Kids Love Animals
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
It's a simple truth that kids love animals and have a natural fascination with them. Any toy aisle or zoo can confirm this. The question is, how can we as parents/educators, nurture this love and educate our children? And for long enough so an adult can complete a simple task, like preparing a meal or loading a dishwasher?
Recently, I found three, round screens made from white fabric. I have no clue what they were initially intended for but for a quarter apiece, I picked them up. Later, I realized that with some acrylic and fabric paint, they could be used for a sorting activity.
I painted one to look like the sky, one like the ocean, and one to look like land. I then pulled out the animal toys we had and let the boys sort the animals onto the circles depending on where the animal could be found. A bird would be placed on the sky circle. A whale would be placed on the ocean circle. A deer would be paired with the land circle. Its very similar to a Montessori activity.
After the boys tired of this, I pulled out my secret weapon. It's an acknowledged fact that kids will inevitably end an activity at a crucial moment in meal preparations. This is why you never play all your cards at once. In my case, I literally had cards to pull out. Hello, alphabet animal flash cards. Twenty-six more items to sort! I also encouraged the kids to tell me each of the animal noises. I had my five year old, identify the letter and it's sound. Of course, some animal cards had to growl and eat other animal cards. It's just the law of nature.
So for $.75 cents, some paint, and re-purposing some items we had, my kids had a good time while I cooked a meal. We explored phonics, animal traits, and ecosystems. I felt like I *almost* knew what I was doing as a mom/educator, and my husband came home to just a little less chaos and a home-cooked meal.