Over the course of twenty-six posts, I will introduce my own simple lessons for the letters of the alphabet. I will provide ideas and suggestions for a week's worth of activities.
For the letter J, we focused upon jaguars.
Jaguars are one of the many big cats that I absolutely love! Big cats include lions, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, lynx, cheetah, and the jaguar. They all below to the genus Panthera. Big cats live in a variety of habitats and across many of the continents (except Europe, Australia, and Antarctica).
What is the difference between the big cats and the small cats, like the house cat or the jaguarundi? Most big cats can roar while small cats purr. Big cats show affection in other ways such as the 'chuff' sound of a tiger.
- Weighs 100 to 250 pounds
- Can live up to 12 to 15 years
- They are the only big cat found in the Americas
- Only tigers and lions are bigger than jaguars
- They are good swimmers and will hunt in the water
- They face a number of threats in their natural habitat that are causing their numbers to decline
- They live alone
- A female jaguar will usually give birth to one to four cubs who will stay with her for two years or more learning how to be a jaguar
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When studying cats, there are some cool activities you can accomplish with your children. Such as filling out a chart with the names of big cats and little cats. (Download a copy here: A Mom's Quest to Teach.)
Telling Spotted Cats Apart
How do you tell a leopard from a jaguar? What about the cheetah, snow leopard, or clouded leopard? For some of them, you can look at its natural habitat to determine which type of big cat it is, while for others you might need to look a bit more closely at the shape of their spots.
Snow leopards are white in color, so they are the easiest to distinguish. Next easiest is either the cheetah – which is identified by its long, lean body and the skinny black stripes on its face that look like black tear lines, or the clouded leopard – which is smaller and has much larger spot groupings.
Leopards are a bit smaller than jaguars. Jaguars have more muscle than leopards and usually weigh twice as much as leopards. They also have an extra spot(s) in the center of their spots.
Jaguar Paper Bag Puppet
- Brown paper lunch bag
- Construction paper - orange, white, black, gold, tan
- Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
- Glue stick and/or white glue
- Paint (orange and black) and paintbrushes (optional)
1. Gather your materials.
2. Have your children cut out the pieces you will need or have them pre-cut for your children.
3. Color or paint the brown paper bag orange. If you paint it, you will need to wait till it dries to complete the next steps.
4. Glue on the head piece to the top of the brown paper bag.
5. Attach the mouth piece under the flap of the brown paper bag.
6. Glue on the eyes, nose, spots, ears, and teeth.
7. Draw on whiskers.
8. Draw spots on the body of the jaguar. Make sure you put some spots inside the circles of spots or rosettes.
J is for Jump Rope
Introduce the letter J with a simple craft for your preschooler.
Jam & Juice
Taste different flavors of jam or juice with your children.
Try your hand at making homemade juice or make juice popsicles.
Visit a local farmer's market to sample local jams.
Go to a local farm to pick fruits to make your own jam or juice.
All About Animals
Sometimes you need a short homeschool course to include into your homeschool curriculum. SchoolhouseTeachers.com has the perfect 14 unit course entitled All About Animals. In the class, your first or second grader will learn about jaguars, ladybugs, squirrels, baby animals, and more. Your child will learn about the habits and habitats of the animals while reading online books, complete puzzle pages, and journal about what they have learned. You and your children will explore your own backyard and imagine what life is like for a snake in the rainforest, too.
Jelly Fish, Jello, and Jesus: Letter J Preschool Activities and Printables
Are you looking to explore more letter J topics with your preschooler? In this post from The Schoolin' Swag blog, you find lots of fun ideas including what to serve for snack. I also love connecting your letter J lessons with stories from the Bible including Jonah. How fun!
Jenny Jaguar Week
If you want to travel to a distant land while studying the letter J, visit Teaching with Faith's Jenny Jaguar Week post to go to Japan. I also love the idea of checking out a web cam to see jellyfish at an aquarium if you can't see them in person.