Zoo family activites for a week!

I love being a DIY mom myself and sharing the EASY, fun and everyday things you can do to create with your kids – whether that is memories, crafts or adventure! I hope you’ll fall in love with Rachel’s idea as much as I did! 

Hi Brassy Apple readers! I’m very excited to be a part of Megan’s team and I hope that over the next several months I will convert you into a kids crafts fanatic like myself.  🙂  
The end of the school year is fast approaching and if you are like me, you love to take your kids on fun outings in the summer, but finances make it so you can’t make a fun trip somewhere new every day. One of my favorite things to do is to create a week full of fun at home with just one family outing. Today I’m going to share some simple ideas with you of how to make a trip to the zoo into a week of family fun. The object isn’t to fill each day to the brim with activities, but about an hour of quality family time each day.

The day after enjoying your trip to the zoo, pick a favorite animal that you saw while on your visit. Create a theme for the rest of the week around that animal with simple activities each day. We choose an elephant and for our first activity we made a Paper Plate Elephant Puppet.

Materials you will need:

  • Large sturdy paper plate
  • cup for tracing a circle (ours was 3 1/4″ diameter)
  • pencil
  • craft knife (for adult use only)
  • gray paint
  • paint brush
  • 2 sheets of gray cardstock paper
  • small piece of pink paper
  • scissors
  • 2 large googly eyes
  • adult-sized gray sock (I purchased a pair at the dollar store)
  • glue gun (for adult use only)
1. Use the pencil to trace the cup on the back side of the paper plate where you want the elephant trunk to be. Cut the circle out with the craft knife. Now paint the back side of the paper plate with the gray paint and let it dry completely.
2. While the paper plate is drying, cut elephant ears out of the two sheets of gray cardstock paper and set them aside. Also cut a small mouth out of your pink paper.
3. After the paper plate is done drying, it is time to glue the gray sock to the paper plate to make the trunk a puppet. I started by stretching out the top of the sock as much as I could to help it stay down better when gluing. Pull the sock through the top of the plate. Put a dab of hot glue on one section of the plate and fold the sock over and glue it down. Put a dab on the complete opposite end of the plate and fold the sock over and glue it down. (See #2 below). Now just glue small sections at a time all the way around the sock until it is all glued down around the plate.


4. Turn the paper plate over and glue on the ears, googly eyes, and mouth. You can use school glue for this part, or if you are really inpatient like us, you can throw some hot glue on the pieces so you don’t have to wait for it to dry. Now it’s time to play!



For our second activity we took a family trip to the library. Our goal was to find as many children’s book about elephants as we could. I helped on the computer to do a search and my boys (age 7 and 9) were great about being able to help read if the book was at our library and where it could be located. My preschooler (age 3) is the big helper who puts the books in our bag when we find them. Find a place in the library to sit as a family and read some of your books and pick your favorite.   

While you’re at the library, check out a movie that goes along with your theme. We had a Dumbo family movie night with snacks courtesy of Dollar Tree. We were able to pick up popcorn, animal crackers and peanuts, and we splurged on the popcorn bags that we would get to use 9 more times (there were 10 in the pack) all for $4. The dollar store trip isn’t necessary, but it made it really fun for the kids, especially since they were challenged to find snack items that fit within the elephant/zoo theme! 

Another great way I like to extend our theme is by coming up with simple learning activities for my kids or games. Here is one I put together for my preschooler with recycled fruit cups, peanuts and small tongs. I taped the cups to the bottom of the tray and wrote numbers 1-10 with a black marker in the bottom of them. 

She had to use the tongs to pick up peanuts and put the correct amount in each cup. Great math and fine motor practice! Even my older boys like doing stuff like this for fun. (If you have peanut allergies in your home, you can use packing peanuts for this activity instead.)

Here are some other ideas for games and activities for an elephant theme:
– Play Hot Potato with a stuffed animal Elephant or Mouse.
– Make an obstacle course with a box full of packing peanuts on one end and an empty box on the other end. Players must use a scoop to transfer the packing peanuts to the empty box. Make it difficult by adding something to climb under or over in the middle of the course.
– Play a game of who can transfer the most peanuts between their toes into a bowl in 2 minutes. (Discard peanuts after playing)
– Complete an Elephant puzzle together as a family. (We saw a 100 piece one at Dollar Tree) 
Now have fun planning a summer full of family fun!
For more great Kids Craft Ideas visit I Heart Crafty Things.

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