Parents often wonder how to teach toddlers about animal names. It’s pretty simple and easy if you turn it into an activity or a game rather than making it a task. Visual cues and actual sightings will help your child remember for a longer time.
The wide world out there is fascinating and intriguing to little toddlers. Animals are particularly interesting, probably because children find them just as jumpy and noisy as they are! Some of the earliest sounds that toddlers make are those of animals such as ‘bow bow’ and ‘meow’. Make the most of this eagerness to learn about animals by teaching them the names of the same.
Tips for Teaching Animals to Toddlers
1. Match Pictures with Animals
Most parents buy animal figures and toys for their toddlers. If you haven’t, now is the time. Once you have a few, print a picture of the animal or use a nature book. Get your toddler to recognise animal names with pictures by placing the toy on the respective picture. Here are some cute baby animal pictures to get you started:
- This Lamb Wants to Make Friends With You!
- Can You Guess What this Racoon is Saying?
- All that this Dog wants to do is Look at you Lovingly!
- These Sweet Birds are Waiting for Dinner
- This Tiger is Having a Fun Time all by Himself
2. Make Animal Sounds
The quack of a duck or the meow of a cat is not just a sound; they’re lessons for your little one to understand that animals use these sounds to communicate. Play sound games to teach your tot about animal names. Oink, bark, growl, moo and see if he can identify the animal that you’re imitating. This activity can be reversed with an older preschooler- just show or name an animal and ask the child to make the sound.
- Old MacDonald had a farm
- Baa baa black sheep
- Mary had a little lamb
- Little Bo Peep
- Little miss Muffet
- Five little monkeys
- Hickory dickory dock
- Three blind mice
- Incy wincy spider
- Row, row, row your boat
3. Sing Along with Rhymes
There are many rhymes that have animals for toddlers to learn. Make a list of all such rhymes and keep singing them with your toddler. Here’s a look at some such rhymes:
4. Play Memory Games
Make a list of animals with pictures and names printed in sets of two. Keep one set face down and ask your toddler to uncover each card and match it with the similar one in the other set. This will keep him busy, help him identify animals, and will also help sharpen his memory. Once he’s old enough to learn to read, you can play the same game, but with a twist: Print pictures of animals on one card and their names on another card and ask him to match them.
5. Take Him out
Another way to make your 23-month-old toddler learn animal names is to take him to visit them. Plan a visit to a nearby animal shelter, farm or sanctuary to show the different types of animals. Visuals make a longer lasting impact and seeing real animals can help him remember their names better.
Remember that kids always enjoy playful and fun activities. Try to think of interesting ways to teach your child animal names. Play the games with your toddler regularly and gradually expand the list of names once he’s familiar with a few.