-solving
– Life Over C's Match pictures of desert animals with this free printable desert animal game for preschooler. Kids will love playing with fennec foxes, eagles and meerkats!

Why Is It Important For Kids To Play Board Games?

The desert animal board game goes beyond learning animals in the Southwestern United States. Young learners will benefit from playing board games on any topic or theme.

Background Knowledge

Themed board games grow background knowledge on a variety of subjects. In this case, kids will learn names of desert animals.

Language

Board games encourage talking, identifying items with specific vocabulary, and general conversation. It’s an authentic way to practice talking.

Coping Skills

It’s important to teach kids healthy things to do that can soothe anxiety, ease boredom, or just generally add a positive element to the day.

Follow Directions

While each game might have a different set of rules and procedures, game playing in general helps kids learn how to follow directions, steps, and rules.

To Prep:

This game is super easy to prepare!

Print the game board on paper or card stock. Then print the 2 pages of cards on the white side of scrapbook paper (so they aren’t see-through).

Then laminate all the pieces for durability and cut out the cards.

How to Make the Desert Animal Board Game

To Play:

Place your marker on the “Start” space before the first eagle. Place all the cards upside-down on the “Card Draw Pile.”

Choose a player to go first.

The player will draw a card from the pile and identify the animal on the card. Then the player will move his game marker to the next space that matches that animal.

If a player lands on a space with an arrow, he will follow the arrow to the new space.

If a “cactus” card is drawn the player will head to the closest cactus space, even if it is behind him.

To win by landing on the last fennec fox, a player MUST draw a fennec fox from the pile.

Extend the Activity

Sort

Mix up all the game cards, then sort them by animal. Mix it up by changing the sort characteristics: color/size/shape/etc.

Memory

Use two of each animal card and lay them out upside down in a grid to play the classic memory match game.

Go Fish

The small cards are perfectly sized for little hands. Use them for a round of Go Fish!

Do you love this activity?

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– Life Over C's Match pictures of desert animals with this free printable desert animal game for preschooler. Kids will love playing with fennec foxes, eagles and meerkats!
– Life Over C's desert animal board game printable for preschool
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author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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5 Comments

  1. I really love you site. Thank you so much. I was a member years ago and my computer failed so I am glad that I found your site again.

  2. We are working on learning how to take turns with my 3 year old. can’t wait to print and use this game today.