The kids went crazy with this. We ended up filling our playroom with various exhibits, filling those exhibits with animals, and adding signs. Honestly, I did not expect our zoo-building to turn out to be anything to write home about, but the kids made it so, so cool. Their ideas, mainly Eli's, just kept coming and coming and our zoo got awesomer and awesomer. (I know that awesomer is not a word, but I am going to use it, regardless.)
|Not a Petting Zoo I might want to go to, but Eli was adamant.|
|Did you know that farm animals drink root beer? It's the black bottle on the right.|
|This exhibit was all Abby's. Intuitively, Eli steered clear while Abby decorated with cups and legos and food.|
|Eli was insistent that we needed a "No Petting the Lion" sign.|
|The Sea Animals Exhibit. Real water makes for real fun.|
While we were working, my teacher brain clicked on and I was practically jumping for joy as I saw all the learning unfolding while we were playing. Here are some skills we used:
- Sorting and classifying as we decided which exhibit each animal should go into.
- Counting the animals in each exhibit.
- Discussing letter sounds as we decided what letter each animals' name began with.
- Using verbal skills...Aunt Katie came specifically to visit our zoo and Eli gave her a tour and then another tour when Daddy got home from work.
- Discussing needs of living things. Eli took play food to each exhibit.
Most importantly....We were able to talk about God's amazing creativity in how He created each of the animals. So many animals...all so different...all created out of nothing by God. WOW! God thought to make an animal with black and white stripes and another with a really long neck and yet another with a really long nose. That's cool.
We were zoo crazy for a few days. You can even do a Google search for "Zoo Webcams" and watch animals live. That was fun and strangely hypnotic. I think I could watch the San Fransisco Zoo elephants for quite a long time.
What I Learned From Our Zoo
"Adults don't play." That's what Eli told me not long ago and it made my heart sad. I don't remember the context in which he told me this, but it has stuck with me. So, I am trying to remember to play and make playing a priority. There will always be toilets to clean and dusty bookshelves. But in this season of my life, I have two little ones wanting to play blocks. God has given them to me...amazing packages of creativity, energy, passion, and fun in little bodies. What a joy it is, indeed, to play.