Below are some Dr. Seuss activities for preschool. The activities are based upon books he wrote for children.
Please be sure to read at the bottom post for information regarding why you should consider moving away from the use of Dr. Seuss books, as well.
Related: How to Teach Rhyming
Years ago, Dr. Seuss books were often the focus of Read Across America Day in early March. Many teachers still plan a Dr. Seuss theme in preschool around that date. Lots of books to read, invented words to talk about, and of course a ton of rhyming.
Below you’ll find a variety of engaging and hands-on Dr. Seuss activities for preschool, kindergarten, and older children.
Even if you don’t get into a Dr. Seuss theme around that time, the ideas below might help you with planning a few book studies with your students. I know I love delving into books with the kids!
Preschool Dr. Seuss Activities for the Cat in the Hat
These activities were all inspired by the classic The Cat in the Hat. Choose a few that your students would like, or try every single one!
Cat in the Hat Play Dough Invitation
Everything’s better with play dough. At least, that’s what the kids seem to think. Try our cat in the hat activities with play dough. You can either make your own red and white play dough, or just grab some from the store.
Then set out the play dough with a variety of loose parts and observe what the kids make. Be sure to incorporate literacy with lots of rhyming.
DIY Dress Up
A few years ago, we had a Dr. Seuss dress up day at preschool. The students dressed up like Things 1 and 2 from The Cat in the Hat.
It was a simple activity, but the kids (and teachers!) enjoyed it. It was a simple way to incorporate math and literacy into a Dr. Seuss theme, too.
Make a Cat’s Hat
This simple activity is a hit every time. Simply cut out red strips of construction paper, along with a basic hat shape from white paper.
Let the children make patterns of red and white, or just let them design their own hat for the Cat!
To take this idea a step further, you need to check out Still Playing School’s Cat in the Hat name activity. I am so in love with it (but I have a thing about fun name activities for kids).
Matching the Hats
I’ve used Joyfully Weary’s hat matching activity for a few years now.
The preschool kids see it as a tricky puzzle to solve, and their observation skills get a nice workout.
For Fun Friday, one of our awesome parents made a yummy fish-in-a-bowl snack in honor of Seuss’ Cat in the Hat. This idea came from The Metzgars’ Dr. Seuss Party, which has even more Seuss-inspired fun.
In case you’re wondering, these treats were quite yummy!
On My Kids’ Plate has some delicious Cat in the Hat fruit kabobs if you want something a bit more nutritious.
Rhyming Words with Magnetic Letters
For the ABC center, we talked about changing words we know into new words. We started with ‘cat’, and the children just had to change the first letter to make new words.
We also talked about how the words rhymed because they sound the same at the end.
Thing 1 and Thing 2 Puppets
I have adored Toddler Approved’s Thing puppets ever since I first saw them!
They are great for puppet shows, retelling the story of The Cat in the Hat, and for little reading pointers for the kids.
Fine Motor Hats for the Cat
Living Montessori Now has a super simple setup (oh how I love simple!) for a fine motor hat activity for this book.
You can focus on the fine motor aspect of the activity, or you can choose to incorporate some math (like patterns or color sorting) if you want.
Dr. Seuss Activities for Preschool Kids Who Love The Lorax
If the kids are wild about The Lorax, these ideas will be great book extension activities.
Paint with Your Own Truffula Trees
I have to say, this is a favorite Dr. Seuss art projects to do with the preschoolers!
Use a few pompoms and paper straws to make Truffula tree “paintbrushes”. Then pair them with paint for a Seuss-inspired art experience for the kids.
Mary Poppins (one of my awesome former co-teachers) had fun helping the kiddos make masks inspired by The Lorax.
I was most entertained listening to her instructions from across the room. “Paint your face orange. Now glue your eyebrows on. Oh, wait, your mustache just fell on the floor!” Yes, I am easily amused. This comes in handy when teaching preschool! 🙂
This Lorax-inspired Dr. Seuss craft was crazy fun to make with the kids! They were rather simple to make, and the kids had a great time making the colorful creations.
Use them as writing tools or part of an open-ended play dough invitation.
Make a Whisper-Ma-Phone
This Lorax-inspired science activity from Science Sparks is perfect for preschoolers! You just need a few simple materials to make it, and it’s not a difficult task.
