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20 Fun and Active Animal Games for Preschool Kids

Build social skills, vocabulary, thinking, and gross and fine motor skills with these 20 awesome animal games for preschool kids. 

Whether you’re just looking for some fun or you need some animal-themed games for your preschool unit, there’s something here for everyone.

1. Duck, Duck, Goose

Duck, Duck, Goose is a classic circle game where one child walks around the circle tapping each child’s head and saying “duck” until they choose one person to name “goose”. The goose then chases them around the circle. It is great fun.

2. Monkey See, Monkey Do

Young children will have so much fun being silly and copying the actions of the leader. They can take turns to be the leader.

Drawing of three monkeys copying actions with their hands

3. Simon Says

Play Simon Says with animal-themed commands like “Simon says hop like a kangaroo” or “Simon says slither like a snake.” This is a great activity for developing listening skills.

4. Animal Freeze Dance

Put on some fun animal songs and play a game of freeze dance – also called musical statues. The kids dance like the animals, freezing when the music stops.

5. Animal Charades

Have children take turns to act out different animals and have others guess what they’re pretending to be. They could also act out the animal noises.

6. Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Adapt this classic party game with different animals and body parts, like “pin the trunk on the elephant” or “pin the whiskers on the cat”.

7. The Farmer in the Dell

Sing and play the traditional circle game “The Farmer in the Dell”. Here are the lyrics:

The farmer in the dell
The farmer in the dell
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer in the dell

The farmer takes a wife
The farmer takes a wife
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer takes a wife

Repeat the verse, replacing with these lyrics:

The wife takes the child
The child takes the nurse
The nurse takes the cow
The cow takes the dog
The dog takes the cat
The cat takes the mouse
The mouse takes the cheese
The cheese stands alone

One child is the farmer and stands in the middle of the circle. In the first verse, the farmer chooses one child to be a wife and pulls them into the circle too. This continues until all the children but one (who is “the cheese”) have joined the group in the middle. Add extra verses if necessary.

8. Leapfrog

Leapfrog is a great physical activity. Children line up and crouch down like frogs. The child at the back imitates a frog jumping by leaping over each of the kids and then bending down and joining the front of the line. All the children take turns leap-frogging to the front of the line. 

9. Farm Parade

Have a farm animal-themed parade where kids can dress up as their favourite farm animals and march around the garden or play area. 

10. Scavenger Hunt

This fun activity can be done on an outing to the zoo or farm. Create a scavenger hunt chart where kids can look for specific animals and check them off on the list.

11. Animal Yoga

Teach kids simple yoga poses inspired by animals, such as the downward dog, pigeon or cobra pose.

12. Animal Memory Game

Play an educational game that builds memory. Create cards with pictures of various animals and their names on them, and have children match the pairs in a memory game

(Get your own set of printable memory card games here!) The set includes animal matching cards too.

13. Safari Adventure

Encourage pretend play by setting up an animal safari in your backyard or play area with stuffed and toy wild animals hiding in bushes, on trees and in the grass. Kids can use binoculars and pretend to be spotting animals in the wild.

14. Animal Relay Races

A fun way to build gross motor skills, do some animal relay races with animal-themed movements such as hopping like a bunny or waddling like a penguin.

15. Musical Chairs with a Twist

Place a picture of a different animal on each chair and play musical chairs. When the music stops, kids must quickly run to a chair and imitate the animal they see on the picture. 

16. Animal Shadow Puppets

Using your hands to create animal shadow puppets, shine a torch so the images are projected onto a wall, and have kids guess the animals.

17. Animal Bowling

Set up a bowling game using stuffed animals as pins and roll a ball towards them to knock them over. 

18. Animal Tic-Tac-Toe

Play tic-tac-toe on a large grid drawn on the ground, and use animal figurines in place of 0s and Xs. 

19. Alphabet Hunt

A great way to teach letter recognition is with a picture animal hunt. Paste pictures of animals all over the room or class. Hold up a large letter, such as “B”, and have children find all the animals whose name starts with a “b” sound, such as bear, bee, badger, etc.

20. Bear Hunt

Create an imaginary bear hunt with written clues. As a group, read out the clues and find the hidden teddy bear. Kids can also take turns hiding the bear and then making up their own clues to help others find it.

These fun activities and games are suitable for kids of all ages and are perfect for a preschool theme about animals. Improvise and change them to suit the age and maturity of your kids.

Drawing of kids playing leap frog game. Text reads: 20 really easy animal games for kids. #5 is so much fun!

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