The vicious, snapping jaws and razor-sharp teeth of a crocodile are enough to captivate most preschoolers. If your little animal-lover has a new found interest in crocodiles, do a few activities with her to get her even more excited about the species, as well as teach her a thing or two. Focus on kid-friendly knowledge, however, or you might have a scared child who changes her mind about how awesome crocodiles are.
1. Read Books
Crack open a few picture books with your preschooler to learn more about crocodiles. Fiction books teach your child new things while also using cheerful illustrations and entertaining text. Try "Clarabella the Crocodile" by An Vrombout, an upbeat story about a crocodile who can't play because she has to brush her teeth. Your child will laugh as he learns about how many teeth crocs have. Read "Crocodile Beat" by Gail Jorgenson. It's a story about a crocodile planning his next meal. Your child will learn what a crocodile eats while secretly hoping he doesn't eat a single one of them. Do a search at the library to find some more books your crocodile-lover might be interested in.
2. Make Crocodiles
Get out your craft supplies and let your child create her very own crocodile. Use picture books or show your kiddo some images of crocodiles on the computer to help spark her imagination. Your preschooler might want to make a crocodile mask with a paper plate and green paper or a crocodile puppet with an old green sock and googly eyes. Draw a picture of a crocodile on a large piece of white paper and let your child decorate it with whatever supplies she wants. Name the finished product and hang it on the refrigerator. Your preschooler might be interested to learn that crocodiles lay eggs. If so, give her a few plastic Easter eggs to decorate. Better yet, have her make a few tiny crocs from green paper or colored pom poms to put in the eggs. Let her hatch her new babies.
3. Pretend Play
Get down on your belly and pretend to be crocodiles together. Snap your arms open and closed to mimic the jaws of a croc or lay in a pretend swamp waiting to catch your next meal. Head outside, with sunscreen of course, and bask in the sun just like crocodiles do. Talk about crocodiles, read a few stories about the beasts or see if you can find their outlines in the clouds.
Hide a few plastic crocodiles in your backyard and dub your preschooler the crocodile hunter. Give him a plastic bucket and let him find each of the crocodiles. Let him hide them so you get a chance to the be crocodile hunter too. If you have more time to prepare, paint a large piece of cardboard green and cut a circle in the middle. This will be the croc's mouth so add some sharp teeth if you want. Give your child a few plastic balls to be the crocodile's food. Have your preschooler stand several feet away from the mouth and see how many of the balls he can get in the croc's mouth. Another entertaining game lets your child pretend to outwit the crocs. Put two long sticks a few feet apart on the ground. Put a stuffed crocodile in the middle and tell your child he has to jump over the croc swamp. Move the sticks apart a few inches for each round to make the game more challenging.
- National Geographic Kids: Animals Creature Features: Nile Crocodiles
- Clarabella the Crocodile; An Vrombout
- Crocodile Beat; Gail Jorgenson
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images