31 Days of unplugged play: stuffed animal zoo

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

Today’s unplugged play idea involves lions, tigers, and bears (oh, my!).  Today we’re going to create and visit a stuffed animal zoo.

Stuffed animal zoo

Gather up:

  • laundry baskets
  • stuffed animals

Basically, we’re going to turn our laundry baskets into exhibits for a stuffed animal zoo.  Then see where the indoor “zoo day” adventures lead.

This is an activity you could either set up ahead of time to surprise your kids with or you could get them started and then step back and let them take over the play.

There’s no real rule here, just set the scene and let your little zookeepers have some fun!

Need a little more direction or inspiration?

  1. Encourage your kids to dress up like a zoo keeper.  At our house this means floppy hats, vests, and binoculars.  My kids even used stethoscopes from the doctors’ kit and became zoo veterinarians the day we did this activity.
  2. Is it feeding time at the zoo? What do your animals eat?  Don’t forget your pail to carry the (pretend) food.
  3. What kind of animals live at the zoo?  What types of habitats do they need?
  4. Does your zoo need tickets?  Posters for the exhibits?
  5. Will there be a dolphin show?  Elephant washing?  Lion grooming? Do the monkeys need a bedtime story?
  6. No stuffed zoo animals?  What about drawing up a zoo? Perhaps your child might pretend to be a monkey or lion themselves?

Bonus play idea:  laundry basket cars

While you have the laundry baskets out for play, why not try imagining they are race cars?  Or rockets to the moon?  Or pirate ships?

Leave your empty laundry baskets out for your children this afternoon and see what fun they come up with.  I bet they climb right in and imagine something awesome!

Looking ahead

Be thinking of your child’s current favorite story and perhaps some toys and objects that you have around the house that relate to that story.

Just joining us?  Find 31 Days of Unplugged Play here.

Are you and your kids ready to visit the stuffed animal zoo?

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. My kids absolutely love all their stuffed animals. They have an entire bin of them, and use them for absolutely every thing you could possibly imagine – although not necessarily for a zoo :-) That would be a good idea! They like to make circles and lines with them, they use them as guards for jail, and to play with as babies. It is adorable, and there seem to be so many ways to use the stuffed animals!
    Heather´s latest post: {31 Days} Intentional Living – Day 2

  2. You are clearly on the same wavelength as my kids this morning. As I finished folding a load of towels my two year old decided that her stuffed turtle wanted to go swimming and that my laundry basket looked like a great pool. Her brother soon joined in the fun and many dollies and animals took a dip in the laundry basket.

  3. My kids are outside playing Safari instead of Zoos as they camped in their tent last night and are still in adventure mode. So far the monkey has climbed the tree and our pet dog has become a hyaena! Thanks for a great idea

  4. Oohh.. Awesome idea.. I never thought we could do this.. We’ve had tea parties for stuffed toys.. And we’ve done story-telling with them.. But a zoo! Neat:-) Can’t wait to try this one out.
    Prerna@The Mom Writes´s latest post: 15 Ways to Do Anything {new series}: How to Set Up a Blog for Kickass Success


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