This 3-day activity reinforces what students have learned about animals. The activities focus on pets: cats, dogs, birds, and fish.
The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss; ISBN 039480001X
Baby Animals, by Angela Royston; ISBN 0689715633
Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman; ISBN-10: 067988629X
What Is a Fish?, by Lola M. Schaefer; ISBN 0736808655
Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister; ISBN 1558580093
Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman: ISBN-10: 0679890475
What Is a Bird?, by Lola M. Schaefer; ISBN 0736808647
A Nest Full of Eggs, by Priscilla B. Jenkins; ISBN 0785761411
Background for Teachers
Camp Paws and Claws is a three day activity that reinforces what
students have learned throughout the year about animals. For each
activity, a different group of animals is studied. These activities focus
on pets: cats, dogs, birds, and fish. Students will re-read both fiction
and non-fiction stories that have been previously introduced during
the school year. As they read the books, they will have activities to
complete in order to earn their "badge" for that animal. Each student
will make a paper bag vest on which they will be able to display badges
they have earned.
Camp can also have many extra activities added that will create a
more camp like environment, or it can be just part of the school day.
One activity is a daily camp message that either the teacher or students
compose on paper that looks like a tree or log. Another fun activity is
to make a camp stew that is a variety of favorite breakfast cereals in a
large pot over a pretend fire. Teachers can also set up a tent in their
classroom for a fun reading area.
In order for your students to be successful for these activities of
Camp Paws and Claws, you should instruct them on the following
items. They should understand realistic and unrealistic behaviors of
pets, understand the process of how an egg hatches, identify parts
of animals, and understand that some animals are make believe
characters, and some are real animals.
Several of the books selected should be ones most of the children
are familiar with already, and ones that might already be in your
library. I selected them so that it would be easy to teach Camp Paws
and Claws, and to hopefully eliminate having to buy several books.
One item the students will make is a Science Journal. The science
journal can be made with either plain white paper or with lined paper.
Take cardboard or cardstock and punch holes in it. Tie the journal
together with jute or yarn to make it appear rustic. At anytime during
camp you can have the students pull out their journals and respond
to a question or a picture you show them. Depending on the ability
level of the students, you may choose to allow them to respond with
pictures, words, or sentences.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Observe, describe, draw, and compare familiar animals.
2. Describe how young animals are different from adult animals.
3. Observe and imitate the sounds and movements of animals with songs,
dances, and storytelling.
4. Distinguish between real and make-believe animal behaviors.
Invitation to Learn
Favorite Pet Graph
The choices on the graph should be cat, dog, fish, and bird. To
allow the activity to be completed by all children the graph should
have a picture and the word of each animal. Give each child a small
yellow post-it note. Allow the class a few minutes to write their name
on the note and have them put their name under which pet animal is
Group students into four small groups or complete activities as
a class. Each animal will have a tub with all materials necessary to
complete the activities to earn the badge. Explain all activities to
children prior to allowing them to go to the centers. In each tub
keep an example so that students know what to do.
- Have the students read the book, The Cat in the Hat. Have
each group member share his/her favorite part of the story.
Orally discuss if a real cat could do what the cat did in the
- In, Animal Babies, read the section on kittens. Have students
identify the various parts of the cat verbally with another
group member. In their science journal have the students
draw a mother and baby cat and talk about how they are the
same and different with a friend.
- Make their own Cat book. Have each child make a book
about cats. They will need a piece of construction paper and
a copy of all the pages to the book. The book will have the
children fill in high frequency sight words. When they finish
have them read the book to themselves once. The book will
also include a pointer, which is a craft stick with a pom-poms
to create a paw. The students can use this pointer when
reading the words to the story. The pointer is stored in a
pocket on the back cover of the book. To make the pocket,
cut a 3x5 index card in half and staple it on three of the sides
to the back cover, then slide the pointer in.
- When they are finished, they may cut out and color the cat
badge and glue it to their vest.
- Have the students read the book Go, Dog, Go!
- As a group retell the events of Go, Dog, Go! Perform by
role playing for an adult in the classroom or to other group
members. The children may refer to the book while acting it
- Sort cards of pictures of character animals and real life animals.
For example: A picture of the Cat from Cat in the Hat and a
picture of a real life cat.
- Animal Dancer Movement. Each child will be given a ribbon
dancer, which is a dowel rod with a 2-3 foot ribbon attached
to the end. In a bag, include various pictures of animals. One
child will be in charge of showing the picture of the animal and
turning on the music for the children to move like the animal
- When all activities are complete the children may color and cut
out their dog badge.
- Read the book, Are You My Mother? Discuss the mothers and
babies in the story. Discuss the names of mothers and babies of
- Make an Adult and Baby Animal matching game. Color and cut
out squares of adult and baby animals. Match the adult and the
baby. Practice using the names for each, for example: cat and
- Read, What Is a Bird? and A Nest Full of Eggs. Orally discuss the
process of making a bird nest and how eggs hatch.
- Color and sequence cards of How an Egg Hatches. If a student
puts their egg sequence cards in a different order, have the
student orally explain the steps to you.
- Color and cut out bird badge and put on their vest.
- Read Rainbow Fish. Discuss what you can share at home and
- Create A Fish activity. Students will have the palm of their
hand painted in stripes of red, yellow, blue, green and white.
Keeping the fingers close together the students will place their
hand on the blue construction paper. The palm makes the head
of the fish and the fingers created the fins and tail. After the
child washes their hand they will paint their fingers with green
paint and put it at the bottom of the paper to create "seaweed".
- Attach a 1⁄2" x 1⁄2" aluminum foil scale. When fish dries, add eye
and mouth details with black marker.
- Read the book, What Is a Fish? Optional: Observe a fish in the
classroom. Record findings in science journal.
- When finished, color and cut out fish badge.
- Have advanced students become "group leaders" and help other
members remember how to do activities for badges.
- For any journaling activity, provide small post-it notes. Allow
students to get assistance from you or another student on how
to correctly spell the word. I tell the students to attempt to
sound out the word on their own. Once they have done that I
will help them correct it if needed. Some students do not want
to write something incorrect. This allows them to try to spell
the word on their own, but have it correctly written as well.
- Do additional activities in their science journal. Have students
write real and make believe stories about their pet.
- Have students take their matching Adult and Baby Animal card
game home and play with their parents.
- Have the parents and students discuss how animal mothers take
care of their babies just like human parents take care of their
- Have parents come into the classroom and share any knowledge
they may have on a pet. They can also help work the centers
and provide students with additional assistance.
- Collect and assess science journals at the end of the day.
- Observe students while they act out the story, Go, Dog, Go!- add
it will be assessed during activity
- Grade How An Egg Hatches activity.
- Allow the children to share something they learned about cats,
dogs, fish, or birds to the class.
- Do a pre-assessment on how eggs hatch and determine what
they already know.
Joshua, M. (2007). The effects of pictures and prompts on the writing of students in primary
grades: Action Research by Graduate Students at California State University, Northridge.
Action in Teacher Education. 29(2) 80-93.
Picture aided writing and drawing are more effective in primary
grades than prompts alone. However, picture aides can hinder student
creativity and therefore should be paired with student ability and
Michael, J. (2006). Where's the evidence that active learning works? Advances in Physiology
Education. 30. 159-167.
This research article states the effectiveness of student-
centered active learning. Research has proved the effectiveness and
improvement of learning in active and passive styles of teaching.
Learning should match the needs and personalities of the students.