Thursday, July 11, 2013

21 New Ways To Play with Animal Figures

I'm always looking for new ways to extend the materials we already have instead of buying new things for the children, but when I saw these Animal Figures at the Dollar Tree, I knew I couldn't pass them up!

Though they are not the best quality (the seams are evident and the painting is basic) they have a few qualities I was looking for: They are realistic in color and design, they are large enough to leave on the shelf and still be safe for babies and toddlers (most Montessori animals ate the Toob kind and are very small), and they are varied in types of animals represented (sea creatures, amphibians, mammals from different parts of the world).

I also thought they would combine nicely with other animals I found at the Dollar Tree like horses, dinosaurs and snakes.

So now that we have these great animals, here's how we can play with them using items we already have or free printables:

  • Use them in the sensory table:
    • Make an Ocean with blue tinted water and islands or icebergs from cutouts of craft foam
    • Make a Farm with fences, a barn, hay, grass clippings, beans, mud or wood shavings
    • Make an Arctic landscape with white playdough, cotton balls, snow, white craft foam cutouts, or snowflake confetti

  • Add them to your continent baskets or boxes

  • Use them with playdough or a sand tray to make footprints

  • Match them to image cards

  • Sort them into an of the categories listed in my Animal Puzzle Blog Post
  • Use them to discuss animal sounds
  • Add them to the block area for creative play
  • Take them outside or to the park
  • Use them to act out animal stories
  • Use them as props in dioramas of countries or habitats
  • Make bookends from them (not really learning but visually inspiring)

I'd love to hear what you do with your animals!

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