If your preschooler is bouncing off the walls like a kangaroo or climbing into trees like a fuzzy little koala, it might be just the time to break out some marsupial activities. The only mammals that have a pouch to care for their young, marsupials don’t just live in Australia; if you get lucky, you might spot an opossum in your own backyard.
Print out pictures of common marsupials for your preschooler to color, cut out and glue onto a large piece of paper or a map of Australia. Cut gray and black felt into various shapes your child can glue onto a paper plate to resemble a soft koala face. Or transform a brown paper bag into a kangaroo puppet by turning it upside down, adding card stock ears and googly eyes to the part that is normally the bottom of the bag and gluing a paper pouch to its body.
Activate your child’s brain and her funny bone with whimsical marsupial games. Change Simon Says to Joey Says, and give kangaroo-themed directions, such as, “Joey says hop.” Create a bean bag toss — draw a kangaroo on a large piece of cardboard and cut out the pouch area, leaving a space for your preschooler to try to lob bean bags into. Alternatively, print out photos of various marsupials and their offspring and play a memory game where you try to match the mothers to their babies.
Your child can practice writing letters and words while immersed in the world of marsupials. Draw a line under pictures of koalas and kangaroos for her to write the letter k on. Cut out a giant letter ”O” and invite your preschooler to decorate it with pictures of opossums. Or write down her words as she narrates a marsupial adventure and then encourage her to draw illustrations to match the words.
Get Close to Marsupials
Check out your local zoo to meet some koalas, wombats or kangaroos in the flesh. Encourage your little one to draw pictures of the marsupials she meets in a notebook or journal. Help her write down what she notices about how these animals move, eat and sleep. Jot down her questions for further research at the library or when talking to the zookeeper. If you can’t make it to the zoo, observe marsupials in nature documentaries instead.