Animal Activity Ideas for Early Years


Children love learning about animals and who can blame them?! Animals can be cute, strange or scary! They're fascinating even for adults. At Activity Village, we love creating more animal worksheets for our Animal A-Z as we learn so much. 

Animals are a really great hook to get younger children interested in some discussion work and small world play. 

If you're celebrating World Animal Day or you have early years children in your setting or home that are really interested in animals, here are some ideas and activities that will support their development in all areas of learning. 

We also have a printable version of our Animals Early Years Planning Sheet, available in colour or a more printer friendly black and white version.  

Language and Communication

  • Children love singing and listening to songs. We've got some lovely song printables with an animal theme that include counting too. 
  • Talk about how animals communicate with noises. Play a Guess the Animal Game where you make animal noises to pick out the correct animal. Or you could give clues and describe the animal to see if the children can match your description to the correct picture. 
  • Set up a small world animals play area. Check that the children know the names of the animals that are playing with. Extend their vocabulary by using adjectives to describe the animals or telling the children the young animal names. For example, "You're playing with a fox. They have babies called cubs."

Personal, Social and Emotional

  • Encourage turn taking by playing memory games and dominoes. Have a look at our animal games for inspiration. 
  • Talk about the importance of sleep. Give the children a soft toy and help them to make a comfortable nest or den for the animal to sleep in. 
  • Ask the children what their favourite animal is. Tell them your favourite animal. 



  • Think about the beginning sounds of animals words and complete an animal alphabet challenge
  • Introduce some non-fiction books about animals. 
  • Tell the children some animal jokes. Talk about why they are funny. 


Understanding the World

  • Set up small animals in the Tuff Tray with a theme such as safari animals or ocean animals. Show the children where the animals are from on a world map or a globe. Talk about where different animals are found in the world. 

Expressive Arts

  • Listen to The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens. Encourage the children to move or dance to the music. Discuss which animal they think each piece is describing - can they guess?
  • Get crafty creating animal masks or use our animal masks printables in the role play area. 

Printable Planning Sheet

You can download a printable version of this planning sheet here: Animals Early Years Planning Sheet

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Animal Activity Ideas for Early Years
Wednesday, 28th September 2022

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