I am imagining hours of fun with these in the dramatic play center.
Truffula Forest Sensory Bin
Lemon Lime Adventures has a great idea for a sensory bin inspired by the Lorax.
I love the combination of fine motor skills, sensory play, and pretend play!
Lorax Cupcake Liner Craft
Oh my word, this Lorax-inspired craft from I Heart Crafty Things made me smile! I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my list of Dr. Seuss activities to try next.
Can you imagine giving the kids these materials and just letting them create their own Lorax scene? I bet their imaginations would bring about some amazing creations!
Truffula Tree Color Matching
See Vanessa Craft’s fine motor Truffula trees would be great in your preschool math center.
The kids’ fingers get a great workout while they’re focused on sorting colors for their Truffula trees.
Ten Apples Up On Top Dr. Seuss Activities for Preschool
Ten Apples Up On Top is a good addition to a preschool apple theme, and there are a ton of fun activities to go along with it.
Don’t forget your free printable Dr. Seuss theme planning sheet at the bottom of this post.
Related: Ten Apples Preschool Lesson Plans
Apples Up On Top Names
You can use printable apple letters, or make your own apple letters from prints made with real apples. Either way, these apples up on top names are a crowd pleaser with the kids.
Ten Apples Play Dough Fun
Break out the play dough, and some decorative apples, for this book-inspired activity.
Lots of STEM exploration and hands-on fun from Fantastic Fun and Learning.
Ten Apples Up On Top Counting Activity
You can use your favorite math manipulatives for A Little Pinch of Perfect’s apple math idea.
Apples Up on Top Felt Board
Buggy and Buddy has an awesome felt board activity for this book! I love how she incorporates real pictures of the kids. Plus, felt board activities are just so engaging for preschoolers.
Apples Up on Top Game
Capitalize on the kids’ love of games with Mama.Papa.Bubba’s ten apples math game.
Her use of recycled bottle caps is great, and I’m sure you could use whatever red material you already have on-hand for the game.
Even More Dr. Seuss Activities for Preschoolers
Of course, Dr. Seuss wrote quite a few books for children. Here are a few others we’ve enjoyed over the years.
Make Colorful, Scented Oobleck
Inspired by Bartholomew and the Oobleck, this fun scented oobleck recipe is sure to add fun to any Dr. Seuss theme!
We kept calling it scented slime, but how to make slime with kids is a whole other (also awesome!) concept.
In the discovery/sensory table, the children used homemade fishing poles to “catch” foam fish.
This activity related to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.
Paint a Masterpiece
I’ve often let the children choose a favorite Seuss character to paint.
The usual winner is that mischievous Cat, and I love seeing how their character interpretations turn out!
The kiddos had fun sorting, graphing, and counting their Goldfish during snack time one day.
It seems to be consistent, year after year, that children love to incorporate math into their snack time. So add this idea to your Dr. Seuss theme or your ideas for snack math for preschoolers.
PLEASE READ: Dr. Seuss Concerns
Over the years since this post was originally written, more information has come to light raising concerns about Dr. Seuss and racism. Read Across America has shifted away from Seuss, refocusing on a celebration of diverse books.
I know some people will ask why I’ve left this post up, while others will ask what’s the big deal. Here’s my thinking in relation to both of those comments:
- I’ve decided to leave this post up for now as a way to include this information. How better to share information about the problems with Dr. Seuss than in a post about some of his books? To paraphrase Maya Angelou, when we know better, we do better.
- In terms of “what’s the big deal” . . . racism is a big deal. It’s not okay. I have never, and will never, support it. And Dr. Seuss drew, wrote, and shared racist images, texts, and ideas (particularly focused on Asians and Blacks). As teachers, our job taking care of and educating little ones is a big deal. Knowing the problems inherent with books we share is important.
I highly recommend taking a dive into the research and educating yourself on the topic. Doing so has definitely helped me reflect on changing my own teaching, both at home and in the classroom.
Here are a few articles to get you started:
- The Racist Side of Dr. Seuss You Didn’t Know About
- What to Do When You Realize Classic Books From Your Childhood are Racist
- How to Talk About Racism in Classic Children’s Books
- The Cat, Seuss, and Race
Originally published March 8, 2013.