We had so much fun exploring activities and books in our Zoo theme! My daughter is 3 1/2 years old, but these activities could easily be modified to fit different ages and skill sets.
Young toddlers might need more assistance. Older children can use extra materials to make the activities more involved.
We always include books in our days, whether it’s for learning or pleasure. Since we love animals, we had quite a few books to explore with this theme. Our library recently reopened, so I picked up a few from there as well.
Zoo Themed Books
Dear Zoo – this was one of my childhood favorites, so it was one of the first books I bought for my daughter.
Kangaroo at the Zoo – we love all of UBAM’s silly phonics books and this one is no exception.
Peek Inside the Zoo – a perfect lift-the-flap nonfiction book about zoos for toddlers and beyond.
Put Me in the Zoo – another classic we’ve read over and over. My daughter has it memorized.
Pandamonia – if you love rhymes and tongue twisters in a story that will make you chuckle, this is a must! It was an instant hit in our home.
Noisy Zoo – what child doesn’t love making animal sounds? This is a large hardcover book with board pages and big buttons to push.
If I Ran the Zoo – we’re big Dr Seuss fans and love that our daughter will now sit through his longer books.
The Usborne Illustrated Alphabet – this fun story follows animals A-Z through a crazy day where everything is going wrong at the zoo. It teaches the alphabet and uses alliteration. This is also the book my daughter chose when I asked her which was her favorite of our zoo books.
Zoo Themed Activities
There were so many fun options for zoo activities, I didn’t know where we should start!
The first thing we ended up doing was making a Paper Snake Chain. I think this is the first project we’ve done that used a stapler, so you can imagine my daughter’s excitement! We used this craft to talk about patterns and ended up making a “daddy” and “baby” snake with the same color pattern. We used tape to attach the head and face so it would hold up well for play.
We also made a quick, fun Lion Mask. All you need is a paper plate, paper strips, and a glue stick. My daughter enjoyed some scissor practice and we discussed color patterns again.
Playdough Cages – all you need is playdough, small craft sticks (or something similar), and zoo animals. Can you tell I like simple activities? My daughter liked making animal footprints in the playdough too, especially the lion.
Our absolute favorite activity with this theme was making Put Me in the Zoo Cookies! It was a fun family activity on one of my husband’s off days.
We also talked about the importance and history of zoos. If we could have, we certainly would have added an outing to our wonderful local zoo.
To go with this theme, we worked on writing the letter Z and the number 7. We use dry erase pockets and pages from a preschool learning book.
With so many more activity and book possibilities, Zoo will be a theme we come back to time and time again!