The Zoo

Zoos are inherently fun. They offer animals from around the world and often have several animal-themed attractions. Nurture the experience of your next zoo trip by making your little ones explorers. Each area of the zoo is full of new animals and habitats to discover. They will need a few supplies, though: binoculars to closely examine their finds and clipboards with paper and crayons to document these details.


Zoo binoculars

What you’ll need:

2 toilet paper rolls

Paint or markers



1) Color or paint the toilet paper rolls. If you have animal stickers, this would be a perfect place to use them. If you are using paint, allow the two toilet paper rolls to be touching while they are drying. This will help them stick together.

2) Glue the two toilet paper rolls together. I used Elmer’s glue, but if you are worried about them falling apart, you can always use super glue.

3) When dry, use a sharp-tipped object to make holes in the sides of the toilet paper rolls for the string. I used a nail, and also a pen at the zoo when we had a slight binocular malfunction. You will want to make sure that your object makes a big enough hole for the string to fit through.

4) Tie the string through each side of the toilet paper roll so that it will fit around your child’s neck and be long enough for her to hold the binoculars up to her eyes.

Riley with binocularsStory with binoculars



Zoo Drawings and Clipboards

Zoo pictures

What you’ll need:


Crayons or markers

Large, hard-cover books


1) Use the clips to clamp a pile of paper to the cover of the book. I used food storage clips, but you can use binder clips as well.

2) Have your child draw each animal that she sees at the zoo, or just her favorites.

Two steps! Wasn’t that easy! You can label each paper with the name of an animal that they will see, or if you are working on spelling, have your child help label them. Be sure to bring your crayons with you! If it is a hot day, consider bringing markers as the crayons may begin to melt.

The girls drawing zoo animals


Zoo Reading

There are so many books about animals out there that it is hard to choose. We just read our Nat Geo Wild Animal Atlas for Earth Day, which was a great resource for our zoo trip as well. To get some other ideas, I took a look at the gift shop selection at the zoo. Here are a few books suggested by the zoo itself:

Giraffes Can’t Dance

Giraffes Can’t Dance tells the story of Gerald the Giraffe who is not very coordinated. The dimensions of his body keep him from gracefully dancing with his friends at an annual festival. On his walk home, a wise cricket tells  him that he won’t be able to dance until his finds his song and encourages him to listen to the music of the forest. He does, and lo and behold, he turns out to be a fantastic dancer. He just needed his own song. Ask your child what makes her dance. She may have some dance moves you’ve never seen before.


 The View at the Zoo

>When you are at the zoo, who is viewing who? This book takes a look at what the animals might be saying about the visitors to the zoo. We just might be a little bit more like our animal companions than we think. This can make for interesting conversation with your kids. Read this prior to your zoo visit and then ask your kids at each animal’s habitat, “What do you think that bear is thinking? What do we look like to that kangaroo?”

What To Do If An Elephant Stands on Your Foot

What will you do if an elephant stands on your foot? What will you do if you run into a tiger? This book talks about the best way to handle this type of experience when you are on a safari. From a kid’s perspective, anyway. Fun and humorous, this book will help you start building your escape plans from zoo mishaps with your child on the car ride to the zoo.