Who's in the Forest? by Phillis Gershator is a great book for toddlers. It's rhyming text and peek-a-boo holes make it a great interactive book for young ones. "Who's in the forest, dark and deep? Foxes on the prowl - creep, creep, creep." The collage/patchwork style illustrations are also eye catching and very engaging.
Forest Activities for Toddlers:
- Collect some forest puppets and allow the children to explore with them. Toddlers will be able to experiment with sounds, words, and practice interacting with others. Some of my favorites are from Folkmanis because they are so lifelike and durable.
- Taking a field trip with toddlers is not always an easy task, so check with your local Department of Natural Resources or your local Zoo to see if they have an outreach program that will bring forest animals to your classroom. Here in Maryland we have Scales and Tales and the Zoo Mobile.
- Add forest animals to block area, sand table, and other areas of the classroom.
- Act out the story with toddlers: 1) Make headbands by pasting a forest animal on a sentence strip; have one for each child. 2) While reading the story, have the children stand up when their animal is called. For example, when you read, "Who's in the forest dark and deep? Birds in the treetops - cheep, cheep, cheep" then the children with bird headbands will stand up and say "cheep, cheep, cheep."
- Cut out animal tracks and contact them to the floor so that the children can follow them. Older toddlers can match the animal tracks with the animals.
- Listen to a CD with sounds of the forest such as Forest Ambiance.
- Make bird feeders! This is one of my favorite bird feeders because it's not too messy, it doesn't involve peanuts or peanut butter, and children get the benefit of fine-motor practice by stringing cheerios onto a pipe cleaner!