Aug 13, 2013

Pretend Play: Baby Zoo

I knew when we started this zoo theme (which seems like forever ago since we've been a bit MIA this past week!), I knew that I wanted to do something with all of Kingston's stuffed animals! Before I had him, I was a self-proclaimed stuffed animal HATER. I was determined that I wouldn't collect a bunch of "useless" stuffed animals in my house. That lasted about 5 minutes because my child is OBSESSED with stuffed animals. He hugs them and loves on them like they are his very best friends. He chats with them, drags them around the house with him, and tackles them in fits of laughter and happiness. Needless to say, we have plenty of them now. We can't seem to resist the reaction that he gives each of them. It's delightful and adorable to watch! A lot of these animals are "zoo animals". I decided to create one of our first pretend play set ups: a Baby Zoo!

For the exhibits, I chose bears, monkeys, elephants, a turtle (which was impromptu and is not pictured.. it kind of just lives off to the side of this zoo and the babies decided it was part of it!), an eagles nest equipped with a sensory nest and eggs, and giraffes. 

Today, Kingston had his little friend Livvy visiting again! Earlier in the day, I took out the animal flashcards and went over a bunch of different animals with the babies. I was impressed with how attentive they were. I made sure to show them all of the animals that they would be seeing later on in their pretend zoo. 

After their naps, I scooped them up and brought them downstairs to the playroom where I had set up the Baby Zoo. I sat them on the floor and let them go for it. Kingston raced straight towards what else: the BEARS! Olivia sat back and took it all in before joining him.

They both explored the bears for a bit. This giant bear stays in our playroom at all times. It is HUGE and an Auntie impulse purchase. Kingston loves it of course and climbs/crawls all over him giving "bears" hugs and kisses! Liv cuddled up next to him for a pat too. They both looked so cute next to this giant guy. 

We practiced growling like a bear!

After the initial race to the bear, the babies raced around the center of the setup taking it all in. They couldn't seem to make up their minds where they wanted to go next. They stopped for a quick kiss in the middle of all of the confused excitement. 

Kingston headed for the Eagles Nest next. I had filled the basket with Easter grass and some plastic eggs. He went to work pulling out the strands of yellow grass and searching for the eggs. He was drawn to this little sensory activity and spent quite a bit of time there dissecting it while Liv explored the other exhibits. 

When he was done, he joined Liv at the turtle. The turtle was an afterthought. After I had setup the zoo, I noticed that the turtle toy was in the same proximity, so he became part of our pretend play too! The babies were very excited and took turns patting him and trying to climb on his back. 

(Check out Kingston's zoo diaper!)

After a little while, Kingston took off to go take a quick peek at the monkeys. This was not a very exciting exhibit I guess. He only spent a little bit of time over there listening to me as I made monkey noises. 

They also explored the elephants together. Kingston gave Winston a quick squeeze. Olivia was interested in the other elephant and played with him for a few minutes. K gave him a good sniff to make sure he was good and elephant-y! I showed the babes how to make an elephant noise. They both thought that was pretty hilarious!

At one point, they both wandered off to separate sides of the playroom, distracted by items that were not part of our zoo. I let them come back and play at their own pace. 

They explored the giraffes. Olivia observed them, and Kingston ripped one out of it's "cage". That was about all of the attention that the poor giraffes got. The bears, eagle, and turtle were the best loved exhibits for sure. 

Both kiddos loved the animals in our zoo and it kept their interest for a good hour! In fact, the zoo was so well received, that I still have it up now for K to play with whenever he wants! 

We really enjoyed our first pretend play experience. I loved watching the little ones take it all in and choose what they wanted to see and do. Their interactions were so sweet! 

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  1. This is so adorable! Great photos too, it really feels like we were there with you!

    1. Thanks Georgina! They had such a great time! :)

  2. This is seriously so cute! We are going to the zoo next week and I think we will have to make our own pretend zoo before we go! :)

    1. Thanks Kristan!! That is awesome! Enjoy the zoo (both real and pretend!)