Listening Activities: The Carnival of the Animals (Day Twenty-one of Homemade Music)

2018 Holiday Sale on herbal courses!

Welcome to 31 Days of Homemade Music! This month we are exploring how and why everyone can benefit from being an active participant in music making. To read more posts in this series, click here.


If you and/or your little ones enjoyed Peter and the Wolf, you may also enjoy The Carnival of the Animals. Written by Camille Saint-Saëns in 1886, this suite portrays a wild mixture of animals (and other creatures) through fourteen movements. From a royal lion to an enormous elephant to fossils and a swan, this piece is definitely a musical menagerie.

In 1949, Ogden Nash wrote short verses to accompany the pieces, and the two are often performed in tandem. This piece is just plain fun! Have a listen to it here:

Suggested listening activities:

  • Improvise along with the recording on your instrument of choice.
  • Have children imitate the different animals, taking their cues from the music.
  • Discuss: How does the music make you think of different animals? (i.e., can different instrumental characteristics remind you of different animal characteristics, etc.?)
  • Write your own animal poems to accompany the music.
  • Try reading an accompanying children’s book like this one.

Which animal is your favorite from the Carnival?

I’ve also been posting additional resources and videos on my Facebook page as I find them. Join me there to share more musical resources! (As well as homesteading/parenting/homeschooling resources once this whole 31 Days thing is over. Whew! :))

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your support!

Artwork credit: “Gray Elephant Drawing” by published by Ward, Lock, & Tyler of London – page Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.



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