The desert is a fascinating topic for preschool students. This lesson is geared for small groups, whole classes, and homeschool settings.
Cactus Art Bring in a real cactus for students to observe or show them pictures of cacti in various shapes. Then let each student paint a cactus with green paint on blue paper. When the paint is dry students can glue on broken pieces of spaghetti for the spines. (fine motor skills, art)
Desert Scene Have students draw a scene on paper with crayons including things found in the desert, such as cacti, snakes, and a hot sun. Let them paint the “ground” area of their picture with white glue and then sprinkle on sand. Shake off the excess sand and display each student’s desert scene. (fine motor skills, art)
Desert Sunset Give students colored chalk and dark blue or black construction paper. Show them how to draw streaks across the paper and smear them with their hands to create a sunset. Provide cactus stickers for students to add in front of their sunset, (art, fine motor skills)
Desert Sandbox Play Fill the sandbox with plastic lizards and snakes, plastic desert animals such as camels and armadillos, toy dune buggies and jeeps, and fake cacti for children to play with at playtime. Be sure to teach the children the names of the animals and talk about how they are suited for desert living. (science, social skills, large motor skills)
Desert Animals Match Make copies of animals found in the desert (two copies of each) and paste them on construction paper cut into card sized pieces. Talk about the names of each animal and let students play memory with the cards or charades where they act out the actions of the animals. (science)
Desert Weather Look up how many rainy days have occurred during the year in a desert city such as Palm Springs compare that to the number of rainy days that have occurred during the year in your town or in a rainier city in the United States such as Seattle. Make a graph comparing the number of rainy days in the desert city versus the number of rainy days in your own town or in the rainy city. (science, math)
Explain that dates are a fruit that grows in the desert. Let students create “desert” sundaes by sprinkling crushed graham cracker crumbs on vanilla yogurt for the sand and topping them with a date instead of a cherry. (nutrition)