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Camp Paws and Claws: Pets

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Reading: Literature Standard 2

Additional Core Ties

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Reading: Foundational Skills Standard 3 c.

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Speaking and Listening Standard 1 a.


Utah LessonPlans
Grace Wayman


This 3-day activity reinforces what students have learned about animals. The activities focus on pets: cats, dogs, birds, and fish.


Additional Resources


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 ISBN-13: 978-0679886297

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 ISBN-13: 978-0679890478

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.

Instructional Procedures

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 their favorite.

Instructional Procedures

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.


  1. 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 book.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. When they are finished, they may cut out and color the cat badge and glue it to their vest.


  1. Have the students read the book Go, Dog, Go!
  2. 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 out.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 would.
  5. When all activities are complete the children may color and cut out their dog badge.


  1. Read the book, Are You My Mother? Discuss the mothers and babies in the story. Discuss the names of mothers and babies of animals.
  2. 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 kitten.
  3. Read, What Is a Bird? and A Nest Full of Eggs. Orally discuss the process of making a bird nest and how eggs hatch.
  4. 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.
  5. Color and cut out bird badge and put on their vest.


  1. Read Rainbow Fish. Discuss what you can share at home and school.
  2. 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".
  3. Attach a 1⁄2" x 1⁄2" aluminum foil scale. When fish dries, add eye and mouth details with black marker.
  4. Read the book, What Is a Fish? Optional: Observe a fish in the classroom. Record findings in science journal.
  5. When finished, color and cut out fish badge.


Curriculum Extensions/Adaptations/ Integration

  • 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.

Family Connections

  • 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 babies.
  • 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.

Assessment Plan

  • 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.


Research Basis

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 background knowledge.

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.

Created: 07/02/2008
Updated: 02/05/2018