Touch and Talk

In Touch and Talk pupils will explore animal groups by investigating real animal hair, scales and feathers – from lions to crocodiles!  They will be encouraged to use a variety of descriptive words to label the textures, colours and patterns they discover, and will find out how we can use these different body coverings to put animals into three groups.  Pupils will be challenged to put a variety of zoo animals into groups, including themselves! At the conclusion of the session, the pupils will be brought to the farm area where they are introduced to a live animal and encouraged to describe the difference between the different animals body parts.

Penguin at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Age group:  Reception, Yr 1 & Yr 2 (Ages 4-7)

Duration: 35 – 45 min

Capacity: 35

Learning Space: Unicorn Room and Farm


Intended learning outcomes:

Pupils will be able to:

  • Use their senses and make observations about objects from the natural world
  • Recognize that animals can be grouped according to what they have on their bodies
  • Apply their learning in the session to sort a live animal into the Hairy / Scaly / Feathery category

Many objects from the natural world used in this session are loaned to us by HM Revenue and Customs.

Please be aware that though we aim to use a live animal in this session, we do not guarantee that they will be present – animals can fall ill or be unwilling to be handled and their welfare is ZSL’s first priority.


For this session


Before your visit:

  • Ask pupils to consider the following animals and list as many similarities and differences between them as they can:
  • Tiger and goat
    • Snake and rabbit
    • Penguin and tiger


While at the Zoo:

Animal Location (map ref.)
Goat Hullabazoo Farm (C4)
Amur tiger Tigers (B3)
Snake Discovery Centre (D3)
Penguin Penguins (E2)

 After your visit:

  • Children pick a hairy, scaly or feathery animal and create a painting or collage, paying particular attention to the texture of the skin or hair, patterns and colours.