Move around the room like a monkey, snake, elephant, lion, gorilla, crocodile.
Transform into each of the following making an appropriate noise: cat, lion, monkey, dog, cow, sheep.
Trot like a horse in a field.
Run like a dog chasing and retrieving a bone.
Slither through very long grass like a snake.
Walk through the desert like a camel.
Be a monkey picking and eating a banana.
Beat your chest like a gorilla, making an appropriate sound.
Stalk a mouse, like a cat.
Move restlessly up and down a cage, like a lion impatiently awaiting feeding time at the zoo.
Paired Animal Activities
In twos (encourage verbal response where possible):
One be a lion tamer; the other the lion.
One be a dog trainer; the other the dog.
A zoo keeper and a monkey being fed.
Listen to various themes from 'Carnival of the Animals'. (Saint-Saens) See if children can identify the animals being depicted. Discuss the movement of each animal. Children interpret the movement to a musical background.
What sort of sounds would be made by each of the following?
A monkey which has hurt its paw.
A hungry bear
A dog which is tied up and has just seen a mouse.
A pig with tummy ache
A lion waiting to be fed
Animals In Nursery Rhymes
In mime, act out these nursery rhymes. Others try to guess the animals.
'Hey, Diddle, Diddle the Cat and the Fiddle.'
'Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son' (Stole a Pig and Away He Ran)
''Baa, Baa Black Sheep'.
'Three Blind Mice'
'Hickory Dickory Dock'
'Mary Had a Little Lamb'
'Ding Dong Bell'
Spoken Improvisation Based On Animals
In small groups, try these:
Imagine someone has seen the cow jumping over the moon. Let them describe what they saw to a friend.
What might the owner of the pig have said to Tom, the Piper's son, when he had been caught?
Imagine that another customer wanted some wool from Baa Baa Black Sheep, but there was none left. What conversation would ensue between the sheep and the customer?
What might the mother of the three blind mice say to them on their return home from the farmer's house? What might the farmer's wife say to her husband?
How might the mouse describe what had happened when he had run up the clock.
What might the teacher say to Mary when the lamb had followed her to school? What might Mary say to the lamb in trying to persuade it to return home? Act this out putting equal emphasis on speech and movement.
Develop Ideas About Nursery Rhymes Along These Lines :
(E.g 'Ding Dong Bell')
What is the cat doing when it falls in the well?
How does it try to summon help?
Who hears it?
What does the cat say when it has been rescued?
What does its mummy say to the cat when it gets home?
What lesson does the cat learn from its experience?
Animals In Fairy Stories
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Tell the story of 'Goldilocks and The Three Bears.'
Show how a mime can be developed on this theme.
Groups act out the story in mime.
Repeat introducing dialogue.
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Tell the story of 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff.'
Emphasis should be placed on the use of dialogue, with repetition helping those who might find original speech difficult.
The improvisation does not need to be repetitive however and imaginative development of speech needs to be encouraged.
(Think about: What would you say to a troll who had threatened to eat you? Why would you have to be careful about what you said to him? Forget what was said in the story, think of any reason you can to persuade him to let you cross the bridge.)
Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack tries to sell his cow.
What does he say to a prospective buyer to convince him or her that the cow is a bargain?
In what ways would a cow be an asset?
What problems might the prospective buyer foresee? ("How much will it cost me to feed it?" "Where can I keep it? " "Does it smell? "etc)
Discuss the validity of Jack's answers. What other questions might be asked?
Discuss the children's pets.
Which are the most common animals that are kept as pets?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the various animals?
How would you persuade a friend that your pet was worth having?
What do you have to do for your pet and what does it do for you in return?
In twos be owners and pets.
Owners demonstrate some of the things they do when looking after their pets. Discuss what is done and why.
A child tries to persuade a parent that an animal is worth having. What does the child say? What arguments might the parent forward against having a pet and what might the shrewd child's responses be?
In a pet shop several pets are on display. The shop owner explains the merits of each to a prospective customer. Children with particular pets are chosen to be the owner when their animal is being discussed.
An animal explains some of the things its owner does for it. Perhaps there are some things that the owner does that it doesn't like. It talks about some of those, too.
Two animals discuss the good and bad points about their owners.
A judge at a pet show watches a parade of animals, asks the owners questions about their pets and decides which pet is the winner.
Various pets talk about how they spend their day.
Developing Emotion Through Pets
A child imagines him or herself to be an RSPCA officer and talks about some of the things that people do that make their pets unhappy.
An abandoned dog talks about how it felt when it had been left by its owners near a motorway. (Hopeful that they would come back; sad when when they didn't. Afraid of the traffic. Alone for the first time in its life with no-one to turn to. Cold and hungry etc.) Discuss the morality of the situation.
A cat that had been left out on bonfire night explains how frightened it was and why it panicked when the fireworks started.
Discuss why an elephant, a crocodile or a lion would be inappropriate animals to have as pets.
Improvise situations to highlight the ridiculousness of choosing such animals as pets:.
Mum finds you have brought a baby crocodile home and put it in the bath. What does she say to you and what do you say to her?
Your pet kangaroo has trampled on your next door neighbour's flower bed. What does the neighbour say to you and what is your reply?
Your parents are angry when they find an elephant sitting in their best armchair. What do they say to you and what do they say to the elephant? (Perhaps the elephant can speak. What does it say to defend what it has done.)
Discuss the kinds of animals that are found on farms and some of the purposes they serve.
Improvise a farmer explaining to some children who are visiting his farm, what animals he keeps and why they are kept.
Mime some of the jobs a farmer does.
Show what happens during a day on a farm with each group representing a farmer. his wife and the farm labourers. The farmer gives instructions to the others who ask questions about anything they don't understand.
Discuss the country code and how those who break it make life difficult or dangerous for the farmer and his animals.
Improvise some of these situations in small groups.
People on a picnic have left a farmer's gate open and some of his cows have wandered onto a busy road. One has been knocked down by a car and a passenger in the car has been hurt.
Some children have let their dog off the lead and it has worried a sheep.
A sheep has cut itself badly on a piece of broken glass dropped by some hikers.
An empty lemonade bottle abandoned in the country has caused a fire that has destroyed hundreds of trees, burnt down a farm-house and many animals have lost their lives. What might the farmer say when being interviewed by a television reporter?
Blindfold individual children and let them talk about what it feels like to be blind.
Discuss how a blind person's dog uses its senses to compensate for a blind person's lack of vision.
Discuss the qualities that are necessary in a guide dog.
In pairs, children are dogs and trainers. Let them demonstrate how they might train the guide dogs.
Discuss the validity of the training sessions.
A blind person explains to another blind person why a guide dog has proved such an asset.
© Andrew McCann
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