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Prek-K Unit Study for Put Me in the Zoo

This post is part of the 31 MORE Days of Literature Unit Studies series. You can find all of the links to the thirty-one studies in this post. If you'd like to use these ideas to create your own unit study, this post has step-by-step instructions as well as a free unit study planner. (Want to know more about what, exactly, a unit study is? This post will help.)

While you're reading and working on your unit study, you can dowload this free printables pack of graphic organizers for reading (best for the elementary unit studies in the series). It has a plot chart, venn diagram, KWL chart, two mini book report organizers, a character analysis chart, a plot outline chart, and a reading response sheet where students can record facts while reading.

Preschool unit study for Put Me in the Zoo

Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire is an early reader book that proves the fact that easy-to-read books don't have to be trite and boring. Although the book is simple enough for some beginning readers to read independently, it also makes for a really fun read aloud with younger kids.

Book Information

Title- Put Me in the Zoo

Author- Robert Lopshire
Recommended ages- Prek-K
Synopsis-A new and strange character covered in spots is visiting the zoo and hoping for an invitation to stay inside. When he's kicked out, he strikes up a conversation with two children, expressing his wish to be in the zoo and demonstrating all of the amazing things he can do with his spots. But the children don't think he should be in the zoo. Instead, they suggest a new home for their spotted friend.

Learning Activities

Rhyming words- Print the words to the story out in print that is a good size for young kids to follow along while you read. Point out rhyming words. Look at the rhyming words and point out how the words that sound the same have the same ending letters.
Activities for Put Me in the ZooRhyming words- Play a rhyming words game. Give a word to start (stick with simple words at first) and have the kids take turns giving rhyming words (If you're doing this with one child go back and forth with the child yourself.) until no one can think of another rhyming word. Write your beginning word and list the rhyming words underneath. Look for spelling patterns in the words you write down.

Word recognition- Before you read the book, take time to write the color words from the story on blank index cards in their appropriate color. As you read the story, see if kids can match the color words on the cards with the word in the story. 

Word recognition- After practicing with the color words, play a memory game with color words. Write each color word on a blank index card in black. On a separate set of cards color a circle of each color. Place the cards facedown and play a memory game, taking turns turning cards over and looking for matching pairs.

Preschool game for Put Me in the Zoo
The zoo- Take a field trip to the zoo.

The zoo- Learn more about animals in the zoo with this website filled with games and activities from The San Diego Zoo.

The zoo- See how many animals kids can identify in this kids' zoo video.

Critical thinking- Discuss the story: Why do you think the zoo keeper wouldn't let the spotted animal come in? What was different about him from the other animals at the zoo? Would you have let him in the zoo?

Creative writing- Have kids write about and illustrate the animal they'd like to see in the zoo. Younger kids can dictate and you write.

The circus- The children suggest to their spotted friend that he join the circus instead of the zoo. Watch this video for highlights of the Ringling Brothers circus.

Crafts and Fun

Make a paper bag puppet to illustrate the spotted animal from the book. (As an alternative to paint, you could have kids glue colored circle cereal to the bag.)

Using this free printable trace and color page, have the kids create their own spotted animal. You can choose to fill in the spots in a variety of colorful ways:
  • coloring
  • paint
  • dot stickers
  • bingo daubers
  • colored construction paper circles
  • colored circle cereal
This paper plate craft is another cute way to illustrate the animal from the story.


Scroll down this page for a cute and yummy idea for some circus snack mix to eat after you read.

Preschool unit study for Put Me in the Zoo









Peter Spier's Circus

Other Resources


Don’t miss the other literature units in this series!

Literature unit studies for kids

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