Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Break Activity: Whole House Zoo

Looking for a fun and easy activity to do on a rainy day or during spring break?  Turn your house into a zoo!  This activity can be altered to fit many different aged children.  Here’s what you can do with little ones:

Feeding the monkeys.

Gather all of the stuffed animals you can find in the house (we even included our dinosaurs!).
  1. Sort through them, putting like animals together (we also grouped all farm animals together).
  2. Decide which animals will be housed where—we put animals everywhere in the house—the kids’ bedrooms, under the dining room table, under the stairs…
  3. Sorting through our animals.
  4.  Put your animals in their enclosures.
  5. Create a placard for each enclosure with the animal's name and a picture.  (My preschooler got to practice trying to spell animal names, my toddler practiced drawing animals).
  6. Research what each animal eats and “feed” them with play food (or make out of paper, blocks, etc.)
  7. At night, have your child pick an animal to read to.  Your child can choose a book he or she thinks that animal would enjoy.  (The monkeys might enjoy Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed)
    We looked up what opossums eat.
Our pig placard.
We’ve had a lot of fun with this.  It’s been weeks since we set this up, and the kids still “clean out” an enclosure, check on the animals, show their zoo to guests, etc.  This week, my preschooler is playing veterinarian and helping all of our farm animals with various ailments.

There’s lots that can still be done with this activity.  Here are my other ideas:
  • Make map of the zoo
  • Measure the animals with a tape measure, paper clips, or Unifix cubes
  • Graph how many of our animals have four legs vs. two legs, wings vs. no wings, etc.
Our wild dog enclosure.  Note the real "wild dog" at the top of the stairs.