Activities for Elephant Appreciation Day

Activities for Elephant Appreciation Day

Elephant Appreciation Day is a special day to honor and celebrate these amazing animals. Observed on September 22nd each year, this day provides a chance for teachers of upper elementary students to engage their students in exciting and meaningful activities centered around elephants.

Elephants are the largest land mammals and intelligent, social, and emotional creatures. They have a rich culture, a complex communication system, and a strong sense of family. Unfortunately, elephants have become endangered due to habitat loss, poaching, and human-elephant conflict. That’s why raising awareness and appreciation for these gentle giants among our students is essential.

Here are some fun and educational activities you can do with your students on Elephant Appreciation Day.

Be sure to get the handout. It includes the printables you need to complete some of the activities.

Elephant Appreciation Day Activities

Activity #1 – Elephant Idioms and Figurative Language

Elephant Idioms

Elephants have inspired many idioms and expressions in the English language. For example, “the elephant in the room” means a big problem that everyone ignores, “a white elephant” means a useless or unwanted gift, and “the elephant never forgets” means someone has a good memory. 

In the handout, you will find a matching activity. Students can use these cards for a variety of matching exercises, including:

  • Memory Match
  • Mix and Match (Students sort the idioms next to their definitions.)
  • Speed Match
  • Interactive Wall Display

Once students have checked the cards, you can ask them to create sentences using the examples or illustrate them with drawings. 


Activity #2 – Elephant Fables

Students work in small groups to match six fables and morals using cards for this activity. The students will read different fables and morals that feature elephants and try to find the matching pair. They will also share their fables and morals with group members and discuss why they think they match and what they learned from them.

Activity #3 – Elephant Facts

National Elephant Appreciation Day Activities

Elephants are fascinating animals with many unique features and behaviors. You can teach your students some interesting facts about elephants, such as:

  • Elephants have the longest pregnancy of any mammal: 22 months.
  • Elephants can use their trunks for many purposes: breathing, smelling, drinking, grabbing, trumpeting, etc.
  • When they meet, elephants have a special greeting ceremony: they entwine their trunks and make rumbling sounds.
  • Elephants can recognize themselves in mirrors and show empathy for others.
  • Elephants can communicate over long distances using infrasound: low-frequency sounds humans can’t hear.

You can also ask your students to research more facts about elephants and share them with the class.

Activity #4 – Kuishi’s Rescue Sheldrick Trust

Show the short film Kuishi’s Rescue. This film shows one example of how Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) cares for the baby elephants who lost their mothers to poachers or drought and how they eventually reintroduce them to the wild. 

Kuishi's Rescue
Play Video about Kuishi's Rescue

Activity #5 – Grammar Practice

National Elephant Appreciation Day Activities

I have created two practice exercises that you and your students will enjoy. 

Practice 1 – The exercise teaches how to use the perfect verb tenses (past, present, and future) and how to avoid inappropriate shifts in verb tenses in sentences. The exercise uses sentences that are all about elephants and their amazing lives. 

Practice 2 – The exercise teaches how to use relative pronouns and adverbs to connect clauses and phrases and provide additional information in sentences. The exercise uses practice sentences and a cloze story about elephants and their wonderful stories. 

These engaging exercises align with the Common Core Standards for Language Arts. You can find the exercise and the answer key in the handout.

Activity #6 – Elephant Art

Elephants are not only beautiful animals but also talented artists. Some elephants have learned to paint with their trunks, creating colorful and abstract paintings. 

  • You can show your students some examples of elephant art and ask them what they think of them. 
  • You can also challenge your students to create elephant art using different materials and techniques. For example, you can use paper plates, cardboard tubes, paint, glue, and scissors to make elephant masks or puppets.

Activity #7 – Elephant Action

National Elephant Appreciation Day Activities

The best way to celebrate Elephant Appreciation Day is to take action to protect and conserve these magnificent animals. You can encourage your students to get involved in various ways, such as:

  • Adopting an elephant through an organization like DSWT or World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
  • Donating money or supplies to an elephant sanctuary or conservation project.
  • Signing petitions or writing letters to support anti-poaching laws and policies.
  • Educating others about the plight of elephants and how to help them.
  • Making pledges or commitments to reduce their environmental impact and respect wildlife.

Activity #8 – Animated Short Hand-Drawn Animation – Cyrano the Elephant in “Trunk Troubles”

After watching the animated short Cyrano the Elephant in “Trunk Troubles,” ask the students to write and draw their episode of the story. How could Cyrano’s trunk cause trouble? After students write the episode, have them draw illustrations to go along with it.

Animated Short Trunk Troubles
Play Video about Animated Short Trunk Troubles

Activity #9 – Elephant Math Adventure

Elephant Math Problems

Integrate mathematics into your Elephant Appreciation Day activities by incorporating a math-focused task. Create word problems around elephants, their habitats, or conservation efforts.

The handout includes three problems for you to use to deepen students’ understanding of elephants while reinforcing their mathematical abilities.

Activity #10 – Ele-fun Quiz or Trivia Game

Wrap up your Elephant Appreciation Day with a trivia game. Use the nine questions in the handout for a quick review of the day.  

Check out this interactive map to see how many elephants live in the wild in each country.

Create a memorable day for your students for National Elephant Appreciation Day with fun and interactive teaching ideas like elephant idioms, stories, art projects, math activities, language practice, and quizzes. 

I hope you enjoyed these fun activities for Elephant Appreciation Day. Have a great time with your students, and remember: elephants are awesome!  🐘

Gay Miller

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