My daughter loves matching things and has done well with simple pattern match activities like this one so I decided to make it a little more complicated. These animal print puzzles for kids are quick to make ( they honestly took one minute to make all four) but for young kids matching the patterns up so the prints line up can be a challenge. This is a great activity to develop attention and concentration but because there are only two pieces to each puzzle it shouldn’t create too great a challenge and end up frustrating your child.
- Gather your materials. We used animal print foam sheets but you could use scrap book paper instead just make sure that the pieces are sturdy enough for your child to handle. If they get crinkled or ripped it will be harder to match up . You will also need some scissors.
- Cut your foam into squares and then cut the squares into two halves using different cutting patterns. I made 4 puzzles for my daughter who is just 3. For older children try 2 in each pattern to create a bigger challenge.
- Present the puzzles to your child and ask them to put the squares back together. If they are struggling you can also make a square out of painter’s tape on the table to give them a guide. When I make puzzles like these I pop them on a tray and leave them out for a few days after our initial play and then pop them in a ziploc and into storage for a while. After a trip to the zoo or when we read one of our favorite books about the zoo I pull them out and we play again.
Books About The Zoo
Inside a Zoo in the City by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a rebus read along , so children who can’t read words yet can help read this with pictures put right into the text! The story is repetitive and builds with one animal and page at a time. Preschoolers love these books and the repetitive nature of it makes it interactive and fun!
Peek-a-Zoo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti is a vibrant lift the flap book that goes through sounds different animals make while playing peek a boo with the reader. What I like about this book is that the flaps offer a chance for your baby or toddler to anticipate what animal it hiding as well as the sound , so it grows with them. Also the flaps are large enough that little hands can grab them and won’t get frustrated.
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is simply one of my favorite books ever. I love it and love that my daughter doesn’t fuss when I read it to her because it was a special book for my son when he was little and it’s a book he will still curl up and read quietly with us, making it fun cuddle time for all three of us. If you aren’t familiar with this book it’s all about a sneaky gorilla who unlocks all the animals at the zoo and they quietly follow the zoo keeper home and climb into bed with him, until his wife wakes up! I love this book cause I relate to the zoo keepers wife , when I wake up there is always a sneaky 3 year old gorilla in my bed!This post contains affiliate links.
In the summer lots of kids are less than eager to do anything they feel is like school work, so sit down crafts are not always the best choice. Or if you are like me and juggling an infant and an older child these quick summer activities are fast to set up, and easy to navigate with one in your arms and one busy exploring. You are probably familiar with all of these ideas but I know I get in a rut and the most obvious ideas are sometimes forgotten.
I am sure most of you have sidewalk chalk. This is not at all an original idea but what we did with the chalk was fun and I want to share it. We drew a train and then grabbed an atlas and chose all different places to go to. Each place we picked up a new person that my son drew into the train. A fun outdoor geography lesson!
I have been grabbing the play dough a lot in the past 2 weeks. My son loves to pretend to be a baker and make cakes while I check my email, or tend to his sister. The other day we decided to grab some scrap paper and add it to the cakes as decorations. Not exactly earth shattering but a really easy twist and it kept him entertained for ages! Also using scissors to cut the paper ( or playdough) is extra fine motor skills practice.
$1 spray bottle from the dollar store, 2 pieces of paper, some water, washable paint and he was in heaven! Mix the paint in with the water, and let them loose.
I did a similar activity with my son when he was under 2 so I was shocked that now pushing 4 he would still be into it. Wow is he ever. He loves getting water, paint brushes and “washing windows” he also does the siding and porch for free! Simple , cheap and it promotes imaginative play. Not bad for a quick summer activity!
And if all that fails… Bubbles!
- Gather your materials. You will need some fun toy animals, a plate, paper,markers and paint.
- If you want you or your child can draw some scenery.
- Spread some paint on your plate and dip your animal in.
- Start making some tracks.
- Add the next paint color and more paper if you want and keep going.
“Is Your Mama a Llama? “ by Deborah Guarino is a classroom favorite, I don’t know many preschool teachers who can’t recite most of this book . Readers follow Lloyd the llama as he riddles his way through a bunch of animals until he find the one he calls mom. I like the mix of animals in this book, a little different than your average zoo or farm collection.
- Gather your materials. I am using a left over 2 x 4 my husband had in the garage. I made sure it was smooth before bringing it inside.
- I popped it on my rug and that’s it !
- We pretended to be pirates walking the plank, sneaky foxes on our tippy toes and played follow the leader all using this little piece of wood.
- Gather your materials. You will need some play-dough and something fun to stick in it. We used popsicle sticks and toilet paper rolls.
- Start creating.
- My son made the same thing over and over, birthday cakes! We sung happy birthday to many things including the new president, it was a fun day.
For our play-dough recipes!