Tot School: Zoo

I think it's safe to say that ALL toddlers love a trip to the zoo. We are lucky to have a pretty fantastic zoo close to where we live so we take full advantage of that and visit every few weeks or so. Madelynn always loves seeing what the animals are up to, so I knew this theme would be TONS of fun!
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Here were our plans for Zoo Week:
And here are the details of each activity:
Our favorite books this week were:
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo By Eric Carle
Elephants By Sydnie M. Kleinhenz
Lions By Catherine Ipcizade
Zebras By Catherine Ipcizade
Giraffes By Catherine Ipcizade
Draw & Stamp Zoo: 
I found this set of zoo animal stamps from Melissa & Doug and knew it would be the perfect inspiration for Madelynn to design and draw her own zoo. She drew trees, leaves, grass, water and even a slide for her penguins, then stamped away with the cute little animals.
Elephant Craft: 
I cut out the pieces for this elephant ahead of time and then had Madelynn glue them together. Afterwards I plopped a few globs of blue paint onto the paper and Madelynn blew them with a straw to make it look like the elephant was blowing water out of her trunk.
Handprint Giraffe: 
I helped Madelynn make a yellow hand print first. Then she used a paintbrush to add a long neck and head. Then she used a q-tip and her fingers to make the giraffe spots.
Zebra Painting: 
Lots of fun process art this week.  For this zebra, I cut out the pieces ahead of time for Madelynn to glue together.  Then she used a q-tip to paint stripes and finally she added a few snips of black and white striped yarn to the tail and head to finish him off.
Paper Plate Lion: 
Paper plates always make for cute and easy crafts.  For this lion Madelynn first made snips all the way around the plate to add a little 3D effect for the mane. Then she painted the center of the plate yellow and the outer part of plate orange. After the plate was nice and dry I gave her pre-cut pieces of construction paper to create the lion's face.
Zookeeper Says: 
For this activity, I pulled out the dice from our Bear theme and recycled it into a new game.  We played simon says with animal actions! I would say "Zookeeper says move like a ___" and roll the dice to fill in the blank.  Since the dice were from Brown Bear we crawled like a bear, flapped wings like a bird, galloped like a horse, hopped like a frog, swam like a fish and waddled like a duck.
Elephant Tidy Up: 
For this activity, I blew up a long balloon to use for an elephant trunk.  If you don't have a long balloon you could also use a pool noodle or even a few paper towel tubes taped together.  Then I taped a rectangle on the floor and scattered ping pong balls around the room. Madelynn tried to use her trunk to push the balls into the rectangle.
Zoo Animal Roundup: 
We have this awesome set of alphabet zoo animals from Fisher Price that have letters on them so I knew I had to find a fun way to use them this week.  I hid them all around the yard and since they have capital letters on them, I wrote the alphabet in lower case with sidewalk chalk for Madelynn to match them to. She had fun running around the yard trying to round up all the animals in the zoo.
 Animal Action: 
We love dancing to the Animal Action song by Greg & Steve. I looked for a version on YouTube to Dance along with and actually found this fun new Animal Action Song.  Madelynn hopped like a frog, shook like a hippo, and galloped like a horse in this fun animal song.
 Jungle Crawl:
To prep this activity, I wove green party streamers all throughout our dining room to create a jungle full of vines.  Madelynn had to crawl through the jungle without disturbing any vines and waking the animals sleeping in the jungle.
Zoo Animal Snacks: 
I had a lot of fun creating these adorable snacks for Madelynn this week. Here is what we made:

Zebra Tails: Dip pretzel sticks in melted white chocolate.  Drizzle with milk chocolate. Allow to set and enjoy!

Elephant Sandwich: Start with a thawed Unscrustable PB &J sandwich or make your own. Cut out with elephant cookie cutter and add a few peanuts.

Cheesy Giraffe: Use a colby jack cheese stick for the neck, provolone and cheddar cheese pieces for the head, celery for the grass, and food coloring pens and candy eyes for the final details.

Monkey Crackers: Spread Ritz crackers with peanut butter, add a Nilla wafer for the mouth and one half on each side for ears, use food coloring pens and candy eyes for the final details.

Lion Face: Spread Ritz crackers with peanut butter, cut thin slices of yellow and orange peppers/carrots for the mane, use candy eyes and mini/regular chocolate chips for the face.
Build a Zoo Bin: 
In this bin: White beans, alphabet zoo animals, plastic fences, trees
Play Dough Animals: 
In this bin: colored play doughfoam pieces for stripes & spots, googly eyes, snips of yarn for hair/manes/tails
Play Dough Zoo: 
In this bincolored play dough, skinny popsicle sticks, alphabet zoo animals
 Zoo Animal Slime: 
Slime Materials:
  1. 1 teaspoon borax powder
  2. 1 1/2 C water, divided
  3. 4 oz (1/2 C) Elmer's glue, clear or white
  4. food coloring

Slime Recipe:
1. Add borax powder to 1 cup of water and stir to dissolve. 
2. Pour glue into a medium mixing bowl and add 1/2 C water. 
3. Add a few drops of green food coloring and then stir to mix glue solution until smooth.
4. Pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture. Stir for a few moments and then use your hands to finish mixing. Discard excess liquid in bowl. 
5. Add small plastic animals for hiding in the slime.
Feed the Animals Bin: 
In this bin: popcorn seeds,  alphabet zoo animals, green pouch tops, small cups and spoons

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:
Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:

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