On the Farm or at the Zoo?


Children will discuss the relationship between people and different kinds of animals, then categorize animals into two groups, farm animals and zoo animals.

What You Need

What to Do

  1. Discuss with children the fact that people have different relationships with different animals. For example, because cows are more tame, they can be kept on a farm, while tigers and other wild animals cannot. Ask children to think about the kinds of animals that can live on a farm and the kinds that may live in a zoo. You may want to discuss why some animals live on a farm (horses help farmers do work, cows give milk, hens lay eggs, etc.) and other animals may be kept in a zoo (they are wild and most people might not see and learn about them otherwise.)

  2. Then write Farm at the top of a piece of chart paper and Zoo at the top of another. Name each animal from the list below and ask children to tell you whether it lives on a farm or in a zoo. If you have a matching picture, hold it up as you say the animal's name.

    cow, tiger, lion, horse, hen, bear, rooster, giraffe, elephant, duck, rhinoceros (rhino), sheep, goat, hippopotamus (hippo), pig, kangaroo

  3. List the animals on the chart that the children indicate. If they are having trouble deciding where a particular animal should be listed, revisit your initial list about farm animals and zoo animals.

  4. Next, tell children that they will play an animal roundup game. Divide the class into three groups: zookeepers, farmers, and animals. Explain that some children are going to pretend to be animals that have wandered away from the zoo and the farm, so the children who are zookeepers and farmers must bring the animals back to their respective homes. Designate one area of the classroom to be a farm and another to be the zoo. Pass out the labels from the Farm and Zoo Animals sheet (helping children to read words as necessary). Then have the farmers and zookeepers round up their animals. Repeat the activity with new farmers and zookeepers.

Teaching Options

  • Categorize animals into different groups, such as animals that live on land, animals that live in water, animals that can fly, etc, or let children come up with their own ways of categorizing animals.

  • Divide a bulletin board into two sections. Label one section Farm and create a barnyard Background. On the other section, create a zoo Background and label it Zoo. Then have children cut out or draw pictures of animals that can be displayed on the appropriate side of the bulletin board.

  • For an outdoor activity, turn the animal roundup game into a game of tag. When a farmer or zookeeper tags an animal, the animal must go home to the farm or to the zoo (depending on where it belongs). Note: Farmers and zoo keepers can only tag animals that belong to them. If a farmer tags a zoo animal, for example, the animal remains free.

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