Each month, we create a new sensory experience for your family and provide additional ideas to extend the play. These ideas also are not meant to be gone through all in one sitting, but to follow the lead of your child. Some ideas may resonate more with your child than others. That’s okay. In fact that’s great! Go with it. Enjoy playing and learning together.
When it comes to play, I am an advocate for encouraging our children to take the lead. I strongly believe our kits (and any sensory play) are best used when the child takes the lead, going wherever their imagination takes them. However, I also completely understand that there are times when it can be fun to help guide the play in a new direction or you may need to help your child get started. This is not an exhaustive list and isn’t meant to be printed and checked off as you go (but it certainly can if that works for you).
- Pre-reading: Read the title. Ask, “what do you think the book will be about? What makes you think that?”
- After reading The Lending Zoo, ask “What was silly about this book? Why is that silly?”
- After reading, ask “What animal would you like to check out?” Then have a fun conversation about what it might be like to have that animal in your home for a few days. What would it eat? Where would it sleep? What would it do during the day?
- Pretend you’re creating your own Lending Zoo. Tell a story about the day you checked out one of your animals.
- Point and name the colors.
- While reading keep a lookout for Pancake, the tiger, he’s hiding on many of the pages.
- Head to your local library or bookstore and grab a copy of some of the other amazing Frank Asch titles. Do an author study. Read them and discuss what they have in common. Nearly all of Frank Asch’s books take the ordinary, like a zoo, and give it a little twist.
Fine and Gross Motor
- Use the scoop to fill the bucket, cover objects, and move sand.
- Use your fingers to move the animals and bring them to life.
- Use the bucket and scoop to create sand castles or mountains and hills for the animals.
- Play Zoo Freeze Dance: Show an animal out of your sensory box. Play music and dance by moving like that animal. Then pause the music randomly. When the music is paused you have to stop dancing until you hear the music again.
Play Memory: Take turns hiding objects and guessing what is missing.
Close your eyes and grab an item from the bin. See if you can identify the object using only your sense of touch. Describe what you're feeling.
Build the tallest sand tower you can.
Count the legs on the animals.
Make different habitats for the animals. Would the zebra prefer a rocky area or an area with lots of grass? Would the monkey like an area with no trees?
Roll the die. Find that many objects and place them in the bucket. Roll the die again and add that many more objects to your pile. Count your total.
Roll the die. Find that many objects and place them in the bucket. Gently shake it and notice the sound. Roll the die again and add that many more objects to your bucket. Gently shake it and notice the sound changed. Did the pitch get higher or lower. Use the word pitch as you discuss the sounds being made. Count your total. Add items to the bucket and shake. Notice the sound changes.
If your local zoo is open and you feel comfortable doing so, take a field trip to the zoo. Compare the real experience to the book.