Do you remember as a kid walking through the forest and pretending that it was your own secret hideout? I’m sure it wasn’t just me. We had a small wooded area next to our house where my brothers and I built a fort and played in. We loved it just as much as our big yard. (Though the yard was much better for baseball…) This printable forest animal pattern block activity for preschool is a great way to learn about some of the animals that live in the forest that kids might not get to see otherwise. Working on fine motor skills, visual discrimination and scanning are also great bonuses for this fun preschool activity.
Forest Animal Activities for Preschoolers
Doing forest activities with your preschoolers is a great way to teach them about the necessity of trees and plant life. And we can also teach about animals that might seem scary (opossums, anyone?), but are really necessary for controlling pests. Most preschoolers don’t understand that there are animals living around them that they might not see because they only come out at night or because they are well camouflaged in their surroundings.
As you are learning about individual forest animals through conversation, books and activities, you can discuss the natural habitats of the animals in the forest and expand your preschooler’s thinking beyond their natural living space.
Preschool Forest Animal Activities
Plus, I believe that teaching preschoolers about animals that live in the forest is also a great way to build empathy and an understanding of why it is so important for us to take care of the world around us and why we should protect the animals.
If you can, taking a trip for a short ‘hike’ with your preschoolers is a great way to learn about forest habitats and if you are lucky, you may even get to see deer!
Of course, you could just come over for a visit because we have deer in our yard every day….lol! (maybe not…)
For kids living in the suburbs, they may have had the opportunity to see wildlife roaming their neighborhoods.
Kids in the city probably don’t have any experience with animals like deer, so visiting a local animal center is a great way to introduce them.
You can also find some awesome videos on YouTube that can show kids the different animals that live in the forest.
And there is always Over the Hedge…lol!
As you are preparing for a trip to the forest or local nature center with your kids, incorporating forest animal activities and books in your learning time is a great way to prepare them.
You can have them make a list of questions about the animals and their habitats that you can help them research.
I also have a special needs 8 year old, who loves learning about animals, so I created this set of free printable forest animal pattern block mats for her.
Learning Resources Jumbo Forest AnimalsPetit Collage Memory Game, Forest Animals (24 Chunky Cards to Match)LEGO Duplo 10582 Forest AnimalsEducational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Toddler & Preschool Board Game
Fine Motor Activities for Preschool
Building fine motor skills is super important for her because she has Rett Syndrome. Most kids with Rett Syndrome are not able to use their hands in any meaningful way.
Shiloh actually has great fine motor skills considering her diagnosis, but it is important to us to continue to work on them, so that we can hopefully prevent some of the regression that is commonly seen in girls with Rett Syndrome.
Free Occupational Therapy Activity for Special Needs Kids
These free printable pattern block activities can also be used to work on:
Visual discrimination skills:
- Which picture is different?
- Mark the shapes that you use.
- Matching pattern block pieces to the image on the mat
Fine motor skills:
- Picking up the pattern block pieces
- Placing the pattern block shapes onto the correct place on the pattern block mat
- Pre-writing skills by crossing off the matching shapes and circling the picture that does not match
Visual Scanning Strength
- Scan the image to find the matching pattern block pieces
- Scan the set of three images to find which picture does not match
- Scan the shape images at the bottom of the page and the forest animal image to find matching shapes
Make Differentiation Easy
For us these are skills that we work on daily. But you are probably already working on these essential skills with your preschoolers without a lot of extra effort.
Even if you are not working with kids who have special needs, these pattern block mats are a great way to continue to build on these essential skills that kids will need throughout their life!
These free printable forest animal pattern block mats will just add to your awesomeness!
We have discovered over the last few months that visual scanning strength can be directly related to Shiloh’s ability to stay focused on an activity and seem to be a big reason why she struggles so much with things like one-to-one correspondence when counting because her eyes need to stay focused on the items.
We’ve been going to vision therapy for six weeks, but Shiloh hates it with a passion because it makes her eyes so tired.
These forest animal pattern mats are like a dose of magical medicine for us. It’s ‘occupational therapy’ that doesn’t create a battle of wills because she thinks they are so fun! And I love that she gets to work on so many of her trouble areas through play!
I hope you will enjoy them too!
Pair the forest animal pattern block mats with these great books about Forest Animals for preschoolers!
Smithsonian Kids: A Walk in the ForestForest Babies (Animal Babies)Babies in the Forest Chunky Lift-a-Flap Board Book (Babies Love)A Walk Through the WoodsMoonlight Animals (Lightbeam Books)Night-Night, Forest FriendsWho’s in the Forest?Little Fox in the ForestBaby Hedgehog: Finger Puppet Book (Finger Puppet Boardbooks)