Teaching your child the names of the animals is a lot of fun. On this page we’ve included some animal flashcards that will help you introduce the names and features of many common (and some not so common) animals.
To get started, simply scroll through each of the flashcards on your screen and tell your child the name of each animal as it appears. Have some fun by trying to make the sound of each animal – and encourage your kid to have a go too.
Depending on the age and interest of your child, now is a great time to let your imagination rove and introduce them to the wonder of nature.
For example, when you come to the penguin flashcard, why not describe the environment of Antarctica? Paint a picture of huge icebergs and freezing cold; midnight sun in summer and endless dark in winter. If you have a globe point to where you live in the world and then show how far (or near – if you live in Dunedin!) Antarctica is. If you don’t have a globe, Google maps is another great option.
Instantly you will have fired up the imagination of your child – and introduced them to the concept that the world is a huge and amazing place and not everywhere looks the same as where you live. It is little sparks of information like this that add up to making a knowledgeable and inquisitive young child.
You could even go further and watch the movie Happy Feet on DVD a few days down the track. Obviously it won’t be possible to go to this level of detail with all of the animal flashcards, but we’re sure you get the idea.
Once you have gone through them a few times, play a game where you show the card and see if your child can name the animal.
Another idea is that you try to make the sound of the animal, or state some facts about it, and see if your child can select the card of the correct animal. Note that this game works just as well and can be a lot of fun if you swap roles.
The flashcards will also help in gradually building your young child’s awareness of words and letters. They will primarily learn the names of the animals by their pictures, but their brain will also begin to associate the words and letters with the animals too.
This doesn’t mean that your child will suddenly be able to read the names of the animals – it is simply another valuable piece of exposure to letters and words that all children need. When it comes time to actually learning to read, all of these add up and make it much easier.
Free Animal Flashcards
You can download these free animal flashcards. These free flashcards are available in adobe acrobat (pdf) and powerpoint (ppt) formats.