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Carnival of the animals


Language Arts, Music  


2, 3, 4, 5, 6  

By Hollie Mendenhall

This activity uses “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saen-Saints. I have taught this to kids as young as 2nd grade and as old as 6th grade, making slight modifications for grade level.

First, find pictures of each of the things listed below. You could use photos, but I found Print Shop to have most of these, and they ended up being cute cartoons.

1. royal lions
2. hens and/or roosters
3. wild horses
4. turtles
5. elephants
6. kangaroos
7. fish/aquarium
8. donkey
9. cuckoo bird (any single cartoon bird will do)
10. Aviary (I used pictures of several birds)
11. pianos
12. fossils/bones/dinosaurs
13. swan

Then I talk about how each animal is portrayed using the music. (the turtle one is slow….) Sometimes it’s great to ask the kids what they think the music will sound like. Then play the segment for them, one at a time. For the younger grades, I would simply tell them which animal it was. For middle school kids, I wrote out a list of clues (to make it a detective game) that they had to match up with the music. Then they could pick the animal out of the line-up. Correct answers were rewarded with a small piece of candy. This really helps kids to focus on the music (without words) and relate musical ideas to a particular picture or character. This lesson would fit well in a sequence using Peter and the Wolf, Vivaldi’s four seasons, and other program music!

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